Hayward, CA — A traffic stop for expired tags turned into a nightmare for a California man after Alameda County Police unleashed their K9 on a handcuffed man, who was not resisting. The attack was so horrific that the police did something they almost never do—they apologized.
The victim, Joshua Philips was driving a co-worker home early Monday morning when they were pulled over for having expired tags. The police then accused Philips of being intoxicated and placed him in handcuffs.
"He [an officer] asked me if I had a couple drinks. I said, ‘yes, I just got off work. I'm making sure my co-worker gets home safely,’" says Phillips.
Luckily for Philips, his co-worker decided to film the incident and the entire attack—from beginning to end—was captured on video.
In the video, the woman who is filming, is explaining that the police were profiling Phillips.
As the video shows, without warning, the dog is released from the car. It then circles the car once before it attacks Phillips.
Because he was in handcuffs, Phillips didn't and couldn't fight back, so he was at the officer's mercy.
"He's just biting and biting and biting. I'm not kicking because I don't want to assault an officer," said Phillips.
For nearly 30 seconds, the dog tore into Phillips' leg as he screamed out in agony.
"I was asking questions and having a conversation with another deputy, so I don't know why he attacked me. I didn't have any drugs on me. I wasn't being aggressive. I couldn't wave my arms because my hands were handcuffed behind my back," said Phillips.
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According to police, they accidentally allowed the dog out of the car after an officer inadvertently pushed the release button on his remote.
For those who may not know, the police cruisers belonging to K9 handlers are often equipped with special doors that allow an officer to remotely open them in the event the officer is in a struggle.
"We feel very bad that this happened to this man. It was an unfortunate accident. The dog did everything the dog was supposed to do. Unfortunately, our handler pushed the button inadvertently with his equipment,” said Alameda County Sheriff Office Sgt. Ray Kelly.
Although police are calling it an accident, as the video shows, the officers appear to be unconcerned that their K9 is loose. The dog is also released as the officer is searching Phillips' vehicle, suggesting that it could've been released to aid in the search.
Indeed, both Phillips and his passenger also responded to the police K9 being released by noting that there was nothing in the car. Phillips is not buying the official story and claims the officers deliberately released the K9.
"When I saw the dog I thought, ‘Oh, he's going to use the dog to sniff for drugs – ha-ha-ha – I don't have no drugs.’ That's the only thing I'm thinking in my head, but he came and attacked me,” said Phillips.“I'm thinking it was on command.”
Also, as the video shows, when the officer points his flashlight at Phillips, the dog attacks as if to react to the light. Officers said that dogs aren't trained to do this, however, and that it must have been a coincidence.
After they allowed their dog to maul him, police then arrested Phillips for DUI.
"This was a bad day for him and us. We didn't want to make his day any more difficult, but he was cited for the drunk driving," said Kelly.
Phillips told KTVU News that he is now planning on suing the department for damages. Because of the graphic nature of the video, it is likely certain that the taxpayers with be held liable for the negligence of these officers.