The Salisbury (NC) Police Department says James “Buddy” Hampton, a master police officer, resigned after an investigation into an incident during which he was pictured on video “engaging in inappropriate discipline” with a K-9, the Salisbury Post reports.
The video drew national attention, protests by animal activist group People for the Ethical Treat-ment of Animals and calls for Hampton’s firing. While the incident occurred in October, the video was leaked to a Charlotte TV station in early March. At that time, Hampton was separated from the animal, the police department held a news conference saying it would investigate the matter and brought the K-9 officer, a dog named Zuul, to the news conference to show he was OK.
In a news release on Wednesday, the Salisbury Police Department named Hampton, who was hired by the department in 2013, as the police officer depicted in the video and said a third-party review determined, “That Officer Hampton had acted in a manner entirely inconsistent with his K-9 training and had violated Police Department policy. As a result, he was recommended for termination.”
Before the police department’s disciplinary process, which requires a due process hearing, concluded, Hampton gave his resignation, effective immediately.
The leaked video, which is about one minute, shows what Salisbury Police Chief Jerry Stokes described as a training exercise. As Hampton walks to a man in a “bite suit,” Zuul jumps out of a police SUV. Hampton turns and yells, “Stay.” Then, he connects Zuul’s collar to a leash, pulls the K-9 up onto his shoulder by the leash and carries him back to the police SUV hanging from the leash. The video then shows Hampton slamming the dog into the side of his SUV, pulling the dog up by his collar to place him back in the vehicle and striking Zuul once he’s back in place.