WOODSON TERRACE, Mo. (AP) — St. Louis-area racial injustice activists on Friday called for the firing and prosecution of three white police officers after cellphone video showed them allowing a police dog to repeatedly bite a Black man during an arrest.
St. Louis County Prosecuting Attorney Wesley Bell said he is investigating the incident that happened Monday in Woodson Terrace, but has declined further comment. Police have declined comment except for a press release posted on Facebook.
About 20 racial injustice activists, at a news conference outside Woodson Terrace police headquarters, vowed to pressure Bell and city leaders to act quickly.
“We were outraged by the vile and despicable behavior of the Woodson Terrace police officers,” activist Zaki Baruti, who compared it to the use of dogs to attack civil rights protesters in the South in the 1960s.
Another activist, the Rev. Darryl Gray, called the officers' actions "reprehensible and inexcusable."
Officers were called Monday morning to a report that a man had broken into a business. Police wrote on Facebook that the man appeared to be on drugs and threatened officers. The posting said the man was warned the dog would be used if he continued to resist arrest.
Cellphone video from an onlooker shows the dog biting the man’s foot as he yells out in pain. The dog’s handler holds it by a leash but allows the biting to go on for about 30 seconds.
After the officer pulls off the dog, the man appears to take a step to run but stumbles, and the dog lunges at him again, biting a leg for another 30 seconds until the officer stops the animal.
The man was treated and released at a hospital.