While Jadarrius Rose was driving his 18-wheeler through rural Ohio, a simple missing mud flap caught the attention of the highway patrol. The trip ended with the powerful jaws of a police dog clamping down on Rose even as he tried to surrender.
While I was standing with my hands up by the road July 4 at least six law enforcement officers surrounded him at a distance, one of them forcefully calling to the K-9 handler: “Don't let the dog go,” the highway patrol video shows.
However, in the video you see a Belgian Malinois breaking free or being released. At first, the animal appears confused, runs past Rose toward the officers at the other end of the truck, then turns around and runs toward Rose, who was 23 at the time.
By then, the trucker is on his knees, hands still raised, as an officer yells, "Get the dog off him!"
That day, Rose joined a long list of African Americans attacked by police dogs, a story well documented by journalists, academics and filmmakers. In recent years, investigations into these cases have been periodically launched. For some, the scenes date back to the Civil Rights Movement, when authorities often attacked peaceful black protesters marching for equality with dogs and hoses.
The Associated Press captured one such attack in a photograph from Birmingham, Alabama, taken in the spring of 1963. It shows two police officers pointing a pair of K-9 rifles at 15-year-old Walter Gadsden. One of the dogs lunges straight for the teen's belly while the other pulls on its leash, panting.
Over the past five years, controversial police attacks using K-9 dogs have made headlines across the United States.
Records reviewed by the AP in 2018 showed that the Ohio State Highway Patrol used drug dogs in 28% of its stops involving black drivers between 2013 and 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.
Salt Lake City Police Department suspended its dog arrest program in 2020 after a Black man was bitten and an audit found 27 cases of dog bites over the previous two years.
He FBI opened an investigation at the Woodson Terrace, Missouri, police department 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 will mutilate him while being arrested in an assault case.
A turbulent HISTORY
Circleville, located about 25 miles (40 km) south of Columbus, Ohio, is similar to many rural towns across the country. The city center is full of restaurants, law offices and a bakery. Flags honoring fallen servicemen hang from streetlights lining Main Street.
While the image may seem idyllic to some of the city's 14,000 residents, the Rev. Derrick Holmes, a longtime leader of the Second Baptist Church, said black and white residents describe their lives very differently.
"Not everyone has the same experience, even if everyone is in the same city," Holmes said. "And I think those divisions exist around the realities of intolerance, the realities of racism."
At church services the day after it aired the video Of Rose's arrest, Holmes said the congregation was shocked, but not entirely surprised.
"People were horrified by this," he said. “Angry about that. Frustrated by it. And there was also a sense of, 'Well, here we go again.'"
This isn't the first time Circleville police have faced uncomfortable questions about how they train and use police dogs. Nearly 20 years ago, one of the founders of the K-9 unit sued the department after he was fired for insubordination. Officer David Haynes had publicly opposed reducing training hours for dogs and their handlers from 500 hours annually to 172 hours, according to court documents.
Haynes warned in a 2003 memo that “words like 'deliberate indifference,' 'negligence,' and 'lack of training' will someday emerge.”
Today, Circleville K-9s train 16 hours a month, or 192 hours a year, according to the department. Police Chief Shawn Baer did not respond to numerous messages seeking comment.
The use of dogs to dominate a population dates back at least to the European settlers who colonized America, when the animals were used against indigenous peoples. They were introduced into the southern states of the United States to capture (and sometimes kill) escaping enslaved blacks, said Madalyn Wasilczuk, a professor at the University of South Carolina and author of a law journal article titled "The Violence racialized police canine force « .
Wasilczuk found scant data on police K-9 attacks, but said the animals are often used in non-violent situations and their presence can lead to serious injuries.
“When you talk about arrest, police talk about biting and holding, and that sounds very antiseptic,” Wasilczuk said. “But when you watch a video of what happens, you see a dog doing what he does with a chew toy, which is grabbing it, trying to hold on to it, his head moving back and forth and his teeth sinking into it. part of the body as deeply as they can.”
In Rose's case, police originally tried to pull him over because his truck was missing a fender, according to a highway patrol report. Circleville police were there to help.
What happened next can be reconstructed from the authorities' video and the incident report.
At first, Rose did not stop as police chased him. When he did so, he saw the officers with guns drawn and took off again. At some point, he called 911 and told an operator that he feared officers were "trying to kill him." After stopping a second time, he delayed exiting the truck and did not immediately get to the ground as instructed.
He was initially charged with a felony for failing to comply with officers' orders, but The prosecutors They dismissed the case. Court documents online show that Rose was charged on Sept. 26 with a misdemeanor version of the crime and that there is an active warrant for his arrest.
Neither Rose nor his attorney responded to repeated messages seeking comment.
It is unclear why a K-9 unit was at the scene that day. Michael Gould, a former New York City police officer and founding member of the NYPD's K-9 unit, said the officers appeared to be in control once they surrounded Rose with their weapons drawn. And then there's the image of Rose with her hands up.
“He complied and was not a threat to anyone,” Gould said.
Rose required hospital care for the bites she suffered. It is unclear if she suffered a lasting injury.
The dog's police handler, Officer Ryan Speakman, was fired, but the Ohio Patrolmen's Benevolent Association filed a complaint on his behalf arguing that the officer was fired without just cause.
Circleville City Councilwoman Caryn Koch-Esterline said police have not yet accounted for what happened.
“I'm just waiting for all the information to come out,” he said in a brief interview with the AP three months after Rose's arrest.
For those working to improve race relations in Ohio, the highway attack was a reminder of all that still needs to be done.
“If I were a white man and they released a dog to that individual, what would that community be saying? I bet they would be up in arms,” said Nana Jones, president of the Columbus Chapter of the NAACP.