WOODSON TERRACE, Mo. — Civil rights activists are calling for the firing of three Woodson Terrace police officers who allowed a police dog to bite a suspect they were taking into custody.
Advocates say the officers allowed the dog to attack the man even though he was clearly under arrest. They say the way he was treated by police is criminal.
“We’re sick and tired of being sick and tired,” said Zaki Baruti of the Universal African People’s Organization.
Baruti reacted to a cellphone video of the arrest.
“When they release their dog on this person, even though he was in custody, it was reminiscent of when these canines were released upon our people during the Civil Rights era as we sought justice throughout America.”
The unnamed suspect was being stopped for trespassing at a business, Monday morning.
Rev. Darryl Gray of the St. Louis County Clergy Coalition said, “He released the dog. Then they said the man continued to resist arrest as the dog bit him. Inexcusable, unacceptable, Termination. Criminal proceedings. We need a full account of this.”
5 On Your Side was not able to reach Woodson Terrace Police, for comment Friday. Their telephone voice mailbox is full.
Previously, Woodson Terra Police said, “The subject was warned several times… the subject continued to resist causing minor injuries to one of the officers, so the canine was released, and the canine gained control of the suspect’s foot… the suspect continued to resist, and the officers were unable to restrain him.”
Activist Coffee Wright said, “We’re not having it, family. It’s not acceptable. This is not going to go away. This is not a bad nightmare and we’re going to wake up and make it disappear. It’s going to end, now.”
Anthony Cage, also with Universal African People’s Organization, said, “These officers need to be terminated. I don’t understand if he wasn’t assaulting you all, why were you all assaulting him? Because that’s clearly what you did when you put that dog on him. He wasn’t resisting. It was clear that was some good ol’ boy tactics we aren’t going to allow anymore. And we would appreciate it if you all would terminate these officers.”
Willie Boyd, with an organization known as End Mass Incarceration, said, “We’re asking for the firing of these officers because the dog doesn’t have a mind of its own. It’s controlled by a controller, and that controller let that dog on this man even while he was on the ground.”
Rev. Richard Jackson is with Manasseh Ministry.
“We’re not going to continue to tolerate that,” said Jackson. “That’s not going to continue to be the record you’re going to continue to play with us. Change is coming, it’s coming right now.”
Woodson Terrace police have said the suspect got up and attempted to flee from officers and the canine was released again, biting him on the leg. When officers were able to handcuff the suspect, the canine was pulled off.
In a statement, St. Louis County Prosecutor Wesley Bell said, “Our office is aware of this video, and we will make a thorough review of the incident. It would be premature to comment on the merits or specifics of an ongoing investigation at this time.”