YORK, Maine (AP) — Video footage of a man being subdued by a police dog during a traffic stop — an episode that led to a $325,000 settlement for the driver — has been released by a Maine town following a public records request.
Stephen Brennan sued the town of York and a police officer after the September 2019 traffic stop. The Portsmouth Herald reported the details of the settlement earlier this month. Brennan’s attorney said his client suffered multiple injuries requiring months of follow-up treatment as a result of the dog bites.
Seacoast Media Group, which includes the Herald, made a public records request for the video and York officials released it late Wednesday.
The dashcam footage appears to show Brennan had begun to comply with police officer Jonathan Rogers’ command to get on the ground when the dog rushed forward and bit Brennan.
The traffic stop was initiated when Brennan flashed his headlights while driving past Rogers. After pulling over, Brennan gets out of his car and walks with his hands up toward Rogers' vehicle, then takes a few steps back toward his car with his hands down. That prompts the officer to also exit his vehicle and point his firearm at Brennan.
Throughout, Rogers repeatedly tells Brennan to stop, turn around and to get on the ground, at one point saying, “Get on the ground or you're going to get bit.” Brennan appears dismissive and keeps his hands at his sides.
After a few tense seconds, Brennan begins to get on his knees. As his second knee touches the pavement, the police dog enters the video frame and subdues Brennan, while Rogers tries to get Brennan's hands behind his back.
York Town Manager Steve Burns and Acting Police Chief Owen Davis said in a statement that Rogers “simply did his job to keep York a safe place.”
This story has been corrected in the headline to note that Stephen Brennan received a $325,000 settlement, not $325.