Terrorized by police dogs, even Black teens are growing up with scars from the attacks

53 of 146 of people bitten by Baton Rouge's police dogs were 17 or younger - your Friday long read from The Marshall Project

We go to The Marshall Project for this weeks long read by Bryn Stole and Grace Toohey, read the whole article “The City Where Police Unleash Dogs On Black Teens.” We include key excerpts below to convince you it’s worth your time!

The city where police unleash dogs on Black teens

A joint analysis by The Advocate and The Marshall Project found that the BRPD had the second highest per-capita rate of dogs biting suspects of the cities examined. Only the police department in Auburn, Washington, a much smaller city, had a higher rate.

The results were particularly striking when it came to juveniles, who are much more likely to be bitten in Baton Rouge than in any of the 12 other cities for which reporters could obtain the age of the victims.


More than a year later, [15-year-old Lester’s] flesh has healed over, but the bites have left lasting damage. He still walks with a limp, and sometimes finds it difficult to stand. He said he has almost no feeling around the spot of the bite, but it still occasionally shoots with pain.

The emotional trauma, his mother said, has been just as scarring as the physical pain, and has disrupted his education. She described him as “completely different” since the incident.

“He’s basically scared to death of the police now,” she said. “He was into football and stuff and now he just really wants to stay at home, stay close around the family. He thinks he’ll get killed.”

Bottom line

The analysis also revealed stark racial disparities in dog bites in Baton Rouge. All but two of the 53 minors attacked by a BRPD police dog during those three years were Black. So, too, were more than 90 percent of the adults bitten, even though Black residents make up just over half of the city’s population. And in every instance, according to BRPD’s records, the officer handling the police dog was White.

Reporters also found that, in an overwhelming majority of cases, there was no evidence the people bitten by K-9s posed a grave threat. Almost all were unarmed; less than 9 percent of them were caught with a weapon, the records show.

Read the whole article here.

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