CIRCLEVILLE, Ohio — A law enforcement K9 handler in Ohio has been fired after a controversial deployment of his police service dog (PSD) on a previously non-complaint truck driver who was reticently surrendering following a vehicle pursuit, reported News Channel 6.
Ryan Speakman was identified as the police K9 handler in question. Circleville Police Chief G. Shawn Baer said in a statement Tuesday that Speakman was placed on paid administrative leave as the incident was under investigation by the town’s civilian Use of Force Review Board, Law Officer reported.
However, things progressed rapidly as the Circleville Police Department issued a statement Wednesday, saying Speakman had been terminated, according to NBC News.
“Circleville Police Officer Ryan Speakman’s actions during the review of his canine apprehension of suspect Jadarrius Rose on July 4 show that Officer Speakman did not meet the standards and expectations we hold for our police officers. Officer Speakman has been terminated from the department, effective immediately,” the statement said.
The department’s Use of Force Review Board determined the department’s policy for the use of canines was followed during the apprehension and arrest, the statement said. Police added, “It’s important to understand that the Review Board is charged only with determining whether an employee’s actions in the use of force incident were within department policies and procedures. The Review Board does not have the authority to recommend discipline.”
“We know the video of the incident is upsetting and has attracted widespread attention and comments, including Gov. Mike DeWine raising the issue of training,” police said. While we certainly respect Gov. DeWine’s views and are always ready to discuss how to improve police training, Circleville’s canine teams of dogs and officers are trained and certified to meet current Ohio Peace Officer Training Commission-recognized standards,” police noted.
“Each canine team is recertified annually to a current nationally recognized standard or other recognized and approved certification standard, as outlined in the Ohio Administrative Code for certification of law enforcement canine units,” police said. “In short, we meet or exceed all current Ohio laws and standards for police training for our canine teams.”
The Ohio Patrolmen’s Benevolent Association, a police union that Speakman belongs to, said Wednesday it had filed a grievance on his behalf, saying he was fired without just cause, News Channel 6 reported.
Speakman first joined the Circleville Police Department in February 2020.
The incident began on July 4 when the Ohio State Highway Patrol tried to conduct a traffic stop of a commercial semitruck that was missing a mudflap and failed to halt for an inspection, according to state officials. The nearby Circleville Police Department was called to assist, including a police K9, as the pursuit terminated in Circleville, WTOP reported.
Speakman appeared to issue warnings to the driver, identified as Jadarrius Rose, 23, saying he was going to release the K9, but a trooper in the background repeated, “Do not release the dog … Do not release the dog with his hands up.”
Once the K9 moves in to apprehend the offender, the trooper shouts, “Get the dog off of him … Get the dog off of him,” as others join in the instructions for the handler to get the PSD off the bite.
Both the pursuit and the ensuing K9 deployment were captured on police bodycam footage.
Rose, a resident of Memphis, Tennessee, initially refused to get out of the big rig, and later failed to comply with orders to get on the ground, according to the Highway Patrol incident report and the bodycam video. Rose eventually got on his knees and raised his hands in the air when the highly controversial deployment occurred, much to the dismay of fellow law enforcement officers at the scene.