YORK, Maine — Town officers launched video footage late Wednesday that exhibits a York Police Department officer utilizing a K-9 to subdue native pediatrician Stephen Brennan during a traffic stop greater than two years in the past.
The release of the footage comes a few week after Brennan’s attorneys introduced their consumer had reached a $325,000 settlement agreement with the city and Patrolman Jonathan Rogers, who had launched the canine during the encounter on Sept. 20, 2019.
In a joint assertion launched with the footage, York Town Manager Steve Burns and Acting Police Chief Owen Davis stated Rogers “simply did his job to keep York a safe place.”
Brennan was 63 on the time of the incident and ran Yorkids Pediatrics. Brennan suffered a number of accidents, together with canine bites that his attorneys stated required months of follow-up and wound care.
What dash-cam reveals
The 21-minute video, which was launched in response to a public information request from Seacoast Media Group, contains audio and dashboard digital camera video. There was no body-worn digital camera used during the encounter, Burns stated.
Rogers pulled over Brennan for allegedly flashing his excessive beams. The video exhibits Brennan stepped out of his car earlier than Rogers’ cruiser had absolutely stopped.
As Brennan walked towards the police cruiser, Rogers shouted at him to place his palms up. Brennan complied at first, however he continued strolling whereas Rogers yelled 3 times for him to stop.
Brennan stopped for a second together with his palms raised, then he dropped them and turned again towards his personal car. Rogers left his cruiser and approached Brennan, telling him to stop shifting. Rogers had his gun drawn and pointed at Brennan.
Brennan turned once more towards Rogers, who repeatedly warned that he would sic the K-9 on him if he didn’t flip round and comply.
After Rogers informed Brennan six instances to get on the bottom, Brennan dropped to his knees. Rogers informed Brennan to get on the bottom yet one more time because the K-9 ran towards Brennan and knocked him to the bottom.
No greater than 40 seconds elapsed between when Rogers’ patrol automotive got here to a stop on scene and when his K-9 could be seen within the video working at Brennan.
While Brennan was on the bottom with the police canine on prime of him, Rogers informed him to get on the bottom once more and put his palms behind his again. Brennan rolled onto his abdomen because the canine appeared to proceed biting down on his leg. At the identical time, Rogers informed Brennan to stop resisting.
Rogers was on the bottom atop Brennan whereas the K-9 continued to subdue him. Rogers finally pulled the canine off of Brennan, who remained on the bottom together with his palms behind his again.
The K-9’s engagement with Brennan lasted about 80 seconds.
Several officers and an ambulance arrived to help Rogers and have a tendency to Brennan’s accidents. Rogers informed Brennan he was below arrest for refusing to undergo arrest or detention.
Rogers could be heard telling the opposite officers about Brennan’s accidents.
“He looks like I beat the f—ing s— out of him. I really didn’t,” Rogers said. “I just released the dog.”
Emergency medical technicians informed Rogers one of Brennan’s eyes had bled and he couldn’t see out of it. Rogers informed the EMT that he had smacked Brennan together with his hand within the space that the attention was bleeding.
When an ambulance arrived 13 minutes into the interplay, Rogers knowledgeable the responders Brennan’s leg had been chewed and was bloody.
Brennan’s interplay with police, the K-9 and EMTs lasted about 16 minutes earlier than Brennan was positioned in an ambulance.
Brennan was charged with refusing to undergo arrest, however the cost was dismissed after six months, in line with York County District Attorney Kathryn Slattery.
The DA’s workplace is just not concerned in disciplinary investigations in opposition to police officers, Slattery stated.
An alternative to do higher subsequent time
At the time, York police stated the response by Rogers was warranted as a result of, they stated, Brennan had been an aggressor.
Brennan’s lawyer, Alexander Spadinger of Shaheen and Gordon, stated the settlement makes clear that preliminary makes an attempt by York police to color Brennan because the aggressor had been unfaithful. They stated Brennan was within the course of of getting down on the bottom to give up when the K-9 was launched. The resolution to release a educated police canine was neither cheap nor essential, Spadinger added.
Brennan suffered a number of accidents consequently of the canine bites that required months of follow-up and wound care therapy, together with puncture wounds to each legs and his left arm, in addition to a chest wall harm and trauma to his left eye, in line with the assertion.
“As a result of this case, Dr. Brennan is hopeful that the York Police Department will take steps to ensure that next time one of its officers is faced with a situation like this, they turn first to their de-escalation training before resorting to physical force,” Spadinger added.
In distinction, Burns stated the settlement was determined by the city’s insurer and doesn’t mirror wrongdoing by York police.
“The settlement is because we have insurance so that the insurance company dictates anything that has to do with financial risk to them. They make the decisions, they pay that settlement. The town does not pay that,” Burns stated. “It does not cost the taxpayers anything, other than if the insurance premiums go up.”
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Burns stated Rogers nonetheless works for York police. Burns declined to touch upon whether or not the city believes the settlement was honest.
Burns stated the incident between Rogers and Brennan triggered an inside investigation by the York police command employees that didn’t result in any disciplinary motion.
Rogers was informed to not use such vulgar language, however that was it, Burns stated.
No adjustments have been made to YPD use of drive and canine insurance policies in response to this incident, Burns stated.
Town nonetheless denies wrongdoing
Acting Police Chief Owen Davis stated York police performed a “thorough investigation” that discovered Rogers’ actions adopted all division working procedures and used “the appropriate amount of force necessary to gain control of the situation while ensuring the safety of both parties.”
Davis stated Rogers used quite a few verbal instructions to deescalate the scenario and Brennan refused to conform, which prompted Rogers to make use of “non-lethal force” to take Brennan into custody.
Three witnesses to the occasion got here ahead and offered statements in assist of Rogers’ actions, Davis stated.
In the assertion, Burns stated police have a tough job.
“I’m often told I have a difficult job, and that people wouldn’t want my job. I look at the job our Police Officers do … and think, my job is easy by comparison,” Burns stated. “Police Officers are kind and caring, and provide all manner of public service to our residents. However, at any moment they are prepared to jump into action to keep our community safe.”
Police work is neither fairly nor nice, Burns added, and they’re usually known as upon to make on-the-spot, life-altering selections.
“Their work, however, is absolutely necessary to protect the quality of life we enjoy in our community,” Burns stated.
Despite the settlement, Kasia S. Park, the lawyer who represented the city and Rogers, continued to disclaim any wrongdoing on the half of Rogers, Sgt. Brian Curtin and the York Police Department.
“There was no finding by the federal court that an initial report made by Sgt. Brian Curtin was false,” Park stated. “The federal court did not make any findings in this case. There was no finding of wrongdoing on the part of Officer Rogers, the Town or any other York officer. The parties decided to mediate this case and a settlement was reached. There was no admission of wrongdoing or liability.
“This was not a routine traffic stop,” Park said. “Dr. Brennan jumped out of the automotive earlier than Officer Rogers even stopped his cruiser and began heading in the direction of Officer Rogers. Officer Rogers didn’t know the id of the motive force on the time, didn’t know why the motive force was leaping out of the automotive or if he was armed, or if there was anybody else within the automotive. There had been three civilian witnesses who got here ahead describing Dr. Brennan as being the aggressor during the encounter.”
Editor’s notice: This story was up to date Thursday, Jan. 13, with a remark from York County District Attorney Kathryn Slattery.
This article initially appeared on Portsmouth Herald: Video shows York ME police K-9 subduing pediatrician Stephen Brennan