APOPKA, Fla. - An Apopka police officer has been removed from the K-9 unit, after his four-legged partner attacked a small dog.
Internal affairs investigators determined that Officer Kenyon Friedline violated official canine policy by allowing his duty dog off-leash.
Friedline is at the center of two simultaneous internal affairs investigations. Investigative Reporter Karla Ray got her hands on the officer’s account of what happened.
“My doggie was dying on me,” the owner of the small dog said. That dog, named Flacka, had severe injuries after the September attack.
It happened on Labor Day in a 55+ community near Apopka called The Valley. The APD K-9, named Jett, was supposed to be under the control of Friedline at all times.
“It was very shocking to me to see a police dog attack my dog, such a small dog,” Flacka’s owner said.
The just-completed internal affairs investigation found Friedline admitted to removing K-9 Jett from his leash, "allowing him free access to the open field and surrounding area" near his home.
While Jett was several yards away from Friedline, the officer says he "heard a bark and immediately saw Jett turn and run towards the bark, disappearing from his sight."
“[Jett] grabbed [Flacka], and he just slammed her on the ground. That's where her teeth were all gone from the top,” Flacka’s owner said.
Since the incident, K-9 Jett has been kept at a kennel near Apopka Police Department headquarters. Now that Friedline is being removed from the K-9 unit, Jett will be reassigned to a different officer.
Friedline told internal affairs that he had "used this location many times before to conduct training and to exercise Jett, due to the large open area that is available."
However, Apopka’s own canine policy states that "the handler will maintain physical control of their assigned canine at all times. Canines will be secured on a lead when outside of the handler’s vehicle, unless deployed to apprehend a suspect, or inside a secure training facility."
“I thought she was going to die on me. I don't know what would've happened if she would have,” Flacka’s owner said.
Friedline has not been disciplined for this incident, because APD is still wrapping up his other internal investigation. We first showed you body camera video of a July arrest in which Friedline took a car burglar to the ground. His use of force is now in question.
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