Video Shows Handcuffed Black Man Repeatedly Attacked By Police Dog In San Diego
A black man in handcuffs was attacked by a police dog in San Diego on Sunday, and the incident was captured in a widely shared Facebook video.
The video was filmed and uploaded on July 9 by Angel Nuñez, who said on Facebook that he was at work when he filmed the incident. In the video [warning: graphic content], a black man is seen handcuffed and lying face-down. A police dog has its mouth around the man's arm, refusing to let go and shaking the man repeatedly. Three officers are visible on scene.
As the dog continues to grip the man's arm in its mouth, the man can be heard shouting and saying "Uncomfortable! Uncomfortable!" multiple times. In the footage, the dog is seen biting the man for a little over 30 seconds—it's unclear how long the dog had been biting the man before the video started.
From off-camera, bystanders could be heard telling the officers to get the dog off the man. "Why can't you call your dog off? Why can't you call him off?" said one bystander. "You have no control of your dog whatsoever?" he added. Another bystander said, "You guys got three guys versus one. You can't get the dog off?" One of the officers later responded with, "Hey shut up! Get back!"
At some point, right before the dog lets go of the man's arm, it seems that an officer attempts to pull the dog away from the man. Blood is visible on the man's arm.
Nuñez posted another video [warning: graphic content] that apparently shows the moments right before the attack. The man, who is shirtless, is seen standing in the middle of a busy street. An officer with a dog is seen standing a few feet from him. Someone then shouts and the dog attacks the man, who can be heard saying "Ok! Ok!" as the officer shouts, "Get down!"
Nuñez's first video (showing the attack and the dog letting go of the man) has been widely circulated on Facebook, with more than 9,000 shares and 600,000 views. It has also generated criticism from commentors. "That man was handcuffed! Shouldnt have been near that man!" said one Facebook user. "If three of them cannot control or defuse a dog how are they expected to defuse any situation?" said another user.
“While these videos can be graphic in nature to view, keep in mind our canines are extremely effective at deescalating situations and preventing elevated levels of force to take people into custody,” San Diego police Lt. Scott Wahl told the San Diego Union-Tribune.
Lt. Wahl also told the Union-Tribune that much of the incident wasn't captured on video. According to Wahl's account, the man, who was eventually arrested on suspicion of robbery, battery and being under the influence of drugs, had been behaving erratically, jumping on cars, and challenging passersby to fights. The San Diego Union-Tribune also reports that, at least according to Wahl, the dog was acting in accordance with department policy:
The lieutenant said the officers and the canine did what they were trained to do, and the video clearly shows the officers adhering to policy. Police dogs are taught to bite and hold. This is meant to ensure that the canine does not repeatedly bite a person, which could cause further damage, Wahl said.
The dogs also aren’t trained to release on a verbal command. Instead, officers are taught to apply pressure to release the canine’s jaw. That technique can take time.