Ohio K-9 officer who unleashed dog on Black man was fired for repeatedly discussing confidential details, documents show


The K-9 officer in Ohio who released a police dog on a Black man who was surrendering was fired for allegedly talking about the incident repeatedly with family and colleagues and allegedly lying to the police chief about sharing those sensitive details, new documents obtained by CNN show.

The Circleville Police Department fired officer Ryan Speakman last week. His termination came after a July 4 incident where he released his police dog on Jadarrius Rose following a lengthy vehicle pursuit. The pursuit began as officers attempted to pull over a commercial semi-truck police say failed to stop for an inspection, according to the highway patrol case report and footage released by the agency.

Footage from the incident shows the 23-year-old with his hands up to surrender when Speakman released the dog. The review board later determined on July 6 that Speakman’s deployment of his K-9 was “within departmental policy regarding the use of force and canine operating policies.”

The Ohio Patrolmen’s Benevolent Association, which is representing Speakman, posted a statement that said he was terminated without just cause. CNN has reached out to the Ohio Patrolmen’s Benevolent Association for further comment.

Documents obtained by CNN show Speakman’s termination was due to violating department policy, specifically for “unauthorized and inappropriate intentional release of confidential or protected information, materials, data, forms, or reports obtained as a result of the member’s position with this department.” The documents, which were first reported by the Scioto Valley Guardian newspaper, say his termination was also due to alleged dishonesty to superiors.

The documents include a July 25 report from Circleville Police Chief G. Shawn Baer, where he said he received reports of Speakman as “crying and talking with other employees about being stressed over” over the July 4 incident and being distressed.

Alongside a Circleville Use of Force Board review into Speakman’s decision to deploy his K-9, the report details an internal investigation into Speakman allegedly releasing confidential information and deceiving Baer when asked about the disclosures.

Baer wrote that the police department’s deputy chief had already told Speakman that “he needed to stop going around to everyone talking about the deployment,” the report says. Despite the order, Baer noted Speakman continued to approach police department employees “upset and crying.”

Baer once more ordered Speakman to “stop his conduct” and told him “if he was confident that he had followed his training and policy that there was no reason to act this way,” according to the report.

The police chief had Speakman compile a list of everyone he spoke with about the dog deployment. Ultimately, the list grew beyond Circleville Police Department employees, according to the documents. The report details Speakman returning to Baer and adding more names to the two-page list, including his family members.

“Ryan [Speakman] disclosing information to everyone as well as his emotional state had potential to impact the investigation,” the report reads.

Speakman was officially terminated on July 26, with the Circleville Police Department releasing a statement saying he “did not meet the standards and expectations we hold for our police officers.”

Speakman had previously faced disciplinary action, documents obtained by CNN show.

Documents from Circleville’s Department of Human Resources show he served a one-day unpaid suspension in April 2021 for police department violations, including an incident of “horseplay” that involved a firearm. The documents detail an incident where Speakman unloaded bullets from the magazine of a fellow officer’s firearm.

According to the report, Speakman took full responsibility for his actions. He called it a “dumb thing to do,” a mistake and said he’d learned from it, the report shows. Speakman also said he had apologized to the other officer involved.

In the same statement announcing Speakman’s firing, Baer said the “department’s policy for the use of canines was followed in the apprehension and arrest” of Rose.

CNN reviewed the department’s policy manual for use of police K-9s. Apprehension guidelines state a canine may be used to apprehend a suspect “if the canine handler reasonably believes that the individual has committed, is committing, or is threatening to commit any serious offense.”

Additionally, the handler must have a “reasonable belief the suspect poses an imminent threat of violence or serious harm” to the handler, other officers, or the public, or “if the suspect is physically resisting or threatening to resist arrest and the use of a canine reasonably appears to be necessary to overcome such resistance.”

The policy notes: “absent a reasonable belief that a suspect has committed, is committing, or is threatening to commit a serious offense, mere flight from a pursing officer, without any of the above conditions, shall not serve as the basis for the use of a canine to apprehend a suspect.”

Prominent civil rights attorney Benjamin Crump, who is representing Rose, said the Rose family is exploring legal remedies, including suing the Circleville Police Department.

source: cnn.com