CANTON -- It could have been a routine traffic stop for an Ohio State Highway Patrol trooper and three Canton police officers. Instead the driver, Ronald Wagner, 45, of Navarre, now needs surgery on his arm after being bitten and bloodied by a Canton police dog that was unleashed on him for refusing to exit his car.
Police body camera video of the incident is tough to watch.
Canton police say officers pulled over Wagner's car last Sunday for suspicious or unauthorized license plates. Officers can be heard saying that the plate was attached to a driver with a concealed carry permit.
Wagner says he doesn't have a CCW, and refuses to give officers his name, address, or any other personal information, citing his Fifth Amendment right to remain silent.
However officers disagree, telling him he is obligated by law to give his information, or it is an arrestable crime.
"I understand he [the requesting officer] has a legal reason, but he does not have a lawful reason. I'm just a private man," Wagner tells an officer.
Wagner remains calm, but stubbornly refuses to comply with orders to get out of his car. After about 20 minutes, officers lose their patience, and summon a police dog. The police K-9 handler gives Wagner one last chance by telling him exactly what is about to happen.
"We're going to break that window. I'm going to send this 100 pound dog and drag you both onto the ground. You are going to be bit by this canine," the officer shouts at Wagner.
Officers then smashed the car windows with their batons, and unleashed the police dog, that bit Wagner while he screamed.
His family calls the police actions, excessive force.
"Flesh. Everything just hanging out. It was vicious," said Wagner's mother, Elsie Wagner, describing her son's arm injury.
"That was not just a dog bite," said his father, Ronald Wagner, Sr.
The Wagners say police did not do enough to coax, or use other methods to get their son out of the car. They say their son will need a second surgery on his arm on Thursday, and may even have permanent nerve damage.
Police charged Wagner with Display/Expired Plates, No Seatbelt, Obstructing Official Business, Resisting Arrest, Unauthorized Plates and Driving without a Valid License.
The Canton Police Department Internal Affairs Unit is investigating the incident to determine if any policies were violated.