(CNN) — Jadarrius Rose, the unarmed Black man who was attacked by a police dog in Ohio on July 4, described being “terrified” and fearing for his life during the assault in an interview with CNN.
Rose, 23, was driving a commercial semi-truck when he failed to pull over for an inspector trying to stop him for a missing mud flap, according to the Ohio Highway Patrol case report and footage released by the agency.
When Rose kept driving, the inspector called for backup. Then, video released by authorities shows police pursuing Rose, who does eventually pull over but does not exit the truck.
Rose told CNN that he first called his mother from the truck. “She told me if I know I didn’t do anything wrong, to pull over, so that’s what I did,” he said. Looking in his rearview mirror, he saw responding police officers “had guns pointed at me, so I didn’t feel safe at all.”
He then called 911 to ask what he should do. “I was just trying to figure out if they could help me,” he said. “I was scared, i didn’t understand why they had guns pointed at me, I didn’t know the reason for them pulling me over at the time.”
Rose, still on the phone with 911, said he drove back on the highway, continuing what became a three-county pursuit.
Rose said the 911 operator instructed him to follow officers’ directions, so he ultimately pulled over and exited the truck with his hands up. He said that while a state trooper instructed him to walk toward him, a police officer from the Circleview Police Department told him to “stay on the ground or you’ll get bit” – conflicting instructions that left him unsure what to do.
“I just stopped in the middle, because I didn’t know what was gonna happen,” he said. “I was afraid that something would happen, and it did happen.”
Despite repeated warnings from a state trooper to not release the K-9, former officer Ryan Speakman turned the dog on Rose. It’s not clear if Speakman heard the trooper’s warnings.
Video shows that at the moment of the dog attack, Rose was on his knees.
Speakman was fired by the Circleville Police Department after a review of the incident.
“When the dog was biting me I just was terrified,” Rose said. “I thought I was going to lose my life. I was in pain. I really couldn’t see what the other officers was doing because the dog was biting me and I was just in fear of my life. And I just was screaming in pain, and I just didn’t want to die. Like, I didn’t want to die in the hands of police.”
Ben Crump, a prominent civil rights attorney who has previously represented Randy Cox, Ajike Owens, and the family of George Floyd, is representing Rose.
Describing the video showing the dog attack Rose, Crump said, “He’s trying to do whatever he can do to survive the stop. That’s what Black people want to do when they interact with police, just survive.”
“He’s putting his hands up, he’s trying to do everything they said, he’s trying to do everything they tell him to do, putting your hands up is the universal sign of surrender, but yet that officer still orders the dog to attack him.”
Crump and Nana Watson, president of the Columbus branch of the NAACP, both reflected on the optics of a dog being unleashed on a Black man.
“This harkens back to the 1960s when unarmed Black people, who are not a threat at all, to the police, are still attacked by police dogs,” said Crump. “It’s disturbing that this officer did that in light of all the cameras that he knew was out there.”
A police review board is investigating the incident. Its findings are expected to be released next week, the mayor and police chief said.
‘What if I’m next?’
For Rose’s mother Carla Jones, his frantic phone call immediately summoned images of other Black people who have been the victims of police violence.
“I was nervous out of my mind,” she told CNN. “I was scared that he was gonna be killed.”
“I thought about Tyre Nichols,” she said, referencing the Black driver who died after being beaten by Memphis police in January. Crump is also representing Nichols’ family.
“I was like, I don’t wanna lose my son,” Jones said. “I thought about that incident. What if I’m next?”
Crump also pointed out the parallels between Rose’s case and Nichols’. Rose is originally from Memphis, he said.
“It’s the fear of most Black people in America, that when the police pull them over, that it’s possible that they could be the next hashtag,” said the attorney. “And the fact that they live in Memphis, Tennessee, where Tyre Nichols, an unarmed black motorist was completely compliant, but yet he got brutalized to the point of where he lost his life.”
Crump said the Rose family is exploring legal remedies, including suing the Circleville Police Department.
The Circleville PD fired Speakman 22 days after the July 4 incident, following a Use of Force Review Board investigation.
Chief Shawn Baer said in a statement that Speakman’s actions “did not meet the standards and expectations we hold for our police officers.”
In the same statement, the department said it’s “policy for the use of canines was followed in the apprehension and arrest.”
Rose was treated for dog bites at a hospital and didn’t need stitches, he told CNN. He’s seeing a psychologist to help process that day.
He has been charged with failure to comply, a felony. The family hopes the charge will be dropped. Rose was also terminated by Western Express, the trucking company, on the day of his arrest, according to Crump.
“Jadarrius Rose represents many young Black men in America,” the lawyer said. “Trying to do the right thing, trying to be gainfully employed, trying to just mind his business, but yet, why would they pull those many guns on him over a missing mud flap?”
Jones said that above all else, she is “grateful” that her son survived.
“So thankful that my son is still living because he could have went another way – he could have been another tale,” she said.
“So I’m thankful and I’m just grateful to God, that God kept him.”
The-CNN-Wire™ & © 2023 Cable News Network, Inc., a Time Warner Company. All rights reserved.