In May, Richard Bailey Jr., a Black man from northwest Indiana, suffered serious wounds in an encounter with a police dog. Originally, video footage showed part of Bailey’s encounter with police, but additional evidence was released over the weekend by authorities. Bailey’s attorneys have described the incident as “extraordinarily violent,” and the officers involved have been accused of excessive force.
On May 9, 2020, Richard Bailey Jr. was riding a moped when he was stopped by officers and identified as matching the description of a battery suspect. During the subsequent violent arrest officers called on the police dog, which mauled Bailey’s neck for 30 seconds as the officers were handcuffing the man.
In the newly released 911 call (begins at 3:22 mark), which was made from the home where Bailey is alleged to have assaulted people, a woman tells the dispatcher that a man is acting out violently, hitting people and making threats.
“There’s a fight, and he’s hitting women; he’s hitting men; he’s threatening to kill people,” the woman said. She also said the assailant had been drinking, and he threw a woman against the wall before leaving. Her description of the attacker matched Bailey’s appearance.
“Three of our police officers responded to an emergency call to our 911 center, where it was reported that a man had battered multiple people, including throwing a woman across the room,” Lafayette Police Chief Patrick Flannelly said. Josh Saxton, Nicholas Klimek, and Victor Sikorski have been identified as the officers involved in the arrest.
The footage from the arrest (begins at 6:19 mark) includes a part of Bailey’s exchange with the officers as they approach him on the moped:
“Why you want to fight me?” Bailey said. “You want to force me off my moped.”
“We want you off the moped,” one of the officers respond.
“That’s fighting,” Bailey said.
Saxton said, “Hey, there’s a dog in that car. If you fight, you’re going to get dog-bit.”
The police dog attacked after Saxton opened the police vehicle door to release the K-9, Boyka, while officers were trying to handcuff Bailey after taking him to the ground from his moped. The K-9 punctured his trachea, cut his carotid artery, damaged his neck tissue, and injured his shoulder. Bailey also suffered a broken finger during the arrest. As a result of the attack, Bailey spent six days in a medically-induced coma a St. Vincent’s Hospital in Indianapolis.
Bailey’s attorneys believe he was a victim of racial profiling. “I can unequivocally say that this is about race,” Fatima Johnson, one of the attorneys, said in a statement on Thursday. “If Richard Lee Bailey were not a black man, he would not have been treated like this.”
The attorneys have also said the story in the 911 call is inaccurate. Elayne Rivers, a spokesperson for the law firm representing Bailey, said that during the encounter, someone pulled a gun on him and he was attacked with a knife, yet Bailey “still managed to inflict less damage to his attackers than the police did to him.”
Since the K-9 attack, Tippecanoe County Prosecutor Patrick Harrington requested a special prosecutor to investigate the three Lafayette police officers involved. The special prosecutor has confirmed that the officers are being investigated for use of excessive force.
The police department reviewed the arrest and found that “the K9 deployment was within policy — within our use of force continuum and within policy.” The department also says race was not a factor in the arrest or use of force.
Josh Saxton, the officer whose dog attacked Bailey, has been promoted to sergeant since the May arrest.