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Police K-9 handler who released dog that attacked an unarmed Black man in Ohio has been fired, department says


By Polo Sandoval, Isabel Rosales and Emma Tucker, CNN

(CNN) — The Circleville, Ohio, police officer who was seen on video releasing a police K-9 on an unarmed Black man has been fired, according to a statement from the department.

“Circleville Police Officer Ryan Speakman’s actions during the review of his canine apprehension of suspect Jadarrius Rose on July 4 show that Officer Speakman did not meet the standards and expectations we hold for our police officers,” the police department said in a statement. “Officer Speakman has been terminated from the department, effective immediately.”

Rose, 23, was bitten by the police dog on July 4 following a lengthy vehicle pursuit that began as officers attempted to pull over a commercial semi-truck police say failed to stop for an inspection, according to the highway patrol case report and footage released by the agency.

Mayor Don McIlroy on Monday identified the Circleville officer who deployed the dog as Speakman and told CNN he had been placed on paid administrative leave.

The police department’s investigation into the incident included a determination by a use of force review board that determined the agency’s “policy for the use of canines was followed in the apprehension and arrest” of Rose, according to a statement from the agency.

“It’s important to understand that the Review Board is charged only with determining whether an employee’s actions in the use of force incident were within department policies and procedures,” the statement added. “The Review Board does not have the authority to recommend discipline.”

Shallow Creek Kennels, the Pennsylvania-based facility that trained the K-9 involved in the incident, said their training and protocols were followed, police said, noting Circleville police send all of its canines to the training facility for evaluation and annual training.

The protocols at Shallow Creek Kennels “are standard for service dogs” used by the US military, Customs and Border Protection, Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives, as well as police departments across the US and Canada, according to the statement.

CNN has reached out to Speakman’s attorney for comment.

The Ohio Patrolmen’s Benevolent Association said in a statement Wednesday it filed a grievance on behalf of Speakman, saying Speakman was fired without just cause.

The union asked the department to rescind the termination; pay and reimburse the officer for “all lost wages, seniority and benefits lost” resulting from his firing; expunge his employee record of his termination history; “and/or any further relief necessary to make the grievance whole.”

Driver told 911 he did ‘not feel safe’ during pursuit

The July 4 vehicle pursuit began after a Motor Carrier Enforcement inspector tried to stop the semi-truck the suspect was driving due to a missing mud flap, according to the Highway Patrol case report.

But when the inspector turned on the lights on his marked patrol vehicle, the “suspect vehicle continued west on US 35,” the report says, noting the driver made eye contact with the inspector. When the driver failed to stop, the inspector notified dispatch to send a marked patrol unit to assist, the case report says.

Video released by authorities shows them pursuing the semi-truck, which appeared to initially slow down and stop. As it does, the footage shows an officer getting out of a vehicle, pointing a weapon toward the truck and ordering the driver to get out. The driver does not exit the vehicle, however, and starts driving again. Multiple law enforcement vehicles join the chase, the footage shows.

During the police chase, Rose called 911 and told dispatchers that officers were “trying to kill” him and he did “not feel safe” pulling over the truck, according to call recordings released by the Ross County Sheriff’s Office. In the recordings, Rose repeatedly told the dispatcher he was confused about why he was being pulled over and why police had their guns drawn after he briefly stopped the truck before driving away.

Eventually, he stops the semi-truck and gets out of the vehicle surrounded by several police cars and officers, the video shows, before cutting to what appears to be a state trooper getting out of his vehicle and walking toward the driver.

“Come to me,” an officer is heard saying to the driver. Another adds, “Get on the ground or you’re going to get bit.”

The driver is shown on the road with his hands up.

“Do not release the dog with his hands up,” a state trooper warns several times from a distance, though it is unclear if the state trooper could be heard by other officers.

The case report says Speakman “exited his patrol car and began giving commands to the suspect” before he deployed the K-9 on Rose after repeated warnings from the state trooper, according to the video footage.

The dog runs toward officers, then turns to Rose and attacks him, pulling him to the ground, the video shows. Rose is seen and heard screaming and crying out for the officers to pull the dog off of him, the video shows.

He continues to cry out as officers call out for a first aid kit. Rose was later shown being treated by the officers.

Rose was treated and released from a hospital before being taken to the Ross County Jail, according to a case report from the Ohio State Highway Patrol, which notes he faced a charge of failure to comply with an order or signal by a police officer, a fourth-degree felony.

He was released from custody July 7, the Ross County Prosecutor’s Office told CNN, adding the office is still collecting evidence before it determines whether to move forward with the charge against him.

‘You didn’t comply, so you got the dog,’ officer tells driver in video

Police body camera footage obtained by CNN on Wednesday further shows the actions of Speakman, who is seen arriving on scene moments before the incident unfolded.

A portion of the video, provided by the Pickaway County Sheriff’s office, shows state highway patrol officers with their guns drawn, attempting to detain Rose without further incident.

“I will not hurt you. Come to me,” assures one trooper as the 23-year-old can be seen standing on the highway with his hands up.

About eight minutes into the video, Circleville police units arrive on scene.

“Circleville PD has a dog” is heard over the police radio.

“That’s a dog! Come to me,” warns the state trooper. “You don’t want bit.”

A few seconds later, a member of the Circleville K-9 unit can be heard yelling at Rose. “You’re going to get the f***g dog. Get on the ground or you’ll get bit,” threatens the Circleville officer.

“Final chance, you’re going to get bit,” yells the officer before the police dog appears into view.

Despite state troopers appearing to have control of the situation, Speakman is seen releasing the K-9.

“Do not! Do not! Do not,” a female trooper screams.

The dog initially runs towards troopers before Speakman commands it to attack Rose, who, at that point, was on his knees with his hands up.

Several troopers are heard ordering Speakman to pull back his dog, which appears to maintain a steady grip on Rose for approximately 42 seconds.

As seen in previous body camera footage released by the state, a female trooper approaches Rose, who was screaming, “Please get it off,” before covering her mouth with her hands and walking away.

Several minutes later, Speakman is seen pacing back and forth as troopers administer first aid to Rose.

“I gave you three warnings, did I not?” Speakman asks Rose. “Did I not say final warning?” Speakman then said, “Well, you didn’t comply, so you got the dog.”

Speakman is later seen speaking with a state trooper about the incident. “I think it’s a justifiable bite,” he states.

The rest of the footage shows troopers waiting for an ambulance that eventually arrives to transport Rose to the hospital.

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