Alabama cop's K-9 mauls innocent Black man to death in false burglary alert: 'His flesh was all on the ground'

The victim, 51-year-old Joseph Lee Pettaway, was killed after a neighbor alerted authorities of him entering his own mother's house, thinking he was a robber

                            Alabama cop's K-9 mauls innocent Black man to death in false burglary alert: 'His flesh was all on the ground'
(Getty Images)

MONTGOMERY, ALABAMA: Alabama police reportedly let their K-9 dog mail an innocent Black man to death after they mistook him for an intruder in his own mother's home. The details of the horrific incident, which occurred on July 8, 2018, have finally been disclosed after the victim's family successfully subpoenaed bodycam footage of the incident, reports state.

The victim, identified as 51-year-old Joseph Lee Pettaway, was killed in Montgomery, Alabama after a neighbor alerted authorities of him entering his mother's house. The neighbor had reportedly presumed Pettaway to be a burglar. After the authorities reached the site, the police dog attacked Pettaway, who was left bleeding on the pavement, according to an account provided of the incident by the victim's sister, Yvonne Pettaway-Frazier. "I saw it with my own eyes," the sister said. "His flesh was all on the ground that morning."

Officers who responded to the call, including the K-9's handler, reportedly did not make any moves to assist the injured man or administer care to him in any way, Pettaway-Frazier continued. Police officer Nicholas Barber's K-9 dog Niko reportedly ran inside the premises of the house soon after arriving and lunged toward Pettaway. The K-9 handler failed to stop the dog and continued to stand by for two minutes as the canine mauled Pettaway before intervening. Court documents state that the dog tore an artery in Pettaway's groin, causing him to bleed out. The 51-year-old later succumbed to his injuries at a hospital.

Legal document pertaining to the incident stated: "Despite Mr Pettaway's obvious and profuse bleeding and his apparently going into shock, no policeman examines or evaluates his wound and no policeman administers any of the most basic, essential, obvious and immediately required care to stem or reduce his bleeding," according to Metro. According to the documents, multiple officers present at the scene of the incident stood around Pettaway without assisting him, and one of them even took photographs with a cellphone. 

The Montgomery Police Department had refused to confirm that bodycam footage of the scene existed before Pettaway's family successfully subpoenaed the clip of the attack. The Pettaway family, in 2019, had initially filed a lawsuit against the city and the police department. 

The 51-year-old's mother, 87-year-old Lizzie Mae Pettaway, and the rest of the family are still battling to get justice for their son and have asked that the footage be released to the public swiftly. Pettaway's mother, who wants strict actions to be taken against the officers involved in her son's death, said: "They stood up there and let the dog kill him. They need to pay for what they did." "If someone had killed the dog, they'd have made them pay for it. They stand out there and hold a conversation after letting the dog chew him like a piece of meat, watching him bleed to death," the victim's mother added.

Montgomery city attorneys are reportedly attempting to fight the release of a portion of the bodycam footage. They have argued that if that particular part of the clip is taken out of context then it could lead a jury to make a decision based on "emotion," reports state. They have also argued that the body-camera footage should continue to remain confidential because the clip shows "bloody and graphic" images of Pettaway, including audio from "third party citizens."

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