A police dog attacked a Black trucker on his knees. An Ohio city is dealing with the aftermath
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A police dog’s attack on a Black motorist in Ohio is resurrecting questions about race relations and law enforcement tactics. (Oct. 22) (AP Video: Patrick Orsagos)Photos
BY PATRICK ORSAGOSUpdated 8:50 AM MST, October 22, 2023Share
CIRCLEVILLE, Ohio (AP) — As Jadarrius Rose drove his 18-wheeler through rural Ohio, a simple missing mudflap caught the highway patrol’s eye. The trip ended with a police dog’s powerful jaws clamping down on Rose even as he tried to surrender.
As he stood with his hands up beside the highway on July 4, at least six law enforcement officers surrounded him at a distance, one calling forcefully to the K-9 handler: “Do not release the dog,” highway patrol video shows.
Nevertheless, a Belgian Malinois is seen on the video either breaking free or being set loose. At first, the animal seems confused, racing past Rose toward officers at the far end of the truck, then turning back and running for Rose, then 23.
By then the trucker is on his knees, hands still high, as an officer shouts, “Get the dog off of him!”
That day, Rose joined a long list of Black Americans attacked by police dogs, a history well documented by journalists, academics and filmmakers. Investigations into such cases have been launched regularly in recent years. For some, the scenes harken back to the Civil Rights Movement, when authorities often turned dogs and firehoses on peaceful Black protesters marching for equality.
The Associated Press captured one such attack in a photograph from Birmingham, Alabama, taken in the spring of 1963. It shows two police officers setting a pair of K-9s on 15-year-old Walter Gadsden. One of the dogs lunges straight for the teenager’s belly as the other strains against his leash, panting.
Over the past five years, controversial police K-9 attacks have made headlines across the U.S.
Records reviewed by the AP in 2018 showed the Ohio State Highway Patrol used drug dogs in 28% of its stops involving Black motorists from 2013 through 2017, although the Black population accounts for only about 11.5% of people old enough to have a driver’s permit or license in the state.
The Salt Lake City police department suspended its dog apprehension program in 2020 after a Black man was bitten and an audit found 27 dog bite cases during the previous two years.
The FBI opened an investigation into the police department in Woodson Terrace, Missouri, in 2021 after cellphone video showed three officers allowing a dog to repeatedly bite a Black man. And in 2020, a Black man in Lafayette, Indiana, was placed in a medically induced coma after police dogs mauled him as he was arrested in a battery case.
A TROUBLED HISTORY
Circleville, located about 25 miles (40 km) south of Columbus, Ohio, resembles many rural towns across the country. The city’s downtown is filled with restaurants, law offices and a bakery. Flags honoring fallen servicemen and women hang from lampposts lining Main Street.