Minnesota cops released a video of an incident that happened over the summer showing an innocent man being kicked by several cops and mauled by a K9.
St. Paul Police Chief Todd Axtell released an apology on Facebook.
Frank Arnal Baker’s legs were severely mauled during the attack and he suffered several broken ribs and collapsed lungs.
The 52-year-old’s injuries were so severe, he was hospitalized for a couple weeks, according to his attorney Robert Bennett who said the dog tore “hunks of flesh” as its teeth bit “down to the bone” of his client’s leg.
The June 24 video, which can be seen below, shows officers responding to a call about a fight.
According to St. Paul police, dispatchers gave cops a description of a black man with dreadlocks wearing white T-shirt who was armed with a gun. Upon arriving at the scene, Baker matched the description given by dispatchers, although he was simply returning home after his day at work.
Baker was commanded to put his hands in the air, but police allege he only raised one hand. St. Paul cops say Baker was “slow to respond” after repeated commands.
That’s when St. Paul cop Brian Ficcadenti sicced a K9 “Falco” on Baker, who fell to the ground when the attack dog made contact with him.
“Get him, buddy,” one cop can be heard saying to the attack dog. “Get him, buddy. Good.”
After “Falco” attacks Baker, several cops began kicking Baker in the ribs because he disobeyed commands to keep his hands visible while being mauled on the ground.
Paramedics were called after “Falco” the K9 was pulled from Baker’s leg.
After being handcuffed and searched, no guns were found on Baker.
He was taken to the hospital where he stayed for two weeks while being treated for his injuries.
Police Chief Issues Apology
St. Paul Police Chief Todd Axtell did something that never crossed most police chiefs minds.
Axtell met with Baker while he was being treated at the hospital and after he was released stating he “deeply apologized” and assured him the department was in the process of investigating the act of brutality.
“As a result of this incident we have increased our training for officers,” Chief Axtell said. “When we don’t get things right, we have to own it.”
“And we have to apologize.”
Not only did Chief Axtell apologize to Baker in person, he made a public apology over Facebook on the St. Paul Police Department’s Facebook page.
“As Saint Paul’s police chief, I’m disappointed and upset by what the video shows.” Chief Axtell wrote. “As a person who cares deeply about other people, I am profoundly saddened.”
“When I became chief, I promised to do everything possible to ensure that the people we serve have faith in their police department. I want you all to know that the video does not reflect the way we strive to do our jobs—day in, day out. This is not the Saint Paul way.”
Axtell said in addition to increased training, he reaffirmed his expectations to the entire department, including being more transparent and a dedication to doing what’s right.
“When the wrong thing happens, we are absolutely committed to being the best police department possible,” Axtell assured. “I apologized and I believe truly in my heart that he appreciated that apology.”
Baker’s attorney, Robert Bennett, said the way the chief approached the investigation and issued an apology is a “breath of fresh air.”
On top of the apology, Chief Axtell disciplined K9 cop Brian Ficcadenti, suspending him for 30 days and placed officer Brett Palkowitsch on unpaid leave.
Steve Linders, a spokesperson for St. Paul police, said Palkowitsch is being investigated for a complaint filed against him, but would not provide details.
Police Union lawyer, Chris Wachtler, said the incident wouldn’t have happened had Baker complied with officers’ orders.