Late last week, a Michigan State Police trooper was charged with felonious assault for setting a K9 dog loose on a suspect for nearly four minutes last November.
A statement from the Michigan State Police alleges that the actions of Trooper Parker Surbrook following a car chase four months ago “were not in keeping with the standards of professional conduct” expected of the department’s officers, “nor do the totality of his actions fully align with training and policy for canine handlers.”
Surbrook, 33, has been a member of the force since 2012, and a canine handler since 2017. Due to the charges, the officer has been suspended without pay, and “his canine was reassigned to another handler,” the statement reads.
He has been on leave since early December.
Surbrook’s actions during an arrest in Lansing on Nov. 18, 2020, came to light on Dec. 4, 2020, during a routine review of dash cam footage. A supervisor, the statement alleges, “immediately recognized multiple policy violations and filed a complaint with the department’s Professional Standards Section.”
The alleged crime followed a car chase that ended in Lansing when an allegedly armed suspect’s car crashed into a tree.
The footage, released by the department, shows two men emerge from the wrecked vehicle. Surbrook sics the K9 on the driver, ordering the animal to “Stay on him.”
The dog continues biting the suspect, yanking him across the ground, as Surbrook repeatedly commands the suspect to stop moving between radioing for backup.
The suspect, who was not resisting and was not armed after emerging from the vehicle, can be heard pleading with Surbrook to call the dog off, telling Surbrook the animal was attacking his face. “I don’t care,” Surbrook yells back at him, telling the dog to keep attacking the man.
The suspect continues to plead for relief, telling Surbrook one of his legs is broken. “I don’t care,” Surbrook repeats, telling the dog, “Good boy,” and “Stay!”
According to the investigative report, the suspect had broken his hip in the crash, and was handcuffed for nearly two minutes as the dog bit him.
A gun was recovered from the vehicle’s passenger.
In a statement, Col. Joe Gasper, director of the Michigan State Police, said force is sometimes required to execute an arrest, but “care and concern for human life should always be at the forefront of any police officer’s actions.”
Gasper added: “This makes Trooper Surbrook’s disregard of the driver’s pleas for help totally unacceptable.”
Surbrook pleaded not guilty during his arraignment Friday, and was released on $5,000 bond.