Michigan trooper who ordered dog on injured motorist is acquitted of assault

LANSING, Mich. (AP) — A jury acquitted a Michigan State Police trooper who was charged with assault for not calling off his dog when a suspect was on the ground with a broken hip.

Prosecutors said Parker Surbrook’s police dog, Knox, bit and pulled on Robert Gilliam for nearly four minutes in Lansing in 2020. The man couldn’t flee because of his injuries and had begged the trooper to remove the dog.

Defense attorney Patrick O’Keefe said the trooper was following his training while waiting for other officers to arrive. He called it a “highly stressful, potentially lethal situation.”

“You can second-guess what I did, but I know what my dog did. He was protecting me,” Surbrook testified.

Surbrook was acquitted of felonious assault Tuesday following a three-day trial in Ingham County, the Lansing State Journal reported.

Gilliam led police on a high-speed chase after Surbrook suspected a man with him outside a liquor store might be carrying a gun. Gilliam said he was on parole in another state and feared the consequences.

The vehicle crashed as Gilliam tried to turn into an apartment complex, and he opened the door and fell to the ground. Surbrook and his dog then arrived.

“Stay on him!” the trooper repeatedly told Knox, according to video.

“Yes, he fled. Yes, he committed a felony,” assistant prosecutor Kristen Rolph told the jury, referring to Gilliam. “That doesn’t mean that what happened to him was something he deserved.”