A handcuffed black man, Joshua Phillips, was attacked by a police dog in the early morning hours of May 21 in Hayward, California (raw video below).
Phillips told KTVU that the incident started when he was pulled over by Alameda County Sheriff deputies for expired tags and suspicion of DUI:
He’s just biting and biting and biting. I’m not kicking because I don’t want to assault an officer.
He [an officer] asked me if I had a couple drinks. I said, “Yes, I just got off work. I’m making sure my co-worker gets home safely.”
A friend of Phillips, Michelle Lee, filmed the incident with her cellphone.
Lee repeatedly told the police, whom she called “bro,” to stop the attack, but the offiicers did not respond being called “bro.”
Phillips recalled the attack:
I was asking questions and having a conversation with another deputy, so I don’t know why he attacked me. I didn’t have any drugs on me. I wasn’t being aggressive. I couldn’t wave my arms because my hands were handcuffed behind my back.
In a rare moment of law enforcement candor, Alameda County Sheriff Office Sgt. Ray Kelly apologized for the “unfortunate accident”:
We feel very bad that this happened to this man. It was an unfortunate accident. The dog did everything the dog was supposed to do. Unfortunately, our handler pushed the button [door pop to free the K9 from the police care] inadvertently with his equipment.
We obviously made him aware that it was an accident. We did apologize to the fact that this was not supposed to have occurred.
This was a bad day for him and us. We didn’t want to make his day any more difficult, but he was cited for the drunk driving.
Phillips doesn’t think the police dog was purposely released to attack him, but plans to file a lawsuit:
“When I saw the dog I thought, “Oh, he’s going to use the dog to sniff for drugs – ha-ha-ha – I don’t have no drugs.” That’s the only thing I’m thinking in my head, but he came and attacked me. I’m thinking it was on command.
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