Watch: Footage shows St. Paul K-9 officer attacking innocent bystander

St. Paul's mayor and police chief announced changes to the canine unit as a result.
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Police have released body camera footage showing the moment a K-9 officer accidentally attacked an innocent bystander in St. Paul on Friday.

The man, identified as 33-year-old Glenn Slaughter, was bitten by the dog after police responded to a report of a man with a gun on the 900 block of Fourth Street East in the Dayton's Bluff neighborhood.

Slaughter, who was not involved in the incident, had been asked by officers to lay on the ground while police searched the area.

When K-9 Officer Mark Ross turned up with his canine partner, Suttree, the dog went for the prone Slaughter and bit him on the right forearm.

In the footage, which you can watch below, you can hear Ross shouting "No!" when Suttree breaks free from its collar, before yelling "Out!" – a command for the dog to release – while he was biting Slaughter.

Slaughter meanwhile can be heard groaning in pain, though his injuries didn't require hospital treatment.

It took about 20 seconds for Suttree to release Slaughter.

On Monday, St. Paul Mayor Melvin Carter and police chief Todd Axtell announced changes to the K-9 unit after the latest K-9 bite case.

The unit will undergo an external audit examining its policy, practices and training, with Mayor Carter calling the video "very disturbing" given St. Paul's K-9 unit has been involved in other bite cases in the past couple years.

"I am working with Chief Axtell to implement a set of temporary restrictions on deployment of police dogs, effective immediately, until a full audit can be completed," Carter said.

The temporary restrictions will ban the deployment of police dogs except in incidents "that pose a clear and immediate danger to officers or residents."

The restrictions will be in place until a series of conditions are met, including the aforementioned audit, as well as the assigning of a full-time commander to the unit, and a stipulation that canines will be required to work on shorter leaders.

"Our canine unit has served us well since it was established in 1958, but the mayor and I agree that we need to be sure we’re doing everything possible to deploy police dogs in the safest manner possible,” Axtell said.

"Our goal is to determine what is working, what we can improve and how we minimize risk to the people we serve as well as officers."

Ross is being re-assigned from the K-9 unit and Suttree is no longer a part of it. The St. Paul Police Federation however says the move to re-assign Ross was a "kneejerk reaction," according to the Pioneer Press.

The newspaper notes that St. Paul police was involved in another high-profile dog bite case in September, when Desiree Collins was attacked by a K-9 officer while taking out her garbage.

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