On Wednesday (April 12), a video circulated on social media of an unarmed, handcuffed man being attacked by a police dog in San Diego. Cries from the unidentified man can be heard as police continue to restrain him, leading to an uproar by advocates and critics of police practices.
The San Diego Union Tribune reports San Diego police Lt. Scott Wahl defended the actions of the animal and K9 officer Carlos Estrada, claiming the cop followed proper practice in arresting the undefined man. “While these videos can be graphic in nature to view, keep in mind our canines are extremely effective at deescalating situations and preventing elevated levels of force to take people into custody,” Lt. Wahl said.
Wahl also claimed the video, shot by Facebook user Angel Nuñez, doesn’t show the entire incident. Before Nuñez started recording, police stated Estrada (who is a canine officer) was called to the Sixth Avenue area on Sunday (July 9) about a man who was acting erratically in traffic. Estrada accused the man of challenging him to a physical altercation in which he threatened him with the dog if he didn’t calm down.
Despite the belief that the dog could could be removed by verbal command, Wahl says pressure applied to the animal’s jaw would have ended the incident. “Sometimes it takes a bit to get into the right position,” Wahl said. “It’s not a perfect, sterile environment where you push a button and it happens.”
What happened next was filmed by Nuñez and later uploaded to Facebook. The man was later arrested and charged with robbery, battery and being under the influence of drugs.