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In their reports, K-9 officers make little distinction among suspected felonies, treating someone who steals a bike from a porch the same as an armed carjacker who pistol whips the vehicle owners, labelling them “unsearched, fleeing felons” who can be attacked by dogs.
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Jasmin, 26, was bit deeply in the armpit by a Fort Lauderdale police dog named Greif after he ran from officers who said he stole a locked Trek bicycle from a carport.
Officer Robert Morris said Jasmin ran from police through a Northwest Fort Lauderdale neighborhood, then took cover in an overgrown lot. Morris said it wouldn’t be safe for him to follow Jasmin there, because of its rocks, low hanging branches and “potentially dangerous plants” including “Spanish bayonets or other sharp, ridged plants of the Yucca genus.”
Morris and Greif eventually cornered Jasmin near a fence. He said Jasmin swung a branch and hit him in the arm, a claim Jasmin denies. Police K-9s are trained to defend their handlers, but only to bite when ordered to do so. Morris ordered Greif to attack.
There is no footage of the actual bite. As the body camera rolled afterward, Jasmin moaned in pain as blood trickled from his armpit.
“I can’t breathe. I can’t breathe,” he complained. “My arm, my arm. I can’t breathe. I need some water.”
Jasmin said he spent a week in the hospital, undergoing two surgeries. His arm and hand still feel numb at times, and tingle. He has bad dreams.
“It was a big, bad dog. I have dreams, pictures of it in my head sometimes,” he said.
All bites are good bites
Most police policies say dogs should only be used on felony suspects, and steer cops away from using K-9s to bite juveniles and mentally ill people except in the most violent felonies.
But on the streets of Broward County, police dogs are biting young and mentally ill people, and supervisors always say it’s fine, records show.