Ex-officer avoids charges for slamming K-9 dog into patrol car
James Hampton's former supervisor claimed he had a love for the dog in the video, Zuul, and his other K-9s
The North Carolina police officer caught on camera inappropriately handling a K-9 dog will not face charges.
Many were left shocked last month after a viral video surfaced of former officer James Hampton holding his K-9 in the air by his leash and slamming him into a patrol car. But despite the disturbing video, the Rowan County District Attorney’s Office recently announced he will not face charges, per TMZ.
According to the DA, despite the video being hard to watch and the officer violating police procedure, the evidence did not determine any crime had been committed. They acknowledged the former officer’s behavior simply as a “bad act.”
Hampton’s former supervisor claimed he had a love for the dog in the video, Zuul, and his other K-9s. He claims the former officer paid thousands in veterinary bills with his own money. Social media users were not as gracious and expressed their disappointment in the cop’s actions.
“They don’t even care about their own K9 dogs. This video will disgust you. Animal lovers beware the video will upset you,” wrote one user.
“It’s bad enough they won’t charge him for animal abuse! Animal abuse is really sad! No cop should ever get a pass for abusing a living human no matter race, religion or class! Ex-North Carolina Cop Dodges Charges in Police Dog Choking Incident via @TMZ,” added another.
As per theGrio, Hampton resigned after the video surfaced.
A news release revealed he was up for termination after an external investigation was conducted but he was ultimately allowed to resign, per The Charlotte Observer.
“Officer James Hampton was K-9 Zuul’s handler, and was the officer depicted in the video engaging in inappropriate discipline of Zuul,” said Salisbury police, per the release. Salisbury is about 45 minutes northeast of Charlotte.
“The police department’s review determined that Officer Hampton had acted in a manner entirely inconsistent with his K-9 training and had violated police department policy.”
In a Facebook post, officers confirmed the dog who goes by K-9 Officer Zuul was checked out by a veterinarian and is fine.
Fox 46 first published the video back in March. It features the dog jumping out of the vehicle when a man identified as Hampton yells at it. The dog lays down but then the former officer grabs a leash and places it around the dog’s neck. He picks up the dog by the leash and is seen slamming him into a patrol car before putting him in the back seat.
“While we understand the calls for the officer’s immediate termination, city employees are afforded due process which ensures fairness for everyone involved and which can take time,” said the department.
Additionally, someone in the video can be heard saying, “We’re good, no witnesses.”
Salisbury Police Chief Jerry Stokes told reporters at a March 2 conference, “Canine training tactics and corrective measures can sometimes be alarming out of context.”
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