Speed Reads


Police in Ferguson won't be allowed to sic dogs on protesters anymore

The St. Louis Police Board, which includes Ferguson, Missouri, in its jurisdiction, decided this week that it will no longer permit county police officers to use dogs for crowd control purposes.

The decision comes after the Department of Justice (DoJ) report on policing habits in Ferguson strongly critiqued the practice of siccing dogs on local citizens to induce compliance. However, St. Louis Police Chief Jon Belmar maintains that even prior to this decision, his officers did not use dogs in this manner, contrary to the DoJ’s "strong implication that we did."

This new policy will not apply to the Ferguson Police Department itself, which as of April 2010 prohibits "the use of K-9 to unlawfully intimidate or threaten subjects." However, the DoJ report found, "The department’s own records demonstrate that, as with other types of force, canine officers use dogs out of proportion to the threat posed by the people they encounter, leaving serious puncture wounds to nonviolent offenders, some of them children."