Salt Lake City, UT — Because of a nosy neighbor and the tendency of police to escalate to violence without reason, a verbal argument with his wife led to Jeffrey Ryans getting mauled by a police K-9 while on his knees with his hands in the air. Now, because the police will face no accountability, the taxpayers of Salt Lake City will be held accountable instead.
Ryans’ nightmare began in April when a neighbor called police after hearing him argue with his wife in his backyard. The body camera footage released this week shows Ryans in his backyard, smoking a cigarette and preparing to leave for his job as a train engineer when cops show up.
All of the sudden, cops with flashlights begin yelling at Ryans as their dog barks at him.
“Get on the ground!” one officer yelled, as his police dog barked. “Get on the ground or you’re going to get bit!”
As the Salt Lake Tribune reports, Ryans recalled in an interview that he was confused. He didn’t know where to go or what to do: One officer was yelling for him to come to him, while another screamed to get on the ground. He was worried if he did the wrong thing, he would get shot.
“I wasn’t running,” he recalled. “I wasn’t fighting. I was just cooperating. We’ve been through this. We’ve seen this. Always cooperate with the police, no matter what.”
But the fact that he was cooperating, surrendering, and posing no threat whatsoever was of no concern to the sadistic officers who were chomping at the bit to watch this man get mauled by their K-9 in his own back yard.
Without justification or provocation, the officers then released the dog, who tore into Ryans’ body like he was a rag doll.
Even as one cop sat on top of Ryans and put him in handcuffs, the officer instructed his dog to “hit” and the dog responded by tearing into the man’s body even more.
“Why are you doing this?” Ryans yelled, according to the video. “Why are you biting me?”
“Good boy,” the officer said to his dog, as it tore into Ryans’ flesh.
“I felt like a chew toy,” he said. “I didn’t know why this was happening to me. That’s what was going through my mind. Why?”
Ryans was then arrested and charged for violating a protective order that was already in the process of being lifted. According to the report:
Ryans said his wife had told him that the protective order was lifted, and he had been back in their home for weeks before the police were called in April. He didn’t know that her request to have the protective order lifted was still pending — so he was technically in violation of it at the time of his arrest.
Ryans now faces a charge of violating that protective order, but no court dates have been set.
As the Salt Lake Tribune reports, Ryans has taken the first steps toward filing a lawsuit against the Salt Lake City Police Department. In a notice of claim, which is required before a suit can be filed, his attorneys, Daniel Garner and Gabriel White, allege that the officer’s use of force was unnecessary — and has caused an injury that could have been avoided if the officer “performed the appropriate actions” while arresting Ryans.
Ryans, who is black, and his attorney allege that the officers treated him differently because of the color of his skin. Ryans’ attorney, who is white, said he’s been in similar situations where he’s had an argument with his wife or been in his backyard in the middle of the night letting his dog out. But the police never come, especially not with a K9 dog.
“What’s different between the two of us that could make this happen to him, but I couldn’t imagine happening to me?” he said. “No one’s ever shown up at my house.”
“People need to know Black lives matter,” he said. “Everybody matters, but you can’t just treat people differently because of their religion or their skin color. I developed myself to get to where I’m at right now. I should have the same respect as others. We don’t get it.”