An officer who grabbed a police dog named Zuul by the neck and slammed him against an SUV in Salisbury, N.C., has resigned from the police department after an investigation determined he had acted “in a manner entirely inconsistent with his K-9 training,” according to an official statement.
A city press release said that Officer James Hampton had violated department policy, with a recommendation to fire him pending a termination hearing. But before that could happen, Hampton voluntarily resigned.
“The Police Department followed its disciplinary process, which requires that an employee subject to termination be afforded a due process hearing,” the city statement said. “Following that hearing, and prior to the Police Department formalizing any disciplinary action, Officer Hampton tendered his resignation, effective immediately.”
Viral footage of the abusive act shows Hampton yanking Zuul off his feet, slamming him into a vehicle, and smacking the dog after telling him to “stay.” After the disturbing incident, someone in the background commented, “We’re good, no witnesses,” according to the video’s audio.
The Salisbury Police Department immediately removed Zuul from his handler’s custody amid widespread public outrage, but Hampton remained on duty while the third-party investigation, conducted by the US ISS Agency, continued into his conduct.
Meanwhile, Police Chief Jerry Stokes said during a press conference that the act may have been carried out as part of canine handling tactics. At the time, he declined to comment on whether Hampton’s behavior was appropriate, citing an ongoing investigation.
The Salisbury Police Department vowed to continue to review and make any necessary changes to its K-9 training operations, policies and procedures.
Lady Freethinker thanks the more than 35,800 activists who signed our petition urging the Salisbury Police Department to thoroughly investigate the appalling incident and revisit its training protocols to protect canines from future cruelty.