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Michigan State Police Trooper charged with Felonious Assault for excessive force with a canine

Warning: Video contains strong language and images some viewers may find disturbing.
Published: Mar. 5, 2021 at 10:53 AM EST
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LANSING, Mich. (WILX) - Thursday the Ingham County Prosecutor’s Office issued a Felonious Assault charge against Parker Surbrook, a Michigan State Police (MSP) Trooper assigned to the Lansing Post, for excessive use of force with a canine.

Officials from the prosecutor’s office say the incident occurred on Nov. 13, 2020, in the city of Lansing. Friday Surbrook was arraigned in the 54-A District Court on one count of Felonious Assault related to his on-duty actions during an arrest.

Surbrook joined the MSP in October of 2012, becoming a canine handler in June of 2017. He was assigned as a canine handler who was working with a multi-jurisdictional task force when he was requested to perform a traffic stop on a vehicle where the passenger was believed to be armed. Officials from the MSP say the vehicle fled and shortly thereafter crashed into a tree. Surbrook, along with an undercover officer from a local police department, responded to the scene.

When he arrived on the scene Surbrook deployed his canine on the driver, who was at that point outside of the vehicle. Officials say Surbrook left his canine deployed on the driver for an extended period of time.

As a result of this incident, he was removed from the Canine Unit and his canine was reassigned to another handler. In a press release MSP officials commented on the extended deployment of the canine.

“Surbrook’s actions during this incident, which were captured on his patrol vehicle’s in-car camera, were not in keeping with the standards of professional conduct expected by members of the MSP, nor do the totality of his actions fully align with training and policy for canine handlers,” they wrote.

In the interest of transparency the MSP has made the in-car video available. The video, which does contain content some viewers may find disturbing, is included above.

The MSP says they became aware of this incident on Dec. 4, 2020, in the course of a routine review. A supervisor reviewing the video of the incident recognized multiple policy violations and filed a complaint with the department’s Professional Standards Section (PSS). After review of the video by the PSS, Surbrook was placed on leave effective Dec. 8, 2020, and a criminal investigation began. The results of that investigation were presented to the Ingham County Prosecutor’s Office for review on Feb. 11, 2021.

“The Michigan State Police is an agency that prides itself in our troopers’ abilities to react with calm and confidence even in the most dangerous and harrowing of circumstances,” stated Col. Joe Gasper, director of the MSP. “While the unfortunate reality for police officers is that use of force is sometimes a necessary action to ensure the protection of themselves or others, 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.”

Surbrook will remain on unpaid suspension pending adjudication of the criminal case.

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