It wasn’t domestic bliss for Jeffery Ryans and his wife so much so that a protective order was filed by his wife prohibiting him from staying at home. It was an order the 36-year-old claims he obeyed till his wife told him the protective order had been lifted prompting him to return to his home for weeks although the process was still pending.
However, when the couple had an altercation, someone called the police who arrested Ryans for violating the protective order filed by his wife over a domestic violence incident last December. Ryans was in his own backyard, preparing to go to work when the cops arrived and despite complying with their orders, Ryans says they instructed a police dog to attack him.
Although the incident happened on April 24, Salt Lake City Police stated they didn’t hear about the incident until Tuesday. Ryans, a train engineer, filed his intent to sue police on July 20 as lawyers claim he was treated with unnecessary force because he’s black.
The story however gathered steam when Ryans shared his ordeal in an interview following Black Lives Matter protests against police brutality.
That interview led to commencement of an investigation of the incident on Tuesday and the suspension of Officer Nickolas Pearce on Wednesday pending a full investigation.
Mayor Erin Mendenhall had a week earlier “filed an executive order to reform police policy, requiring them to report use of force, even if it doesn’t result in injury.”
She also pushed for a probe by Police Chief Mike Brown on Tuesday evening and on Wednesday declared “I am deeply concerned that it took a news outlet publishing this video for it to be brought to the attention of senior police department leadership and myself.”
Madam Mendenhall added: “I am disturbed by what I saw in that video, frustrated by how the situation was handled, and am committed to working to ensure neither happen again.”
The K-9 apprehension program has also been put on hold by the SLCPD pending a thorough review by experts.
Although Pearce’s K-9 Unit won Unit of the Year in 2011, there have been instances where Pearce was involved in use of deadly force and with Ryans’ case, he was heard in the video encouraging a K-9 to attack him while on his knees with his hands in the air.
The attack resulted in injuries so severe that his leg may be amputated. According to Ryans who hails from Alabama but has lived in Utah for 15 years, “I felt like a chew toy.” He explained he was just getting his clothes to go to work.
He added: “People need to know Black lives matter. Everybody matters, but you can’t just treat people differently because of their religion or their skin color,” stressing “I developed myself to get to where I’m at right now. I should have the same respect as others. We don’t get it.”
According to Ryans, he had multiple surgeries following the attack and lost a job. He can’t also play as much sport with his children.
In a notice of a claim on July 20, “his attorneys say Ryans suffered nerve and tendon damage as well as infections and still has difficulty walking. They say doctors have not ruled out the possibility that his leg will need to be amputated.”
The city has 60 days to respond to the notice or else Ryans will sue.