Today, the Seattle Police Department (SPD) released video of a canine team taking a robbery suspect into custody. This video was released to a media outlet in fulfillment of a public disclosure request, and due to public interest in police accountability, and also releasing the video publicly, as well as a clip edited for length. Although Chief Carmen Best found the actions of the canine team consistent with 2018 department training, Chief Best also believed the deployment was not consistent with SPD’s Use of Force policy nor the values of our department. In late 2018, Chief Best ordered a thorough review of how SPD uses canines.
The department worked with the Office of Police Accountability, the court monitor, and the Office of the Inspector General (OIG), as well as two independent canine training experts to develop meaningful policy recommendations. These recommendations led to a new policy, approved by a federal court monitor, the Department of Justice, and ultimately the federal court. SPD included this update as part of its July filing. Separately, the OIG is currently auditing SPD K9 operations.
The video of the July 20, 2018, arrest, which took place in South Seattle, shows Officer Ryan Huteson approaching the 16-year-old suspect, who had both hands raised with open palms. Huteson directed the dog to "take him." As he waited for other officers to arrive, Huteson let the dog bite the suspect's arm and shake its head for about 30 seconds after taking the suspect to the ground.