"Dogs have served as instruments of violence in incidents dating back to the days of slavery, and as recently as the Black Lives Matter protests." – Mauled – When Police Dogs are Weapons
Four white Granite City, IL police officers allowed a police dog to maul a law abiding unarmed black teenager while conducting a traffic stop, then they lied about what happened in the official police report.
Devondrea Williams was in the back of a truck his cousin was driving with a friend when police pulled them over around 2:30 a.m. Monday, July 19th. Williams said police never explained why they were pulling them over. According to Williams, police asked for his information and asked him to get out of the truck. Before Williams could comply an officer grabbed his arm and several other officers pushed him against the truck.
Williams explained, “and then I see the dog out of the corner of my eye and then the dog bites me.” The teen said he was bitten by the dog four or five times. When the dog latched onto the teen’s leg and would not let go, officers finally tased the animal in order to get the K-9 to let him go. Williams told KMOV after he was bitten by the animal, “I ain’t never screamed like that a day in my life.”
Regeana Canada, who lives close to where the incident took place, saw police lights and filmed the encounter on her phone. She said the dog was latched onto Williams for eight or nine minutes.
Granite City Police Capt. Gary Brooks provided an account of what transpired to KMOV in a statement, “Officers conducted a traffic stop of a vehicle with some of the individuals involved in the incident. At this time, officers attempted to continue to gather facts to ascertain what exactly had taken place,” the statement said. “During the traffic stop, an individual obstructed the investigation and resisted arrest. They were taken into custody with the assistance of a police K-9. This investigation is still ongoing and as a result, no further information can be given at this time regarding this matter.”
Canada, however, refuted the captain’s claims of resistance. “No, he did not resist arrest at all,” said Canada.
Why wasn't the dog under anyone's controlled and allowed to run free? Regardless, why would it take police officers more than 8 minutes to stop their dog from attacking an innocent person? I can't imagine a situation where a private citizen watches their dog mauling someone for eight minutes and not being arrested. It's way beyond time to abolish qualified immunity for police officers. The officer responsible for that dog needs to be fired and any officers who lied need to be fired and prosecuted!
Under Illinios law, 720 ILCS 5/26-1(a)(2-10) , filing a false police report falls under the Disorderly Conduct statute. According to 720 ILCS 5/26-1(a)(4), a person commits disorderly conduct when he knowingly transmits to the police department a false report that a crime has been committed knowing at the time of the transmission that there is no reasonable ground for it. The penalty for such an offense is a Class 4 felony punishable by 1-3 years in the Illinois Department of Corrections.
Under Illinois law pursuant to 720 ILCS 5/31-1, a person who knowingly resists or obstructs the performance by one known to the person to be a peace officer, firefighter, or correctional institution employee of any authorized act within his official capacity commits a Class A misdemeanor. According to 720 ILCS 5/31-4(a) and (b) a person obstructs justice:
“when, with intent to prevent the apprehension or obstruct the prosecution or defense of any person, he knowingly commits any of the following acts:
- Destroys, alters, conceals or disguises physical evidence, plants false evidence, furnishes false information; or
- Induces a witness having knowledge material to the subject at issue to leave the State or conceal himself; or
- Possessing knowledge material to the subject at issue, he leaves the State or conceals himself.”
Remember the actor Jessie Smollett? On February 20, 2019, Smollett was charged by a grand jury with a class 4 felony for filing a false police report. Judge John Fitzgerald Lyke Jr. set Smollett's bail at $100,000 and he had to surrender his passport. On March 8, Smollett was indicted on 16 felony counts of "false report of offense". After completing 16 hours of community service and forfeiting his $10,000 bond, charges against Smollett were dropped on March 28.
At the time of publication, it was unclear whether Granite City police officers have body cameras. Granite City does has a Private Video Surveillance Camera Registration program. The Granite City Police Department signed an agreement with Amazon's home surveillance equipment company, Ring, in 2020 to gain special access to the company's Neighbors app. Someone should check to see if any other private video exist.