ST. PAUL, Minn. (WCCO) — Grabbing a glass of water sounds easy, but Glenn Slaughter is still getting the hang of it again.
“I tried to this morning tried to hold a basketball and that was not happening,” he said.
Slaughter was wrongfully bitten on his right arm by a St. Paul Police Department canine in the early morning hours of July 6, right outside his home as he as leaving for work. Police said the officers were searching for a suspect who ran.
Slaughter said he suddenly saw several flashlights from the officers, then followed their orders to lay down on the ground. A canine unit arrives. Body camera footage from canine officer Mark Ross shows him attaching the leash to the dog’s collar.
Seconds later, police said the dog’s collar broke. The body camera footage then shows the dog immediately run towards Slaughter and begin biting him.
Body camera footage from the canine officer shows what happened next. After securing the dog to a leash, police said the collar broke.
“All I just heard was ‘No!’ and just the dog was on top of me,” he said.
The officer commands the dog to release Slaughter’s arm, but it wouldn’t budge. In the footage, you can also hear the officer repeatedly tell Slaughter to stop pulling, but Slaughter says it was difficult for him to resist the urge to pull his arm back. After nearly 30 seconds, the dog let him go.
Slaughter said his arm was swollen and that he couldn’t move his hand. He said he also had a bite wound on his torso, beneath his armpit. While at the hospital, Slaughter says the medical personnel told him of the bite wound, “A couple inches deeper, I probably could have punctured a lung or something like that.”
Slaughter said he plans to talk to a lawyer about the incident and plans to weight his options. More important to him, though, are seeing changes within St. Paul Police Department’s canine unit.
“I mean that’s a good start I guess. But like I said, I’ll believe it when I see it, when the change actually comes and it needs to happen. Because like I said, one’s too many. And for that to happen and it happened to persons more than me, that’s unacceptable,” he said.
David Titus, St. Paul Police Federation president, feels the changes are knee-jerk reaction.
“Come in and do a review and if tweaks can be made, let’s do it,” Titus said. “But you do not want to place further restrictions on dog deployments because that is simply just gonna make the City of St. Paul less safe.”
Titus was also quick to defend Officer Ross. He said the department plans to transfer Officer Ross out of the canine unit, possibly to patrol, a move Titus is against.
“To remove a talented canine officer like Mark Ross, who is acting in good faith in a very dangerous situation, is a knee jerk reaction,” he said. “The fact of the matter is it was a malfunction of equipment that caused this to happen.”
St. Paul police said the dog involved in the incident has been retired.