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Questions raised after BIA K-9 refuses to release suspect during traffic stop

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Posted at 4:37 AM, Jul 23, 2021
and last updated 2021-07-23 06:58:40-04

BILLINGS — A Lodge Grass man is recovering Thursday night and a lot of questions are being asked after a Bureau of Indian Affairs officer deployed his dog onto a suspect during a traffic stop.

The disturbing video is being widely circulated on social media.

The incident unfolded after Lodge Grass resident Harris RedStar was pulled over for a traffic stop Tuesday night. The circumstances surrounding the stop are not clear. RedStar’s family told MTN News that Red Star was pulled over for a traffic signal violation.

At some point, the BIA officer deployed his dog on Harris.

Once Harris was handcuffed, the officer attempted to pull the dog off, but the K-9 refused to release its bite.

At that point, the officer struck the animal until it released.

Questions raised after K-9 refuses to release suspect during traffic stop

The video, which was shot by a RedStar family member, is drawing mixed reaction on social media, and some are questioning if the incident constitutes excessive force.

MTN talked with Andrew Emanuel, the president of the Montana Law Enforcement K-9 Association, who watched the video and shared his initial reaction.

Emanuel said the standard for K-9s and human officers is that when resistance is stopped and you have compliance, then the force that’s being applied needs to stop.

He said it will be up to the law enforcement agency to determine violations or any issues with standard operating procedures.

RedStar was taken by ambulance to a Billings hospital, where his family says he underwent three surgeries and returned home Thursday night.

Crow Tribe prosecutor David Sibley said citations were issued to RedStar and other bystanders at the scene. No one was arrested.

Sibley says he does not know the reason for the traffic stop, but he also points out that he does not know what happened before the video was taken.

We will update you if we get more information.

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