Newly surfaced police body camera video (below) from August 2015 shows San Diego police officers commanding and allowing a police dog to maul a naked, unarmed man.
The police report said the officers were checking on the welfare of the man, reports KNBC. The officers repeatedly promised the man medical care as he climbed up a hill toward them.
WARNING: This video contains graphic scenes.
In the video, the police tell the 25-year-old man several times to turn around, but he refuses to do so. Moments later, an officer commands the K-9 to bite the man.
The police dog brings the man down, but while he is held down by the police, the dog is allowed to rip into the man's leg for 44 seconds. One officer actually tells the man during the violent attack: "Stop resisting!" When the dog is finally pulled off the man, there is blood dripping from the dog's mouth.
Donald W. Cook, a civil rights lawyer who doesn't represent the naked man, told the news station the officers' behavior was "barbaric" and "animalistic."
"It wasn’t necessary to use the dog to begin with and it sure as hell wasn’t necessary or needed or appropriate to let the dog continue to bite," Cook added.
The San Diego K-9 officer claimed in his police report that the naked, unarmed man posed an "immediate threat," and that he "did not have an opportunity to give K-9 warnings," as the police department requires.
The K-9 officer claimed the man "posed an immediate threat to officers due to the fact he was clinching his fists and walking towards them."
While the man did have his fists clenched, he was not moving towards the police.
Cook said there was no threatening behavior by the man on the video.
The naked man, who asked not to be identified, told KNBC: "I take some responsibility because I was under the influence. But nothing justifies the cops' used of such force."
After all the effort to subdue the man, the police didn't charge him with any crimes.
The man sued the City of San Diego, which defended the police: "At all times, the conduct of the defendants was reasonable, lawful, based on probable cause and within the scope of their official duties and employment."
The San Diego City Council contradicted its own statement by agreeing to a $385,000 settlement in early December.
The man told KNBC he was in a hospital for two weeks, and that his right leg has partial and permanent damage: "No dollar amount is worth having a disability for life."
The San Diego Police Department and city attorney declined to speak to KNBC, but police spokesman Lt. Scott Wahl issued a statement:
This video shows the agitated and defiant demeanor of a man under the influence of LSD. When played in its entirety, the video shows our officers trying to gain his compliance before he became defiant. While the split second decisions of police officers are easy to second guess when you know the outcome, keep in mind the deployment of our K9 is intended to prevent the situation from escalating.
Constitutional lawyer Jonathan Turley wrote on his blog: "That last statement would seems to undermine any argument that there is reform in this area. The K9 was the escalation."
Turley also questioned why the police and the city did not release the video until now, more than a year after the incident.