Ohio Officer Who Released Dog on Unarmed Black Truck Driver at Traffic Stop Fired – Police Maintain Officer Followed Policy

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By The Vanguard Staff

CIRCLEVILLE, OH – Although officials here, 25 miles from Columbus, Ohio, said an officer didn’t violate policy when he released a police dog on an unarmed Black truck driver with his hands up at a traffic stop earlier this month, the officer has been fired.

The Circleville Police Department said in a statement that the actions of the officer, Ryan Speakman, “did not meet the standards and expectations we hold for our police officers.”

The New York Times reported, “Officer Speakman was fired, the statement said, even though Circleville’s Use of Force Review Board determined that the Police Department’s policy for the use of police dogs ‘was followed in the apprehension and arrest’ of the truck driver, Jadarrius Rose, on July 4. The board, however, does not have the authority to recommend discipline, the statement said.”

Shallow Creek Kennels, the Pennsylvania-based K-9 facility that trained the dog involved in the episode, also “affirmed that its training protocols were followed,” the statement said.

The Times wrote, “The Ohio Patrolmen’s Benevolent Association said in a statement that its senior counsel had filed an official grievance on behalf of Officer Speakman, who was fired ‘without just cause.’ The grievance asks the Police Department to rescind Officer Speakman’s termination and reimburse him for lost wages.”

The Ohio State Highway Patrol said in an incident report Rose, 23, of Memphis, had been operating a semitrailer with a missing left rear mud flap on July 4 when he failed to stop for an inspection on U.S. Route 35 in Jackson County, Ohio.

When he stopped, “As troopers were attempting to gain compliance by providing verbal commands to the suspect, the Circleville Police Department deployed their canine, which resulted in the suspect being bitten by the canine,” the CHP statement said.

The Times wrote, “Dash-camera and body-camera video released by the Highway Patrol shows that Mr. Rose has his hands up outside the truck as troopers approach. A trooper yells, apparently to Officer Speakman: “Don’t release the dog. Do not release the dog with his hands up.”

But, Officer Speakman released the dog and used his hand to direct it toward Rose, who gets on his knees, with his hands up, according to footage. The dog attacks Rose.

“Get the dog off of him! Get the dog off of him” a trooper yells, said the Times, and reports, “Mr. Rose can be heard screaming, ‘Get it off’ and wailing, ‘Please!’ He has blood visible on his arm.”

After officers pulled the dog off Mr. Rose, they handcuffed him and bandaged his arm on the median strip. Rose was taken to a hospital, where he was treated, the incident report states. He was charged with failing to comply, according to the report.

The New York Times wrote Rose could be heard telling a dispatcher that he had parked his truck and “was about to comply, but that officers had their guns drawn,” adding, “I don’t know why they’re trying to kill me.”

On another 911 call, Mr. Rose said: “Right now, I have police officers following me for a long time. And I’m trying to figure out why they’ve got their guns pulled out. And it’s all really white people; they’ve got their guns out.” He added, “It’s like 20 police cars behind me and I don’t feel safe.”

According to the Times, Nana Watson, president of the N.A.A.C.P. branch in Columbus, Ohio, said in an interview Rose clearly violated the law when he failed to stop, but that he was obviously in fear, with his hands up, when he got out of his truck and the officer released his dog.

“It was a horrific incident,” Watson said. “It took me back to the ’60s, when Bull Connor released the dogs and the hoses on Black people during the Civil Rights movement.”

Ohio Gov. Mike DeWine told reporters on Tuesday, reported the Times, that the episode “should be a lesson, a wake-up call to everyone that police training in the state of Ohio is not equal.”

DeWine, a Republican, said that he planned to propose a “scenario-based training facility” for departments of all sizes, particularly small departments that may lack training resources.

In its statement, the Circleville Police Department said: “While we certainly respect Governor DeWine’s views and are always ready to discuss how to improve police training, Circleville’s canine teams of dogs and officers are trained and certified to meet current Ohio Peace Officer Training Commission-recognized standards.”

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Disclaimer: the views expressed by guest writers are strictly those of the author and may not reflect the views of the Vanguard, its editor, or its editorial board.

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