• 52°

Editorial: More answers needed about K-9 video

The public is owed more answers about a training incident involving a police department K-9.

A video that appeared to be filmed with a smartphone showed a man walking away from a police car and toward another man wearing a bite suit. A dog jumps out of a police car, appears to comply with a shouted command to sit or stay and is then strung up by a leash, slammed into a police cruiser, placed in the back seat and struck by the officer.

After a Charlotte TV station published and removed an initial story about the video, Police Chief Jerry Stokes held a news conference to talk about the incident. Among other things, he said the officer has been separated from the K-9.

The meat of his statement is as follows: “It is important to understand that police K-9s are trained to use force against criminal suspects and the handler must ensure that they have complete control over the dog at all times so that any use of the K-9 in the field is appropriate and lawful. When a K-9 is noncompliant with the handler’s commands, the handler is trained to correct the dog. K-9 training tactics and corrective measures can sometimes be alarming when provided out of context.”

Stokes did not provide that context on Tuesday and did not take reporter questions.

Neither the public nor most reporters have intimate knowledge of how police dogs are training. So, if the actions are considered appropriate by Stokes or other leadership in the Salisbury Police Department, it’s critical to state what kind of training occurred. How many other animals have been subjected to the same training? Was the officer in the video the same one to which the Salisbury Police assigned the animal? Why did people inside or standing next to what appeared to be another police car remark that there were no witnesses? Why were the same people talking about turning cameras off?

It’s good that Stokes announced the start of an investigation. He should release as many details as possible once it’s complete. The public needs to know whether this was an isolated incident or whether it’s an example of a systemic issue.

Dogs are not humans, but they deserve to be treated humanely. That they might be attacked or injured by a suspect while on duty shouldn’t change that fact.

Comments

Crime

Sheriff’s office: Man takes deputies on chase with stolen moped

Coronavirus

Afternoon, evening COVID-19 vaccination clinic planned Thursday

Crime

Concord man charged with woman’s murder in drive-by shooting

Ask Us

Ask Us: Have city, county elected officials received COVID-19 vaccine?

Local

City gives away nearly 100 trees during ‘We Dig Salisbury’ event

Local

Political Notebook: Bitzer expects most ‘Trump-like’ candidate to be favorite in state’s Senate race

Crime

Blotter: Concord man arrested in Rowan for indecent liberties with children

Coronavirus

Half of US adults have received at least one COVID-19 shot

Nation/World

Police: FedEx shooter legally bought guns used in shooting

News

Hester Ford, oldest living American, dies at 115 … or 116?

Local

Size of pipeline spill again underestimated in North Carolina

BREAKING NEWS

Kannapolis Police searching for suspect who fled scene of homicide

Education

RSS superintendent talks district’s future, strategic plan survey

News

Complaints and fines pile up against unpermitted landfill in southwest Rowan County

College

Catawba baseball: Crowd comes out to say goodbye to Newman Park

Lifestyle

History is a great teacher: Farming has helped shape Rowan County

Business

‘A safe place for them’: Timeless Wigs and Marvelous Things celebrates fifth anniversary

China Grove

County will hear request for more tree houses, hobbit-style homes in China Grove

Coronavirus

Livingstone College partners with Health Department to administer 500 Pfizer vaccinations

Education

‘Elite and it shows’: Staff at Partners in Learning at Novant celebrate news of national accreditation

Business

Biz Roundup: Food Lion earns Energy Star award for 20th consecutive year

Columns

Ester Marsh: What body type are you?

Nation/World

The queen says goodbye to Philip, continues her reign alone

Nation/World

Worldwide COVID-19 death toll tops a staggering 3 million