San Diego police sicced their K-9 on a naked, unarmed man tripping on LSD after encountering him wandering through a canyon.
In gruesome police body cam footage of the August 2015 incident (obtained by NBC Los Angeles), a police officer orders the man to climb a hill and approach the officers. Once he reaches the top, the man — who had been muttering about a person called "Josiah" — is ordered to turn around. He defiantly screams "No!" twice, but never makes a move toward the officers, nor is he warned by them in any fashion.
Yet, just seconds after reaching the top of the hill, an officer orders his K-9 to latch its jaws to the man's leg, which the dog proceeded to maul for an excruciating 44 seconds. As the man is screaming and writhing, several officers pin him to the ground, with one telling him that the dog will cease biting him if he stops resisting.
Once the K-9 officer finally orders the dog to let go, the man's leg can be seen ripped to shreds.
The San Diego Police Department claimed the officers' use of force was justified. Via The Washington Post:
"This video shows the agitated and defiant demeanor of a man under the influence of LSD," Lt. Scott Wahl, a department spokesman, said in a statement.
"When played in its entirety, the video shows our officers trying to gain his compliance before he became defiant. While the split second decisions of police officers are easy to second guess when you know the outcome, keep in mind the deployment of our K9 is intended to prevent the situation from escalating."
The unidentified man attacked by the K-9 told KNBC that he was 25 at the time of the incident and ended up wandering the canyon that morning after a night of "partying." He also said he was never charged with a crime, and settled with the city for $385,000 because he will never have a fully functioning right leg again as a result of the mauling. His lawyers argued police "acted with unnecessary, cruel and despicable conduct and in wanton disregard for the civil rights, health and safety."
Police justified the use of the K-9 at the time of the incident because officers believed the man was high on drugs and therefore, they concluded, he had a "a high tolerance to pain."
Unedited footage of the incident can be seen here, but be warned it is graphic and disturbing. A shorter and censored clip can be seen below:
Photo Credit: Michael Pereckas/Flickr