CIRCLEVILLE, Ohio – An Ohio K-9 officer was fired on Wednesday for allowing a police dog to attack an unarmed commercial truck driver despite the man surrendering after a chase.
Circleville Police Department Officer Ryan Speakman was terminated from his position effective immediately, WHIO-TV reported.
In a statement, Circleville police Chief Shawn Baer said that Speakman, 29, “did not meet the standards and expectations we hold for our police officers.”
“Our investigation included the Circleville Police Use of Force Review Board determination that the department’s policy for the use of canines was followed in the apprehension and arrest,” Baer said. “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.”
Baer said that Circleville’s canines are being sent to Shallow Creek Kennels Inc., a Pennsylvania-based police service dog training facility that trained the dog involved, a 4-year-old Belgian Malinois-Shepherd named Serg.
Speakman’s firing came two days after it was announced that the officer was placed on administrative leave while the city’s five-member Use of Force Review Board investigated the circumstances surrounding the incident involving commercial truck driver Jadarrius Rose, 23, of Memphis, Tennessee, WSYX-TV reported.
The Review Board does not have the authority to recommend discipline, according to WHIO.
Warning: Video below contains graphic images and language.
The incident involved a chase through three counties and began when officers attempted to pull over Rose, whose truck was “missing a left rear mud flap” and failed to stop for an inspection, CNN reported.
Video obtained by the cable news outlet and The Washington Post shows Speakman, the dog’s handling officer, being warned several times by sergeants at the scene to keep the dog in check if the man surrendered peacefully with his hands in the air, the newspaper reported.
Rose complied with the command, according to the Post.
“Don’t release the dog. Do not release the dog with his hands up,” a state trooper warns the K-9 handler from a distance several times, WOIO-TV reported, citing the body camera video footage. It was unclear whether the trooper could be heard by other law enforcement officers, CNN reported.
Despite the trooper’s warning, Speakman released the dog — a 4-year-old Belgian Malinois-Shepherd named Serg, according to the Scioto Valley Guardian, which first reported the incident.
According to the video, the dog ran toward officers and then turned to Rose and attacked him, pulling him to the ground after biting his arm, the Post reported.
“Get the dog off of him! Get the dog!” troopers yelled, according to body camera video.
The dog maintained his grip on Rose for more than 30 seconds, the video showed.
“We know the video of the incident is upsetting and has attracted widespread attention and comments, including Gov. Mike DeWine raising the issue of training,” Baer said. “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.”
Rose was charged with failure to comply.
Ross County Prosecutor Jeffrey Marks said on Monday that Rose was charged in his county “based on the events that happened” in the county, WKYC-TV reported. Marks’ office is now reviewing materials in the case and will decide whether any charges against the truck driver should be brought before a county grand jury.
After Rose was bitten by the K-9, troopers immediately provided first aid and contacted EMS to respond. As Rose was being treated for his injuries, a trooper said to him, “Nobody is trying to hurt you,” according to the Circleville Herald.
“You just let a dog bite me,” Rose can be heard on the video.
After the incident, troopers talked about the attack with other law enforcement officers when a trooper asked, “Was I not loud enough?” the Herald reported.
“You said it three-four, multiple times,” a fellow trooper responded.
Earlier, in a 911 call released by Ross County authorities, Rose told a dispatcher that he was reluctant to pull over.
“Right now, I have police officers following me for a long time and I am trying to figure out why they have their guns pulled out,” Rose said in the call, according to CNN and ABC News. “I am just a truck driver. I was about to comply with them, but they all had their guns drawn out. There are like 20 police cars behind me. And I don’t feel safe.”
“You need to pull over,” the dispatcher said. “You’re going to get yourself in more trouble than you’re already in.”
“I don’t know why they’re trying to kill me,” Rose said.
“They’re not trying to kill you,” the dispatcher said.
“Yes they are,” Rose said. “I do not feel safe with stopping.”
Speakman, 29, was sworn in as a Circleville Police Department officer in February 2020, ABC News reported, citing an article in Herald.