Officer charged in one K-9 attack now faces charges in second case

May 12, 2021, 3:29 PM | Updated: Dec 30, 2022, 11:21 am
K-9 attack...
FILE: Jeffery Ryans is seen in police body camera footage recorded Friday, April 24, 2020. Ryans was bitten by a police K-9 after he was already kneeling with his hands in the air. The officer involved in that case now faces charges both for that incident and another involving a suspect suffering a bite. (Photo credit: Salt Lake City Police Department)
(Photo credit: Salt Lake City Police Department)

SALT LAKE CITY — A K-9 officer charged in connection with an attack on a Black man who had his hands up now faces charges in a second case involving an unarmed woman. 

First K-9 attack involved Black man with hands up

Nickolas Pearce, 39, of Herriman, was charged with aggravated assault in September 2020, for an incident involving his K-9, Tuco, while responding to a domestic violence call.

Officers responded to a home near 765 W. Justin Kay Court. According to charging documents, the officers encountered Jeffery Ryans, 36, in the backyard, and ordered him to put his hands in the air, which he did. 

Related: Salt Lake City Police Department suspends K-9 officer policy

The charges allege that in spite of Ryans’ compliance, Pearce kicked him in the leg, which prompted Ryans to drop to his knees. 

While Ryans was on his knees with his hands in the air, Pearce ordered K-9 Tuco to engage Ryans,” the charging documents state.

According to those charging documents, Ryans required surgery for his wounds and will always bear a scar. 

Second case involved stolen vehicle, documents say

This week, the Salt Lake County District Attorney’s Office filed amended charges naming Pearce, essentially adding a second biting incident to the accusations against him. 

In that case, police pulled over a possible stolen SUV in November 2019, near 600 West and 100 South in Salt Lake City. According to the updated charging documents, the woman behind the wheel complied with commands to toss the keys out and hold her hands out of the window. But she stayed in the vehicle when police ordered her to get out. 

“(She) was not making any threats or aggressive moves toward the officers and did not do so during the entirety of the arrest. Several other officers arrived on the scene and surrounded the vehicle with weapons drawn,” the charges continued. 

Related: DA files charges against Salt Lake City PD K-9 officer

The charging documents showed she was unarmed. Next, the charges say Pearce allegedly held his K-9 Tuco up in order to reach the woman’s arms, ordering the dog to “hit” or bite her arm.

The charging documents say Nellieana Langi, 26, who later pleaded “guilty and mentally ill” to theft, required stitches and will also continue to bear a scar.

Next steps

Pearce and the other members of the Salt Lake City Police Department (SLCPD) K-9 unit, five officers in all, remain on paid administrative leave. Both the SLCPD and the Salt Lake County District Attorney’s Office continue to investigate use of force within the K-9 unit. 

Pearce is scheduled for a preliminary hearing on both charges in June. 


We want to hear from you.

Have a story idea or tip? Send it to the KSL NewsRadio team here.

Today’s Top Stories

All News

FILE - A TV screen shows an image of North Korean leader Kim Jong Un during a news program at the S...
Brad Lendon and Yoonjung Seo, CNN

North Korea claims to have tested a nuclear-capable underwater drone

(CNN) — North Korea on Friday claimed it had tested an underwater drone capable of carrying a nuclear warhead that could create a “radioactive tsunami” — however analysts urged skepticism. A report from the state-run Korean Central News Agency (KCNA) said the drone, called the “Unmanned Underwater Nuclear Attack Craft ‘Haeil,'” was tested from March 21 to […]
7 hours ago
An off-duty pilot stepped in to help after a Southwest pilot became ill during a flight, the airlin...
Pete Muntean, CNN

Off-duty pilot on Southwest flight steps in to help after pilot suffers in-flight medical emergency

 (CNN) — An off-duty pilot who was a passenger on a Southwest Airlines flight stepped in to help the flight crew after one of the on-duty pilots had a medical emergency mid-flight. The incident began not long after Flight 6013 to Columbus, Ohio, took off from Las Vegas Wednesday, Southwest Airlines said. One of the […]
7 hours ago
Rep John Curtis promises to investigate stolen COVID relief money...
Mark Jones

Report: Rep. Curtis named one of most effective members of Congress

A new report out by the University of Virginia and Vanderbilt University has Utah Rep. John Curtis listed as one of the most effective members of Congress.
1 day ago
A Woods Cross man, owner of USA Gymnastics World, was arrested Wednesday after police say they alle...
Lindsay Aerts & Devin Oldroyd

KSL EXCLUSIVE: “It’s been a punch to the gut,” Woods Cross mom of boy recorded on hidden device speaks out

A Woods Cross mother says "it's been a punch to the gut," being told her son is one of the children secretly recorded on a hidden device.
1 day ago
The Bureau of Land Management is investigating the shooting of two wild horses on the Onaqui Mounta...
Mark Jones

Reward offered for information on two wild horses shot earlier this month

The Bureau of Land Management says two wild horses were shot earlier this month on the Onaqui Mountain Herd Management area.
1 day ago
National Park Services at Zion National Park are working to repair road damage after rockfalls on Z...
Devin Oldroyd

Zion National Park crews responding to road damage after rockfalls

SPRINGDALE, Utah — National Park Services at Zion National Park are working to repair road damage after rockfalls on Zion Canyon Scenic Drive and Kolob Canyons Road. According to a press release, these rockfalls are not the only events this winter that led to damage on park roads. They are only the most recent of […]
1 day ago

Sponsored Articles

Cheerful young woman writing an assignment while sitting at desk between two classmates during clas...
BYU EMBA at the Marriott School of Business

Hear it Firsthand: 6 Students Share Their Executive MBA Experience at BYU’s Marriott School of Business

The Executive MBA program at BYU offers great opportunities. Hear experiences straight from students enrolled in the program.
Skier being towed by a rider on a horse. Skijoring....
Bear Lake Convention and Visitors Bureau

Looking for a new winter activity? Try skijoring in Bear Lake

Skijoring is when someone on skis is pulled by a horse, dog, animal, or motor vehicle. The driver leads the skiers through an obstacle course over jumps, hoops, and gates.
Banner with Cervical Cancer Awareness Realistic Ribbon...
Intermountain Health

Five common causes of Cervical Cancer – and what you can do to lower your risk

January is National Cervical Cancer Awareness month and cancer experts at Intermountain Health are working to educate women about cervical cancer.
Kid holding a cisco fish at winterfest...
Bear Lake Convention and Visitors Bureau

Get ready for fun at the 2023 Bear Lake Monster Winterfest

The Bear Lake Monster Winterfest is an annual weekend event jam-packed full of fun activities the whole family can enjoy.
happy friends with sparklers at christmas dinner...

15 easy Christmas dinner ideas

We’ve scoured the web for you and narrowed down a few of our favorite Christmas dinner ideas to make your planning easy.
Spicy Homemade Loaded Taters Tots...

5 Game Day Snacks for the Whole Family (with recipes!)

Try these game day snacks to make watching football at home with your family feel like a special occasion. 
Officer charged in one K-9 attack now faces charges in second case