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STEVE ELLIOTT

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Police officers in Brazil, Indiana on October 17 wanted to make a lasting impression on fifth graders when they conducted a mock drug raid. The students will be remembering, for sure. A police drug-detection dog attacked and bit an 11-year-old student, leaving the boy with puncture wounds to his leg which required surgery and an overnight hospital stay.

The supposed point of the “Red Ribbon Awareness Week” courtroom demonstration, arranged by Judge J. Blaine Akers (who declined an on-camera interview), was to show the kids that drug-detecting dogs can sniff out even the smallest amounts of illegal substances on individuals, reports Derrik Thomas at The Indy Channel.

Police officers assembled a row of students, placing a small amount of illegal drugs on one boy. As the dog approached the students, one boy flinched, intimidated by the aggressive canine. The dog lunged and bit the boy on the leg, reports David Ferguson at The Raw Story.

“Max began searching the juveniles,” handler Ray Walters wrote in his report. “The first male juvenile began moving his legs around as Max searched him. When the male began moving his legs, [this is what] I believe prompted Max’s action to bite the male juvenile on the left calf.”

The officer shouted “Oust!” the German command for “release,” and after chewing on the boy’s leg a few seconds, the dog released the child and ran behind the officer, who claims he “quickly exited” with the dog.

Brazil Police Chief Clint McQueen claimed the incident was “not anything out of control,” so presumably, kids sustaining dog bites is something the police chief believes is entirely “under control.”

The boy was rushed to St. Vincent Clay Hospital by ambulance, although police were quick to dismiss his injuries as “minor.”

Parents, Witnesses Dispute Claims of ‘Minor’ Injury

But commenters on The Brazil Times‘ story page told it differently. “The ‘minor’ bite required surgery,” commented “localgal.”

“The gashes were very deep and extensive,” she commented. “The dog was not under control. I know this was an accident but it was not a minor event whatsoever.”

“First of all, ‘a minor injury’???” commented “Suziehomemaker.” “Last time I knew a dog taking a chunk out of a child’s leg is no “minor injury”!!!

“You would think when you send a child on a field trip to a courthouse, to be around officers, judges, and K-9 police dogs, the child would be safe,” she commented. “Ha, not in this town.

“The story also states that the kids were to remain still while the dog searched them,” she commented. “It didn’t state that they had two children laying on the ground next to each other, and the poor child moved his leg to let Max through and he was attacked! I guess I didn’t realize this dog was supposed to attack from movement instead of command.

“Even crazier is this poor child didn’t have anything hidden on him,” she commented. “They had the dog ‘under control,’ so tell me why it took two officers plus one more prying that dog’s mouth open to get the dog off of him?

“Max responded after a few seconds,” she commented. “Imagine how much pain that poor child felt for a few seconds of 240-800 pounds of pressure biting his leg! This poor little guy is very good friends with my son and I pray for him and his family.”

“This is a fine example of a news media being told what to print by the ‘powers that be,’ ” commented BKL8008. “I can’t say that I’m surprised by the ineptitude of this ‘story,’ and a story is exactly what it is. It is one-sided, and inaccurate.

“[The] media make it out to the reader/viewer that this incident was the fault of the victim, who in fact, has had dogs all of his life and knows how to act around them,” he commented. “I know this boy personally, have introduced him to new and ‘strange’ dogs I have adopted, and I have seen his wounds from this attack.

Hey, Judge J. Blaine Akers! That was a really STUPID idea, "Your Honor." [The Brazil Times]
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Judge J. Blaine Akers:
That was a really STUPID idea,
“Your Honor.”
[The Brazil Times]

“This is NO MINOR puncture wound,” he commented. “This is a SERIOUS injury that could easily have crippled this child if only a variable or two had shifted the tiniest bit. I have a dog comparable in size to Max, and I KNOW what a canine like this can do, and how powerful they are.

“To be blunt, the description of this boy’s injuries in this media is an outright LIE,” he commented. “Minor puncture wounds DO NOT require surgical intevention, nor leave such horrible marks.”

“[H]ad this been a private citizen’s dog, he’d be confiscated and destroyed, owner fined some astronomical amount,” noted commenter “unclegrabby.”

” ‘Educate the Clay County fifth-graders on drug awareness,’ ” commented “WickedSpring64.” “I think the only thing the kids learned was Judge Aikers and the City of Brazil’s Police Department made a poor decision […] [D]on’t place drugs on kids and maybe, just maybe, the dog won’t feel the need to strike.”

“I am still shaking my head at this story and wondering why on Earth it ever seemed like a good idea to involve children in a ‘simulated’ event in which there was even a remote chance they could be injured,” commented “WorriedMommy.” “[T]he irresponsible coimment regarding the injured child having moved, then follow-up commentary about other spectators seeing him move, implies that this horrible accident was the fault of the child.

Brazil Police Chief Clint McQueen called the boy's injuries "minor," despite the fact that they required surgery and an overnight hospital stay
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Brazil Police Chief
Clint McQueen

called the boy’s injuries “minor,” despite the fact that they required surgery and an overnight hospital stay

“Frankly, that child could have had raw meat strapped to his chest and been kicking wildly and a trained police dog should have continued to sit idly by,” she commented. “Telling a child not to move is like telling an adult not to breathe.

“It troubles me that anyone would call this type of incident [a] ‘minor injury,’ ” she commented. “This child has endured major bite wounds requiring surgery and an overnight stay in the hospital, as well as continued follow-up with a specialist. […] Misquotes and blaming a CHILD for moving just don’t sit well, in my opinion.

“Why plant drugs on a 5th grade child and then sic and attack dog on them anyway?” asked commenter “freezerman1.” “That was way past stupid! I would have to say this was the fault of Brazil’s finest.”

“This was just an incredibly stupid idea on the parts of all parties,” commented “Autism Mom.” “Would someone be bitten for being nervous around dogs?”

Dog Taken Out of Service for Testing

Max the drug dog has been taken out of service and is being given a battery of veterinary tests. (This is likely so police can assign blame to the dog, rather than accept responsibility themselves for the animal’s faulty training.)

The drug dog and his handler had done these demonstrations before without incident — or at least, that’s what Chief  McQueen told reporter Ernest Rollins at The Brazil Times.

“It was an unfortunate accident,” Chief McQueen claimed. “Wish it hadn’t happened like that but it did.”

Chief McQueen claimed that all this was done “under exclusive control and supervision of members of the court and law enforcement.” Yeah, good job, guys.

“We are trying to evaluate to make sure nothing like this happens again,” the chief claimed.

The dangerous classroom demonstration was supposedly carried out to “educate the Clay County fifth-graders on drug awareness.” Let me translate that for you: The police believe that intimidation and fear of children is a good thing. I guess they can consider this a solid “Mission Accomplished.”

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