(NEW YORK) — A 23-year-old truck driver who was attacked by an Ohio police dog while trying to surrender with his hands up, broke his silence about the horrific ordeal Thursday night, telling ABC News, “I just didn’t want to die.”
Jadarrius Rose, 23, of Memphis, Tennessee, spoke out about the July 4 incident on a central Ohio highway one day after the K-9 officer Rose alleged sicced his dog on him was fired from the Circleville, Ohio, Police Department.
The former officer, 29-year-old Ryan Speakman, was terminated from the force after an investigation by the Circleville Police Use of Force Review Board prompted police officials to conclude he “did not meet the standards and expectations we hold for our police officers,” according to a statement the agency released on Wednesday.
National civil rights attorney Ben Crump, who is now representing Rose, told ABC News that the incident, which was caught on police body-camera video, harkened back to the 1960s Civil Rights Movement when police dogs were let loose on non-violent protesters.
“We have to say, we will not tolerate this. We won’t go back to the days where they’re siccing dogs on unarmed Black people,” Crump said.
Rose’s 911 call ‘for help’
Rose’s encounter with the police dog came after he led state troopers on a three-county chase, officials said. The pursuit unfolded when the Ohio State Highway Police attempted to pull Rose over for missing a mudflap on his trailer, according to an incident report.
Rose said he was on his cellphone speaking with his mother, Carla Jones, when he noticed state troopers in his side mirrors trying to pull him over. He was about 30 miles from his destination after traveling more than 600 miles when the incident unfolded.
“I was on the phone with my mom and I said, ‘What should I do?’ So, she told me to pull over if you know you didn’t do nothing wrong,” Rose said.
Rose said that when he initially stopped, he saw police in his mirrors with their guns drawn, including one pointing an AR-15 rifle. He said he decided to pull away, hung up on his mother and called 911.
“I was just hoping that they would be able to help me,” he said of the 911 dispatcher who answered his call. “I wanted to get out. I hadn’t committed a crime. It’s not like I murdered somebody, and they got their guns ready to shoot me,” Rose told ABC News. “I just didn’t want to die. That’s what was going through my mind. I just didn’t want to die. That’s why I called them for help.”
‘I had to tell the dog to stop’
During the pursuit, police placed spike strips in the road in front of him that blew out his tires. He said on several occasions he feared troopers were going to run him off the road.
He said he was still on the phone with the 911 dispatcher when he finally exited his truck to surrender.
“It was like 10, 12 people with guns and they had them pointed right at me, and I just was walking directly to the guy that was telling me to come to him,” Rose said.
Then he saw the Circleville K-9 officer and his dog racing across the grassy center median toward him.
“I didn’t know what to do. So, I just stopped because I didn’t want to make a bad move or anything like that,” Rose said.
As the dog was let loose and charged toward him, Rose got on his knees and put his hands up, according to police body-camera footage released of the incident.
A state trooper could be heard in the body camera footage repeatedly yelling at Speakman, the K-9 officer, “Do not release the dog with his hands up.”
“I was defenseless,” Rose said. “If I would have tried to defend myself, that would have given them more reason to shoot me. I just wanted my life.”
He said that even after the police dog’s teeth dug into his left arm, it did not appear that the police officers rushed to get the animal off him immediately. He said he directly pleaded with the dog to let him go.
“I had to tell the dog to stop,” Rose said. “I asked the dog, ‘Please stop. It hurts’ and he finally let go.”
Mother is thankful her son survived
Rose was treated at a hospital and later booked at the Ross County, Ohio, Jail on charges of failure to comply, a fourth-degree felony, according to the highway police.
Carla Jones said she didn’t speak to her son again until after he was taken into custody.
“I’m grateful that my son is still alive,” Jones told ABC News.
Rose said he has watched the body-camera video of the arrest multiple times.
“I cried a few times because I know that what I was telling my family was true, none of it was a lie,” Rose said. “It was all true. Like the police will try to do anything to make it seem like the so-called suspect was lying.”
Rose added that watching the video made him feel “heartbroken.”
Moving forward, Crump said, “Justice for Jadarrius is trying to make sure that officers who sic dogs on unarmed Black people are held accountable.”
“Imagine the psychological trauma and the mental anguish that Black people go through in America when sirens and flashing lights come on behind them. That’s what the Jadarrius Rose video represents to every Black person in America, the fear of being the next hashtag,” he said.
Crump said Rose is still facing criminal charges.
“They are going to claim that because he was missing a mudflap they have these rights to draw 20 guns on him,” Crump said.
Speakman was fired after the Circleville Police Use of Force Review Board investigated the attack and submitted its report to the city officials.
The officer was let go despite the review board concluding that the “department’s policy for the use of canines was followed in the apprehension and arrest.”
“It’s important to understand that the Review Board is charged only with determining whether an employee’s actions in the use of force incident were within department policies and procedures,” the Circleville police statement said. “The Review Board does not have the authority to recommend discipline.”
The Circleville police statement did not comment on the fate of the police dog.
Prior to Speakman’s termination on Wednesday, Circleville Mayor Donald McIlroy told ABC News on Monday that Speakman, the K-9 officer, was put on paid administrative leave on July 20 and his dog was put in a kennel.
Asked by ABC News if he was aware of any disciplinary action taken against Speakman in the past, McIlroy said, “Yes.” He directed ABC News to the city’s human resources department to file a public records request, but the file has not yet been released.
Efforts by ABC News to reach Speakman for comment have not been successful.
Fired K-9 officer filed grievance
Tom Austin, executive director of the Ohio Patrolman’s Benevolent Association, said in a statement released Wednesday following the announcement of Speakman’s firing that the union’s senior lawyer, Joseph Hegedus, has filed an official grievance with the city of Circleville contending the officer was terminated “without just cause.”
In the grievance, Hegedus wrote that the officer’s firing is “contrary to mandatory principles of progressive discipline” and is a violation of the union’s collective bargaining agreement. The grievance asked that Speakman’s termination be rescinded and that he be reimbursed for “wages, seniority and benefits lost.”
Hegedus also asked that Speakman’s termination be expunged from his personnel records.
Despite the firing of Speakman, the central Ohio Black Lives Matter organization said it is moving forward with a protest at noon on Saturday outside the Circleville Police headquarters. In a statement Wednesday to ABC News, the BLM group said more than 1,100 people plan to participate in the protest.
The BLM group is also calling for the dog that attacked Rose to be retired, asking for Circleville Police Chief Shawn Baer to resign or be fired and that all charges against Rose be dropped. The organization is also asking that race sensitivity training be provided to all Circleville police officers and that the police department’s budget be cut by 50%. Baer could not be reached for comment on Wednesday.
“In the wake of the termination of former officer Ryan Speakman from the Circleville Police Department, our resolve for justice has only grown stronger,” the group said in a statement Wednesday afternoon.
The BLM group said it is calling on the U.S. Department of Justice to investigate the incident, adding, “We firmly believe that [an] indictment is necessary.”
Copyright © 2023, ABC Audio. All rights reserved.