DENVER (KDVR) — A Denver Sheriff K-9 that bit a man walking down the street has been retired from the department, and its handler was suspended for two days.
FOX31 obtained surveillance video of the incident through a public records request.
The video shows a man — identified only by his initials S.T. — walking down Cherokee Street outside the City and County Courthouse at 5:20 a.m. on Sept. 29, 2021.
The K-9 dog named Karma had just pooped on the ground and its handler, Deputy Brandon Trujillo, was bending down to clean up his dog’s waste.
As S.T. walked past, K-9 Karma rushed toward him but momentarily jolts backward and continues to bark.
S.T. pauses but then resumes walking when K-9 Karma rushes toward S.T. again and appears to bite his right thigh.
S.T. then appears to throw an object at the dog, who retreats.
In the video, S.T. can be seen yelling at two deputies who had been doing a morning security sweep around the courthouse with K-9 Karma.
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In his interview with internal affairs investigators, S.T. said, “I think I was pretty heated. I think I screamed some curses or some choice words. … I walked off ‘cause I was pretty pissed.”
He told investigators he later came back to the sheriff’s department to file a complaint but did not seek medical treatment, despite suffering “a puncture wound.”
Deputy Trujillo apologized repeatedly during his internal affairs interview and explained K-9 Karma was on a retractable leash, and he wasn’t able to pull her back fast enough before she bit S.T. while he was distracted picking up her waste.
Trujillo told investigators the dog had two prior incidents: once during a training where she got afraid and nipped at a sergeant and a second time in public when she nipped a female civilian who tried to pet her.
The sheriff’s department has since retired K-9 Karma and banned the use of department-issued retractable leashes.
Trujillo, a 17-year veteran with no prior discipline issues, was given a two-day suspension.