A policedog handler filmed cruelly swinging his K-9 against a car has resigned after an investigation.
James Hampton was filmed hauling K-9 Zuul off the ground by the neck before swinging him by a lead around his back and then slamming him into the side of a patrol vehicle.
Someone can be heard in the shocking minute-long video, saying: "We're good, no witnesses."
Others out of shot discussed switching off their cameras, ABC News reports.
Hampton is then recorded trying to lift Zuul into the vehicle by the lead, shouting at him and striking his head.
The clip went viral and led to a protest for action from animal rights charity PETA once it was broadcast by WSOC and other local news stations last month.
Salisbury Police Department in North Carolina, US, have not confirmed when the incident took place but it is alleged to have occurred in October 2020.
Following a week-long internal investigation, the department announced on Wednesday that it concluded Hampton "had acted in a manner entirely inconsistent with his K-9 training and had violated Police Department policy".
A statement said: "As a result, he was recommended for termination.
"The Police Department followed its disciplinary process, which requires that an employee subject to termination be afforded a due process hearing.
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"Following that hearing, and prior to the Police Department formalizing any disciplinary action, Officer Hampton tendered his resignation, effective immediately. The Police Department did not incentivize or otherwise request Officer Hampton’s resignation, which he tendered as a matter of right."
"The Salisbury Police Department will continue to review and make the necessary changes to our K-9 training operations, policies and procedures that align with industry best practices," the agency added.
Prior to the news of Hampton's resignation, PETA's senior vice president wrote to the North Carolina Police Dog Association asking for the officer's K-9 handler state certification to be immediately and permanently revoked.
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Daphna Nachminovitch wrote: "This individual’s violent and abusive behavior toward his loyal K-9 partner indicates a serious lack of judgment and decency – qualities that the public demands and K-9s deserve from their human partners in law enforcement."
On March 2, when the footage surfaced, the Salisbury Police Department released a statement saying that the officer involved had been "administratively separated from the canine" who "was not harmed and is healthy and being well-cared-for."
Zuul appeared at a press conference where Salisbury Police Chief Jerry Stokes read the department's statement.
Stokes continued: "It is important to understand that a police canine is trained to use force against criminal suspects and a handler must ensure they have complete control over the dog at all times so that any use of the canine in the field is appropriate and lawful.
"When a canine is noncompliant with the handler’s commands, the handler is trained to correct the dog. Canine training tactics and corrective measures can sometimes be alarming out of context."
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