- A state trooper was charged with felonious assault with a dangerous weapon over a November incident.
- Parker Surbrook, 33, unleashed his police dog onto an unarmed man for approximately four minutes.
- In a video released by police, the man can be heard yelling for help as the dog continued to attack.
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A Michigan state trooper was charged with a felony after he ordered a police dog to hold down an unarmed Black man for about four minutes in November, court documents showed.
Parker Surbrook was charged on March 5 for felonious assault with a dangerous weapon and pleaded not guilty to the charge. Surbrook, 33, joined the Michigan State Police in 2012 and has three years of experience as a canine handler.
An MSP incident report said that Surbrook stopped a vehicle leaving an “illegal activity spot” when the driver crashed into a tree before exiting the car and falling onto the ground.
Video of the incident released by the MSP showed that Surbrook arrived at the scene soon after and unleashed the police dog, Knox, onto the unidentified and unarmed man lying on the ground. Surbrook used a “stop him” command. The dog is seen biting and tugging on the man who can be heard repeatedly screaming, “I’m done,” and, “He’s got me.”
For nearly four minutes, the video showed the dog repeatedly biting and attacking the driver, who does not appear to resist or fight back. At one point, the man can be heard crying out as the canine began to attack his face, but the officer did not call off the dog, and instead is heard chastising the man.
“Please, Sir, he’s on my face,” the man can be heard screaming.
“I don’t care,” Surbrook responded.
The MSP opened an internal investigation just weeks after the incident occurred. Investigators interviewed the man attacked by the dog, who said the dog had bitten him on his private parts, pelvic area, and head, and had pulled and shaken him by his arm.
The director of the MSP, Col. Joseph Gasper, said in a statement that Surbrook’s actions crossed the line and were unacceptable.
“While the unfortunate reality for police officers is that use of force is sometimes a necessary action to ensure the protection of themselves or others, care and concern for human life should always be at the forefront of any police officer’s actions,” Gasper said. “This makes Trooper Surbrook’s disregard of the driver’s pleas for help totally unacceptable.”
After the incident, Surbrook was asked to provide a written account of his experience at the time of the crash and dog bite, but Lt. Ryan Maki, the section commander of the MSP’s K-9 unit, said in incident documents that Surbrook’s report “lacks significant details of the incident.” In a supplemental incident report, Surbrook said that the man in the car was running away, but after watching the footage, Maki said that the man is never seen running away.
Michigan State Rep. Sarah Anthony said in a press release that the prolonged biting equates to torture, and that racism and police brutality were happening “in our own backyard.”
“Today, I watched an unarmed Black man be mauled by police dog for nearly four minutes under the direct orders of a Michigan State Police Officer trooper,” Anthony said. “This is a blatant abuse of power and can only be described as torture. This incident, and every one we’ve witnessed liked it, is heartbreaking and infuriating.”
Surbrook was suspended without pay. Court filings show that his next hearing is scheduled for March 18 at 9 a.m. ET.