KEY POINTS

  • The police department defended the incident, saying the suspect threatened "to kill the officers"
  • In the video, the dog could be seen biting the suspect multiple times
  • Officers said that the man "resisted arrest" and was "under the influence"

A video taken by a bystander in Woodson Terrace, Missouri, shows police officers setting their K9 on a suspect, a Black man, while he was being arrested, and watching him getting mauled by the dog. 

In the video, three officers could be seen arresting the man Monday. Two of the officers have him leaned over the hood of a police cruiser while a third officer holds the dog at bay. But, within the next few minutes, the officer allows the dog to reach the man, and it bites him. The man could be seen grabbing his foot and screaming but none of the officers intervene. The officer holds on to the leash but lets the dog bite the suspect for about 30 seconds, AP reported. 

The Black man, in the video, is then seen trying to move away but he stumbles and the dog attacks him again. The canine is eventually stopped from attacking the suspect. Officers then handcuff the man and put him inside the police car. The suspect could be seen struggling to walk after the incident. 

The City of Woodson Terrace Police Department said that officers were dispatched after a caller reported a man trespassing at a local business near St. Louis Lambert International Airport.

In a statement shared Monday, the police department defended its officers and said that "the man was under the influence, threatened to kill the officers and was resisting arrest." They also admitted that the suspect was bitten multiple times by the K9.  

However, the man did not appear to resist the officers in the video. The incident is being investigated by County officials. St. Louis County Prosecuting Attorney Wesley Bell said his office "is aware of this video, and we will make a thorough review of the incident," according to the AP report.

The St. Louis Post-Dispatch’s editorial board compared the incident to pre-civil rights days in Alabama when dogs were being used to "deter Blacks from marching for equal rights."

The police department said in the statement that an ambulance was sent for the subject but he refused treatment. However, he was taken to a hospital later. It is unclear how severe the man’s injuries were. 

"There was nothing so urgent in the Woodson Terrace arrest that prevented officers from trying alternative techniques so cooler heads could prevail," the Post-Dispatch’s editorial board wrote. "The sole message seemed to be: If you as a Black person show the slightest resistance, here’s what we can do to you."

police dog A patrol dog is pictured on Sept. 18, 2004 in New York Harbor in New York City. Photo: Spencer Platt/Getty Images