A Michigan State Police trooper has been charged in an incident in which he set his dog on a driver and kept the biting animal on the man for nearly four minutes even though the driver was pleading for help, state police said Friday.
The trooper, Parker Surbrook, was charged with a single count of felonious assault in the arrest Nov. 18 in Lansing, in which a driver with a passenger who was believed to be armed fled a traffic stop and crashed into a tree, state police said in a statement. Surbrook “left his canine deployed on the driver for an extended period of time” in violation of policies and ignored the driver’s pleas for help, state police said.
Surbrook was arraigned Friday, police said. He entered a plea of not guilty and is free on a personal recognizance bond, his attorney, Patrick O’Keefe, said.
State police said that Surbrook’s actions were uncovered during a routine review in December and that a supervisor who reviewed video “immediately recognized multiple policy violations” and filed a complaint.
The dog was kept on the driver for almost four minutes, including nearly two minutes after the passenger had been handcuffed by another officer, a police investigation report said. A gun was recovered during the passenger’s arrest, according to the report.
The driver, who had suffered a broken hip, had been begging that the dog be called off and did not appear to be resisting, police wrote in the report, which is partly redacted.
Col. Joe Gasper, director of the Michigan State Police, said in the statement that while force must sometimes be used, “care and concern for human life should always be at the forefront of any police officer’s actions.”
“This makes Trooper Surbrook’s disregard of the driver’s pleas for help totally unacceptable,” Gasper said.
A state police canine unit supervisor and trainer told an investigator that the use of the dog in the first part of the arrest appeared to be within police policy, according to the police report.
But after the passenger was handcuffed, Surbrook should have worked with the other officer to handcuff the driver, the supervisor said, according to the report. There were other options, as well, but those sections of the report are redacted.
Instead, Surbrook waited for other officers to arrive and kept the dog on the driver, who pleaded that the dog be removed at least five times in just under two minutes, according to the report.
Surbrook has been with state police since 2012 and a canine handler since 2017, state police said. He was placed on leave in December and is on unpaid suspension, according to police.