Canton K-9 Officer on leave after video shows dog attacking man during arrest

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Canton Police Department
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A Canton K-9 officer has been placed on administrative leave pending an internal investigation into use of force, the Canton Police Department announced Friday.

The department acknowledged a video circulating on social media showing a police dog attacking a man on the ground. The incident took place in the 1100 block of 16th Street NW at 8:45 p.m. on May 30. Chief Gabbard, who is temporarily out of town, has been made aware of the situation, a statement from Canton Police read. The K-9 officer involved, Patrolman Nicholas Casto, has been placed on administrative leave pending the outcome of the investigation. The department promises to release additional information as it becomes available.

Videos released by police and posted to social media depict a city police dog attacking a man Thursday evening as a crowd gathered, screaming at Canton officers for allowing the dog to engage the man.

In a Friday afternoon statement, Canton police confirmed that an internal investigation has been launched. Officer Casto has been placed on paid administrative leave pending the investigation’s outcome.

“I am aware of the incident regarding Canton Police K-9 Officer Nicholas Casto that took place on the evening of May 30,” Canton Mayor William Sherer said. “Effective today, Officer Casto has been placed on paid administrative leave per department policy. I take these occurrences very seriously. I understand the community will have questions, and I will ensure that my office will be forthcoming with information as it becomes available.”

Casto has served with the Canton Police Department since 2014, according to state records.

The incident began when officers initiated a traffic stop after observing a vehicle failing to use a turn signal. The driver, an 18-year-old, and his passenger attempted to exit the vehicle but were instructed to stay inside, the report alleges. Officers noticed an open container in the backseat, prompting them to search the vehicle.

During the search, a firearm was discovered, leading to the handcuffing of the driver and his passenger. As a crowd gathered and tensions rose, officers faced hostility and threats, reports read. At one point, a 43-year-old bystander allegedly taunted the K-9 and made threats, the report claims. When officers attempted to arrest the bystander, the report claims he resisted, leading to the deployment of the K-9.

In the video, you can see three Canton Police Officers take down the 43-year-old who had his hands behind his back. While lying face down, Casto then deployed the K9 who began biting on the bystander while he lay on his stomach with his hands behind his back.

After detaching the K9 from the man, Officer Casto can be heard in the body camera footage praising the K9 by saying “Good boy!”

The driver of the vehicle faces several firearm-related charges, resisting arrest, and obstructing. The 43-year-old bystander who the dog was deployed on and another bystander were charged with resisting, obstructing, and disorderly conduct. Another person also faces two counts of assault on a peace officer.