UPDATE @ 6/29/2015 10:11 PM: Minnesota police have launched a public relations advertising campaign after the negative press garnered by Deputy Berry for beating the dog left under his care while at a casino. Tom Scheck, writing for MPR News, gives the following report:
The Minnesota Police and Peace Officers Association says a new public relations campaign that includes paid advertising will highlight the work officers do in their communities.
“Their whole desire is to make their communities a better place,” said MPPOA Executive Director Dennis Flaherty. “I’m not sure the public understands that, so we’re going to try to get that word out.”
Flaherty said they’re launching the effort after his members started raising concerns about the perception of police officers nationally. He said media scrutiny over police incidents in Ferguson, Mo., Baltimore, Md., and North Charleston, S.C., has prompted his members to raise concerns.
“It can be very demoralizing for anybody that every story that seems to be coming out is negative,” Flaherty said. “We could see where it was having a very negative effect and it was important for us as the state association to take the lead.”
The MPPOA said it hasn’t yet decided how much it will spend on the public relations campaign.
Video of the beating Deputy Berry gave the dog under his care, now identified as Boone, has been released since our original report. The video is available below, courtesy of Minnesota CBS Affiliate WCCO:
MINNEAPOLIS — A Ramsey County Sheriff’s deputy has been charged with animal cruelty after being caught abusing a police dog under his care.
Deputy Brett Berry, 48, was staying at the Black Bear Casino in Minneapolis on June 14 while attending a canine training and certification trial.
A surveillance video shows Berry taking the dog in his care to his hotel room, then carrying the dog to his car five minutes later while visibly agitated. Berry then pulled the dog up by its collar and threw it on the ground. The dog ran from Berry and got stuck in the casino’s door, where it remained until Berry caught up with the dog and started beating it.
Police say they responded to a report of animal cruelty early the next morning after Berry had been asked to leave following complaints from the casino’s staff.
Berry, an 18-year veteran of the Sheriff’s office, was arrested and is now facing criminal charges for animal cruelty and assaulting a public safety dog.
The Ramsey County Sheriff’s Office decided to place Berry on paid administrative leave, and issued the following in a statement to the press:
“Deputy Berry was sent home from the K-9 trials and placed on administrative leave. The K-9 was evaluated by a veterinarian and no injuries were found. The K-9 partner is currently in the care of others.”