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Brett Arthur Berry, a (then) 18-year veteran of the Ramsey County Sheriff’s Office, was at the Black Bear Casino in Carlton, Minnesota for a K-9 training and certification event with his four-legged partner.
At some point during the training event, Deputy Berry took Boone outside, picked the dog up by his neck, and slammed him into the ground, video (below) showed. After being slammed into the ground, Boone scurried back toward the casino, but became caught between two sliding doors. That’s when Berry was videotaped smacking the defenseless animal multiple times.
Local police were called to the casino around 3am, where they viewed the disturbing video surveillance tape and reported their findings to Berry’s police department.
The Ramsey County Sheriff’s Office removed Deputy Berry from the training event and placed him on administrative leave. Boone was removed from Berry’s care and taken to a veterinarian where he was found to be suffering no injuries.
Warning! The surveillance video below may be disturbing to some viewers.
Berry pleaded guilty to misdemeanor animal cruelty charges at a hearing in State District Court. During his testimony, the officer admitted to being “exceedingly drunk” during the incident, having no recollection of the events until he witnessed the surveillance video.
In exchange for his guilty plea, a second charge of assaulting a public safety dog was dropped. A Carlton County judge sentenced him to one year of unsupervised probation and and the deputy was enrolled in an alcohol intervention program. Berry returned to work approximately one month after his leave of absence, but, the Ramsey County Sheriff’s Office terminated his employment after conducting an internal investigation into the incident.
This week, however, a Minnesota state arbitrator reversed the Sheriff’s Office decision and ordered Berry’s job as a deputy be reinstated.
According to arbitrator, Gil Vernon, Ramsey County’s move was too harsh. In firing Berry, Vernon said the county neglected to consider other factors. He cited Berry’s willingness to undergo alcohol treatment, the deputy’s upstanding professional record, and the fact that Boone, the K-9, suffered no physical injuries.
Vernon ruled that Berry must be reinstated to the police force immediately. The only restriction of his return to work is that he cannot work with police dogs. “The Arbitrator is convinced that it was an aberration and that he deserves another (but last) chance to resume his career,” Vernon explained.