*Prosecutors in Utah announced Wednesday that a white Salt Lake City police officer was charged with second-degree felony assault after ordering a K9 dog to bite a Black man who had complied with his command to raise his hands.
The Salt Lake City District attorney’s office charged Officer Nickolas Pearce with aggravated assault stemming from the April 23 incident in which he ordered his dog to bite Jeffery Ryans after responding to a domestic dispute call. Video footage, seen below, was released last month by The Salt Lake Tribune. Prosecutors said Pearce kicked Ryans in his leg, forced him onto his knees, then ordered the dog to “hit.” On command, the dog bit into Ryans’ left leg for about 20 seconds while another officer handcuffed him.
“[Ryans] wasn’t resisting arrest,” Salt Lake County District Attorney Sim Gill told the Salt Lake City newspaper Wednesday. “He certainly wasn’t posing an imminent threat of violence or harm to anyone and he certainly wasn’t concealed. He was fenced in an area and was being compliant.”