It was in the chaos of the moment during a high-risk traffic stop regarding an alleged stolen car, back in May, that a K-9 unintentionally attacked a suspect, according to Kern County Sheriff Donny Youngblood. This was even after deputies commanded the dog to stop (We want to warn you: The video might be graphic for some viewers, and keep in mind it was edited by KCSO.).
“You all of course probably saw the video, and it’s of course something we’re not proud of,” Sheriff Youngblood said. “The important thing to note here was this was not a use of force. It was an accident.”
Covering Kern County
KCSO releases video of a man being bitten by K-9
That accident of a K-9 being released on a detained suspect near an alleged stolen GMC Sierra truck was caught on KCSO deputy’s body cameras and released Friday. The K-9 ran out of the back of a KCSO K-9 patrol car after one deputy attempted to use the door as a shield, according to KCSO.
The full video is below. CONTENT WARNING: The video contains graphic scenes that may be disturbing to some viewers.
“There was a lot of chaos there,” Sheriff Youngblood said. “The other dog that’s there is really going off, which amps that dog up, so by the time that door was open, that dog was ready to bite.”
An officer used a tool to stop the dog. The suspect received minor injuries from the bite that required medical attention, according to Sheriff Youngblood.
“We are pretty cautious. We are thorough, and we realized in the very beginning that changes need to be made,” Sheriff Youngblood said. “We can’t have a K-9 biting people that maybe should not have been bitten.”
According to KCSO, the K-9 who attacked the suspect took a hiatus on patrol work, and the K-9 handler was reassigned to other patrol duties until both were retrained together. They’ve completed that training and are back to work, according to Youngblood. The K-9 handler was not the deputy who opened the door, according to KCSO.
That’s not the only action taken: The K-9 labeling on a KCSO patrol vehicle used to be the same color as the rest of the markings on the car. Immediately following the incident, the phrase “K-9, Stay back” became an added mark in bold red on K-9 patrol vehicles.
“It will be an alarm to the deputy that this is a K-9 car,” Youngblood said. “In the heat of things that occur, sometimes, humans get confused as well. I’m not making excuses for what happened, but I’m saying this was an unfortunate accident.”
A criminal investigation was conducted, and no criminal violation was found regarding officers, according to Sheriff Youngblood. An administrative investigation is currently being conducted to see if any policies were violated or need to change.