This is why cops can’t be trusted to write their own body camera policies.

We’re good, no witnesses (laughs)….Hey, can you go turn my cameras off? Just the front camera?

Unidentified Salisbury, NC, cop, speaking to another as the two watch a third cop handle (or mishandle) his police dog. From a Fox 46 news video, March 2, 2021

The following story from the New York Times describes an apparent incident of animal abuse by a Salisbury, North Carolina, cop. The Times’ story accurately describes the video of the incident.

You can also view the video itself on the Fox 46 News website, from Charlotte N.C.

If you’re a dog lover, however, be warned: the video is disturbing.

But in any case be advised: The apparent dog abuse is a red herring. It’s not the only story here, and it’s actually the less important one. It may not even be actual abuse.

There’s a bigger story here:

There is undeniable police misconduct in this incident.

There may be a legitimate excuse for this cop’s apparent abuse of his police dog.

But, regardless of whether or not the police dog was actually abused, two other cops are clearly overhead coordinating to make sure that their police cameras aren’t recording the dog handler’s conduct.

No matter what departmental policies will eventually be claimed to justify and legitimate their conversation, no legalese is going to matter in the court of public opinion.

In the court of public opinion, those cops are clearly attempting a cover up for their colleague. And no “legitimate explanation” is going to erase their obvious, easy dishonesty and practiced corruption.

Salisbury Police Chief Jerry Stokes sounds like a bureaucratic idiot as he tries to deflate the abuse of the dog. But notice that his statement doesn’t even address the attempted coverup by his officers. Which will probably make him part of a cover-up as well, before this is over.

So, from The New York Times, March 4, 2021:

North Carolina Officer Slams Dog Into Car, Prompting Investigation

A video obtained by a TV station appears to show an officer in Salisbury, N.C., hoisting a police dog off the ground by its leash and shoving it into the side of an S.U.V.

Jerry Stokes, the police chief in Salisbury, N.C., said an investigation was underway into the video, which was broadcast by a television station in Charlotte.Credit…Salisbury Police Department

By Sarah Bahr

March 4, 2021

A police department in North Carolina has ordered an investigation into a video that appeared to show an officer lifting a police dog off the ground by its leash during a training exercise and slamming the dog into the side of a patrol car.

Chief Jerry Stokes of the Salisbury Police Department declined to comment in detail on the episode at a news conference on Tuesday, saying it was “an ongoing personnel matter.” He said that the dog had been separated from the officer shown in the video and that an investigation was underway.

The 4-year-old German shepherd, whose name is Zuul, was present at the news conference. “You can see him here today,” Chief Stokes said. “He’s healthy and doing well and will be in service as normal in the near future.”

“The canine was not harmed and is healthy and being well cared for,” he said.

Chief Stokes did not take questions from reporters.

The video, nearly a minute long, was published by WJZY-TV of Charlotte, N.C. The station said it had been submitted by an anonymous source.

It was not clear when the video was recorded. The chief did not release the name of the officer shown in the video or disclose how the department became aware of the episode.

A city spokeswoman, Linda McElroy, said on Thursday that she could not comment further because it was a personnel matter, citing North Carolina law.

In the video, an officer can be seen getting out of a police S.U.V. as a helicopter buzzes overhead, leaving the back door of the car open. The police dog leaps from the vehicle and tries to follow the officer, but immediately lies down when the officer yells at him.

The officer then walks toward the dog and wrestles him into a leash. He then uses the leash to hoist him off the ground and sling him over his back before walking toward the car.

“We’re good, no witnesses,” an off-camera voice says.

The officer slams the dog against the side of the vehicle — a thud is heard — before pushing him inside. He yells “Stay!” before raising his hand and striking the dog.

“Is your camera on?” a second off-camera voice asks.

“Ah, no, my power’s off,” the person who appears to be recording says.

Chief Stokes said at the news conference that the department’s dogs are trained to be used against criminal suspects, and that officers must have complete control over the dogs at all times.

“When a canine is noncompliant with the handler’s commands, the handler is trained to correct the dog,” he said. “Canine training tactics and corrective measures can sometimes be alarming out of context. S.P.D. cannot and will not comment about whether the training tactics used in the video were appropriate, because that is still being reviewed.”

Salisbury is about 45 miles northeast of Charlotte. The Police Department has five dogs and five handlers, Ms. McElroy said.

Chief Stokes said the investigation would include former police dog handlers from other departments, an owner of a police canine training firm and members of the Salisbury department’s K-9 supervisory staff.

From The Tumalo Lookout:

As I said, animal abuse isn’t the only issue here.

This video is a textbook example of the worst problems in cop culture.

Lack of integrity, coordinated dishonesty, and cops covering for other cops are the real issues in this story.

Read the Times article again, or better yet, watch the Fox 46 news video and read its real-time transcript.

Here’s are the salient comments by the two off-camera cops:

“We’re good, no witnesses,” an off-camera voice says.

“Is your camera on?” a second off-camera voice asks.

“Ah, no, my power’s off,” the person who appears to be recording says.

I think mine’s on.

Hey, can you go turn my cameras off? Just the front camera?

It’s not on.


Two unidentified, off-camera cops watching an unidentified K9 handler abusing his police dog. Reported in The New York Times (March 4, 2021) and by Fox 46 News, Charlotte, NC (March 2, 2021).

This is why the public doesn’t trust cops.

This is why cops can’t be trusted to set their own departmental policies body cameras and dash cameras:

Cops turn off their cameras to hide their conduct.

Cops cover for the misconduct of other cops.

And this is why we shouldn’t trust the Deschutes County Sheriff’s Office, nor the Bend Police Department, to set their own policies for body cameras.

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