During what should have been a routine traffic stop, Michigan State Trooper Parker Surbrook allegedly used his expertise as a canine handler to allow his dog to bite a suspect and keep him in its jowls for almost four minutes, even after the person had surrendered and was pleading for help.
Surbrook, a nine-year veteran with the state troopers, was charged Friday with felony assault for the November incident and arraigned in Lansing District Court, according to Michigan State Police.
“Care and concern for human life should always be at the forefront of any police officer’s actions,” Michigan State Trooper Director Col. Joe Gasper said in a public statement Friday. “This makes Trooper Surbrook’s disregard of the driver’s pleas for help totally unacceptable.”
Surbrook was working on November 13 at around 11 p.m. when members of the local police department requested he help conduct a traffic stop. Police suspected that the passenger in the car was carrying a firearm. When Surbrook and a local undercover officer attempted the stop, the car sped off, eventually hitting a tree.
But instead of arresting the driver and passenger after the crash, Surbrook allegedly sicced his dog on them, and let the animal attack the driver for several minutes, according to police.
The dog allegedly kept the driver in its jaws as Surbrook and the other officer arrested the passenger of the car. The driver suffered a fractured hip from the crash, according to a misconduct investigation carried out by the Michigan State Troopers office, which states that the person was not resisting the police dog or the law enforcement officers.
“I’m not moving, please get him,” the driver said as Surbrook looked on, according to the report. “Please, sir.”
Surbrook allegedly encouraged the dog to keep biting the driver of the car, affirming him with commands like, “Good boy, stay on him,” according to the police investigation. The dog allegedly held the driver for nearly four minutes until backup arrived.
The incident was captured on police dashcam footage and released to the public earlier this month. A Michigan State Police supervisor flagged the video for violating policy on Dec. 4 during a routine review of police footage. The criminal investigation into the incident began four days later.
Surbrook’s attorney, Patrick O’Keefe, did not immediately respond to VICE News’ request for comment. The trooper was suspended without pay in December and removed from the police canine unit that he’s been with since 2017.
The dog was reassigned to another police handler.