North Port, FL — Months after the Herald-Tribune exposed the North Port Police Department for routinely commanding their K-9 dogs to attack people without provocation, the department has done nothing to address the problem. In fact, it defends its officers even in the most egregious cases, including the mutilation of unarmed juveniles.
There is clearly a culture within the North Port PD that encourages and applauds this cowardly form of brutality, as revealed by messages sent between K-9 handlers involving the case of 18-year-old Jared Lemay.
Lemay’s mother had called the North Port PD when she learned that her son was apparently about to commit suicide. Keith Bush, the leader of their K-9 unit, responded to the scene, but not before telling a fellow K-9 handler to come join in the fun:
“On this day, before he or any other officer reached Jared Lemay’s home, Bush sent a message to fellow K-9 handler Michael Dietz: “COME GET UR BITE.”
Minutes later, records show, Bush messaged Dietz again: “IM GONNA TAKE UR BITE IF U DONT HURRY UP.”
Lemay, who was found unarmed and hiding in a trash can in his garage, was bitten in the face and back by Dietz’s dog, a Belgian Malinois named Cammo.”
After he was taken to the emergency room, another cop, William Carter, messaged Dietz “CONGRATS,” commending him for his dog’s first bite.
Another dialogue between Officers Bush and Brandon McHale further reveals the culture of brutality.
“YOUR BITE OR (Dietz’s)?” McHale inquired.
“I LET (Dietz) HAVE IT,” Bush replied.
“NICE, HOW BAD?” McHale asked.
“BAD,” Bush wrote. “FACE AND BACK.”
“SKIN GRAFT BAD?” McHale asked.