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Thursday, 17 September 2020

Cop is charged with assault after bodycam footage caught him ordering K-9 to attack black man who was on his knees with his hands in the air in his back yard

 A Utah cop has been charged with aggravated assault after bodycam footage emerged of him ordering a K-9 to attack a black man who was on his knees with his hands in the air in his back yard.

Prosecutors announced Wednesday that charges had been brought against Salt Lake City Police officer Nickolas Pearce following the April 24 incident that left Jeffery Ryans, 36, with damage and infections that could lead to his leg being amputated.

The shocking footage shows Pearce told the dog to attack Ryans, then repeatedly praised it and said 'good boy' while it latched onto his left leg and Ryans begged the cop to make it 'stop'.

An investigation was only launched in August - four months after the attack - when Ryans broke his silence over the incident in the wake of multiple cop killings of black men and women across America in recent months. 

A Utah cop has been charged with aggravated assault after bodycam footage emerged of him ordering a K-9 to attack a black man who was on his knees with his hands in the air in his back yard. Bodycam footage shows Jeffery Ryans kneeling on the floor with his hands raised

A Utah cop has been charged with aggravated assault after bodycam footage emerged of him ordering a K-9 to attack a black man who was on his knees with his hands in the air in his back yard. Bodycam footage shows Jeffery Ryans kneeling on the floor with his hands raised

The shocking footage shows the cop told the dog to attack Ryans, then repeatedly praised it and said 'good boy' while it latched onto his left leg and Ryans begged the cop to make it 'stop'

The shocking footage shows the cop told the dog to attack Ryans, then repeatedly praised it and said 'good boy' while it latched onto his left leg and Ryans begged the cop to make it 'stop'

Ryans' blooded lower left leg is seen above. Ryans told the Salt Lake Tribune last month he 'felt like a chew toy'

Ryans' blooded lower left leg is seen above. Ryans told the Salt Lake Tribune last month he 'felt like a chew toy'

Cops order dog to attack man on his knees during arrest
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District Attorney Sim Gill announced the charges against Pearce Wednesday and said cops must be held accountable for their use of force. 

'Officers in their interactions with everyday citizens by virtue of who they are and the institution they represent does not absolve them from the responsibility to make sure that whatever force they use is being used in a lawful manner,' said Gill, a Democrat.

Salt Lake City Police Department said Wednesday it takes the district attorney's decision 'very seriously' and it will be considered as part of its internal affairs investigation. 

Ryans was in his backyard on April 24 when police responded to a domestic dispute call. 

Ryans said he was smoking outside before he was due to leave for his job as a train engineer. 


The Salt Lake County district attorney's office said Ryans complied with officers' orders to raise his hands and remain in the backyard.

K9 officer Pearce then told Ryans to get on the ground before kicking him in the leg, forcing him to his knees and ordering the dog to bite him, prosecutors said.

On the bodycam footage, Pearce is heard repeatedly saying 'good boy' to the dog while it stayed latched onto Ryans' left leg for about 20 seconds as he was being cuffed.

'I'm on the ground, why are you biting me?' Ryans is heard saying as he begged the officers to 'stop'. 

Ryans told the Salt Lake Tribune last month he 'felt like a chew toy'.  

Ryans underwent surgery and later experienced 'prolonged loss of the use' of his leg, prosecutors said. 

Prosecutors announced Wednesday that charges had been brought against Salt Lake City Police officer Nickolas Pearce following the April 24 incident. Pictured Ryans in August

Prosecutors announced Wednesday that charges had been brought against Salt Lake City Police officer Nickolas Pearce following the April 24 incident. Pictured Ryans in August

An investigation was only launched in August into the incident - four months after the attack - when Ryans broke his silence and released the footage

An investigation was only launched in August into the incident - four months after the attack - when Ryans broke his silence and released the footage

His attorneys said the officer caused an avoidable injury that resulted in the 36-year-old suffering nerve and tendon damage and infections that could lead to amputation.

Ryans filed his intent to sue the force on July 20 but police only began investigating the incident last month after Ryans went public with his story in an article in the Tribune and his attorneys shared the bodycam footage.

The police department said it hadn't heard about the incident before then and was opening an investigation. 

Pearce was suspended pending an investigation and the use of K-9s in apprehensions was also suspended under review.  

Pearce's K-9 Unit was also involved in a use of deadly force incident where another cop shot a minor driving a stolen car multiple times.  

It was unknown if Pearce has an attorney. A phone call to a number listed for him wasn't answered and no voicemail was set up.

Ryans' attorneys, Daniel Garner and Gabriel White, didn't immediately respond to a phone message seeking comment.

His attorneys said the officer caused an avoidable injury that resulted in the 36-year-old suffering nerve and tendon damage and infections that could lead to amputation

His attorneys said the officer caused an avoidable injury that resulted in the 36-year-old suffering nerve and tendon damage and infections that could lead to amputation 

It's rare for police officers to be charged with crimes amid excessive-force allegations and even rarer for them to be convicted. 

During his decade in office, Gill has charged three officers accused of wrongly using deadly force. None were convicted. 

In two of those cases, charges were later dropped while the third was thrown out by a judge.

Ryans told the Tribune he came forward with his story because of the wave of recent Black Lives Matter protests and outrage over the deaths of several black men and women at the hands of American cops. 

Thousands have taken to the streets demanding justice and calling for an end to police brutality and racism since May following the 'murder' of black man George Floyd by a Minneapolis cop who knelt on his neck for almost nine minutes until he passed out and died.  

Floyd's death reignited outrage over the death of EMT Breonna Taylor, 26, who was shot eight times while sleeping in her bed when three plain clothes officers performed a no-knock arrest warrant at her Louisville apartment on March 13. 

Ryans said he wanted to tell his story following the multiple cop killings of black men and women in recent months

Ryans said he wanted to tell his story following the multiple cop killings of black men and women in recent months

In June, unarmed father Rayshard Brooks was shot dead while he ran away from cops in the drive-thru of a Wendy's restaurant in Atlanta.  

On August 23, Jacob Blake was shot seven times in the back by a white cop in front of his three young children, leaving the father-of-six paralyzed from the waist down.      

A week later on August 30, Dijon Kizzee, 29, was gunned down in the street by LA cops who allegedly shot him 20 times and then handcuffed his dead body after trying to pull him over for an alleged bicycle code violation.   

In early September, footage was released by the family of Daniel Prude, 41, showing cops in Rochester, New York, putting a spit hood over his face and pushing his face into the ground for two minutes until he passed out and died on March 23.  

The Monroe County medical examiner listed the manner of death as homicide caused by 'complications of asphyxia in the setting of physical restraint' but no charges have been brought against any of the cops.  

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