An Ohio police officer has been fired after releasing his police dog on a surrendering truck driver, despite requests from state troopers to hold the K-9 back.
In a news release Wednesday, the Circleville Police Department said the officer, Ryan Speakman, "did not meet the standards and expectations we hold for our police officers," resulting in his termination "effective immediately." He had been on paid administrative leave prior to this decision.
A police union Speakman belongs to has filed a grievance on his behalf, claiming the firing has no cause.
The department's Use of Force Review Board, which had been investigating the July 4 incident, determined Speakman did follow department policy for canine use in the apprehension and arrest, the release said. But despite this conclusion, the department noted the board didn't have authority in discipline decisions.
"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," police said. "The Review Board does not have the authority to recommend discipline."
Body camera footage released by the Ohio State Highway Police captured the events that led to Speakman deploying his dog on Jadarrius Rose, a 23-year-old Black man who led troopers on a lengthy pursuit in southern Ohio.
A Motor Carrier Enforcement inspector initially tried pulling Rose over for a missing mudflap on his semitruck, but Rose failed to stop. Troopers were called in to help, later deploying spike strips to force him to pull over.
Once he was stopped, Rose initially refused to get out of the truck, then once out of it, he refused to get on the ground. Video showed as Rose stood with his hands in the air, eventually getting on his knees.
An officer can be heard on the video telling others multiple times not to release the dog as Rose's hands were up. But Speakman did, prompting the dog to attack Rose. Troopers shouted to call it back as Rose screamed.
Rose was later treated for dog bites at a hospital and has been released. He's been charge with failure to comply, though it's not clear why he had refused to stop for police.
The video has garnered widespread attention, including from Ohio Gov. Mike DeWine.
A day before Speakman's termination, DeWine had called for increased police dog training for the animals and their handlers as a result of the incident.
In its statement Wednesday, the police department said its team of dogs and handlers had all been adequately trained to meet the current standards.
"While we certainly respect Gov. 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," police said.
It went on to say the canine team is recertified annually to a "current nationally recognized standard."
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