WRITTEN AND CONTRIBUTED BY COY MALONE
What You Need To Know:
A North Atlanta man is suing police after being viciously attacked by a K-9 police dog and arrested after his family called for help during a mental health crisis. Police body camera footage has been released as cell phone video of the violent arrest has gone viral.
Travis Moya, who is Black, was having what seemed to be a mental breakdown at his Alpharetta, GA home. After his 18-year-old stepson called 911, his wife Kami could be heard saying he shouldn’t have called, then specifically requested an ambulance to take her husband to the hospital and not the police. When Alpharetta Police officers arrived instead, Kami began recording cell phone video as her husband walked down their driveway while taking off his sweatshirt. Police grabbed Moya, threw him to the ground, and handcuffed him as he yelled, “Don’t touch me…Who called you, brother?”
K-9 Officer M.J. Esposito can be heard on body camera footage telling an officer to move so the dog can get to Moya. “..Get him, Ares! Bite him! Clock him…,” Esposito commanded as the K-9 tore into Moya. He was arrested, charged with felony obstruction, and treated at North Fulton Hospital. Pictures from the hospital show flesh missing from his upper arm and shoulder areas.
“He couldn’t move… He had to lay there while the dog ripped him apart,” said attorney L. Chris Stewart at a press conference. “There was no reason for him to even be detained…instead of an ambulance…eight officers showed up,” attorney Gerald Griggs said. The family attorneys asked for the officers involved to be fired and charged, announced plans of a lawsuit, and requested that Fulton County District Attorney Fani Willis open an investigation and dismiss the charge against Moya. The DA’s office said they will look at all evidence before deciding on charges.
According to a statement, Alpharetta Police are conducting an assessment (which isn’t a formal investigation) due to a standard process for all use-of-force situations, have received no complaints or allegations of misconduct, and the officers involved remain on full duty. The department also claimed that Moya “…became more aggressive and confrontational” during the ordeal.
Why We Need to Know:
This makes me think I shouldn’t call 911 unless there’s a dire emergency. I’ll take my chances handling the situation myself, rather than watching another Black person suffer, especially during a mental health crises. She asked for an ambulance, and her husband was attacked instead! How is this just?