An Ohio K9 officer is under investigation after body camera footage showed the officer’s dog attacking a man lying on his stomach with hands behind his back, authorities announced Friday.

Officer Nicholas Casto has been placed on administrative leave while the Canton Police Department investigates the incident that occurred Thursday north of downtown Canton, according to a brief department statement.

“I take these occurrences very seriously,” Canton Mayor Christian Turner stated on Friday. “I understand the community will have questions, and I will ensure that my office provides information as it becomes available.”

The incident began after a traffic stop where officers found an open liquor bottle in a car pulled over for a sudden turn to the curb, according to the police report. During a search, officers found a gun under a seat and handcuffed the driver and passenger. A crowd gathered, became combative, and was ordered to disperse.

Two men in the crowd allegedly threatened the police dog. Casto, the dog’s handler, said one of the men had been warned repeatedly and should be arrested. Body camera footage shows the man addressing the dog, though his words are unclear. Casto can be heard saying, “Say one more thing to this dog,” before approaching the man, who was standing near children in a yard.

“Go inside or you’re going to jail,” an officer said before Casto declared the man under arrest for taunting the dog.

Ohio Police Under Fire After K9 Attacks Restrained Suspect
The footage shows the officer, Nicholas Casto, allowing the K9 under his care attack the suspect

Officers moved to handcuff the man, who immediately began resisting, according to the investigative report. The video shows three officers taking the man to the ground. While the man lay on his stomach with hands behind his back, Casto’s dog lunged at the man’s arms.

As the crowd screamed, an officer told the man to stop resisting. The dog grabbed the man’s arm, but the video did not show any blood. Casto then pulled the dog off, and another officer handcuffed the man and led him to a police vehicle.

“Good boy,” Casto told the dog.

Four people were arrested, including the two men from the traffic stop and two from the crowd, on charges of disorderly conduct, resisting arrest, and obstruction. One man also faced charges of assault on a police officer, and the other for threatening the K9, according to the report.

Attempts to reach Casto and the local police union for comment were not immediately successful.