Several horrible police practices from the Jim Crow era are still being used today. Specifically, African Americans have found themselves confronted by armed police with K9 attack dogs during encounters over the last year.
Most recently, a patrol dog attacked an unarmed Black father during a fatal police shooting outside a home in Vineland, New Jersey on July 14, according to a witness. Rashaun Washington, 37, of Bridgeton, New Jersey was confronted by cops after they received a call about a “suspicious” person — a common characterization used by police in encounters involving people of color. He was fatally shot three times after cops pointed rifles at him; he had been trying to run away from the heavily armed officers. The dog attacked the man after he was shot and fell to the ground, Jose Pagan, the witness, said to WHYY Philadelphia.
Pagan’s account, as well as other details about the shooting, have yet to be addressed by police, the news outlet reported. Whether or not the dog was commanded to attack or did so on its own has also not been shared.
In another case, Kyron Dwain Hinton, a 29-year-old man, was attacked by a dog in Raleigh, North Carolina in April. Wake County sheriff’s deputy Cameron Broadwell beat Hinton with flashlights and unleashed his police dog to attack the man, a video revealed. Police responded to calls that Hinton had a gun, but he was unarmed, the News & Observer reported.
An earlier police incident involved a K9 dog injuring a Black woman last September. Desiree Collins, 52, was brutally attacked by a police dog when she took out the trash at her home in St Paul, Minnesota. A scared Collins was on the ground and screaming in pain as the dog bit her flesh, a gruesome body camera video revealed. An officer is heard telling Collins that she’s “fine,” with no real urgency in trying to get the dog to release her. The police officer chalked up the horrifying attack to Collins being “in the wrong place at the wrong time.”
St. Paul police planned to use K9 dogs less in the wake of the incident, the department announced earlier this month.