BAKERSFIELD, Calif. (KGET) — The Kern County Sheriff’s Office released video of a May incident where a Sheriff’s K-9 attacked a prone man. In May, KCSO had said the man who was bit was not involved with the alleged crime.
According to KCSO, deputies had stopped a reported stolen vehicle on the 5900 block of Wright Avenue. When they arrived, a man was seen communicating with the driver and was forced to the ground.
But while he was prone, another deputy accidentally released a K-9, identified as Viktor, from his vehicle. At one point of the video, a deputy is heard saying “Oh, s**t, my bad” once the canine gets loose.
In the first press release sent in May, KCSO said the distance between Viktor and the man on the ground was too short to call him off; video shows Viktor had to be forced off with a device and appeared to ignore commands to let the man go. The man suffered “minor injuries” and was treated at a hospital, according to KCSO.
Viktor was temporarily taken off patrol and his handler was reassigned while the case was reviewed. However, KCSO said because the deployment was determined to be “accidental” it was not considered a “use of force as defined by law.” The partners were “recertified in all areas of training provided by the Sheriff’s Office contracted K-9 trainer,” according to the video.
KCSO introduced Viktor, a Belgian Malinois, to Kern County with a Facebook post last March. According to a more recent post in June, Viktor placed 5th in “water apprehension” during the Murrieta Police K-9 trials. That would have been about a month after Viktor bit the man during the traffic stop.
Viktor and his handler have been returned to duty, but an administrative investigation is still underway. Anyone with more information is asked to call KCSO at (661) 861-3110.