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You know who *else* had dogs? VICE blows the lid off ‘the violent, racist history of K-9 units’

All right, kids. It’s time to add a new entry to your copy of “The Big Book of Things You Didn’t Know Were Racist but Are Totally Racist Now.”

Huge thanks to Vice for bringing this one to our attention:

Police Dogs Were Invented by Slavers. Now They’re Used by Cops.

— VICE News (@VICENews) September 7, 2022

Police dogs are racist, ackshually. This is top-tier journalism, you guys.

They are just putting out bangers today. One after another.

— Stephen L. Miller (@redsteeze) September 7, 2022

Gold, Jerry. Gold!

Let’s go:

For more than 500 years, dogs have been used by the powerful as a tool to oppress minorities. We spoke to experts about how this age-old institution has evolved, and how its managed to persist into the present despite its depraved and racist origins.

— VICE News (@VICENews) September 7, 2022

When The Experts™ get involved, you know you’re in for a real treat.

In the 16th century, bloodhounds were used by European counties to intimidate and attack slaves and native populations how lived in the newly discovered Carribean and the Americas.

— VICE News (@VICENews) September 7, 2022

Training of dogs for such barbaric uses became a major point of criticism for European abolitionists in the 18th and 19th century. According to critics, the use of the bloodhound were among the most brutal atrocities that slavery wrought in the new world.

— VICE News (@VICENews) September 7, 2022

But the newly-founded United States saw opportunity in their continued use. Seeing the power that using these dogs afforded European nations, it adopted the concept wholesale to ensure that its slave population lived in fear.

— VICE News (@VICENews) September 7, 2022

These dogs became a popular commodity for slave owners well into the 1860s when slavery ended and were commonly advertised in newspapers, alongside job listings and home appliances.

— VICE News (@VICENews) September 7, 2022

When slavery eventually ended in the mid-1800s, the market didn’t dry up; it simply adapted. Dogs breeders and sellers now sold their dogs to prisons and sheriffs, who were happy to adopt the bloodhounds. They often used Black men as bait in their training.

— VICE News (@VICENews) September 7, 2022

They quickly became a tool for smaller law enforcement institutions, mostly to further their racist goals. It wasn’t until Baltimore and St. Louis began an official K-9 unit in the 1950s, a few years after WW2, that police dogs came to the bigger cities.

— VICE News (@VICENews) September 7, 2022

And it was in the 1950s that the German shepherd emerged as the K-9 of choice. Coincidence? Vice thinks not:

By this time, the German shepherd was the most popular kind of police dog, and is still most commonly associated with K-9s today. The breed was used against those held captive in concentration camps during World War II.

Hitler often referred to the German shepherd as the canine equivalent to the Aryan race. While experts don’t know how much Germany’s use of the dog affected U.S. police departments’ decision to use them, there was a similar affinity for this particular breed, according to Parry.

“If you read police magazines and development of the canine unit, they’ll even say the German shepherd was selected because to them it looked like a police officer,” Parry said. “The shape of its face, the color, the color pattern that its fur had, the sleek look that it held, the way it ran, its aggression. It was considered a perfect specimen for police work.”

“You know who else liked German shepherds? HITLER.”

The 1960s was the first time there was considerable pushback against the brutality of K-9 dogs. As the civil rights movement took off in the south, police use of K-9s was brutal. Luckily, this brutality was exposed on film and news coverage.

— VICE News (@VICENews) September 7, 2022

Horrific images of Black Americans being attacked by dogs fighting for fair and equal treatment in the south was critical for the ongoing fight for civil rights, and a turning point in the wider perception of the racist Jim Crow-era policies of the time.

— VICE News (@VICENews) September 7, 2022

While the general population were shocked by the treatment of Black folks, the actual use of the K-9 dog as a law enforcement tool never faced the same kind of scrutiny.

— VICE News (@VICENews) September 7, 2022

Even as law enforcement continued to use dogs against suspects, with Black people being bitten at disproportionate rates, K-9s reputation as a cute and cuddly, trusty sidekick persisted well into the modern era of policing.

— VICE News (@VICENews) September 7, 2022

Someone should probably tell Black German shepherd owners that they’re self-loathing and helping to perpetuate racism.

Shoes were once worn by slaveowners. Now, they’re worn by cops.

— Brittany Hughes (@RealBrittHughes) September 7, 2022

Guess Black people can’t wear shoes anymore, either. And they can forget about eating donuts.

Soooo… dogs were invented in 1619 or some such st.

— 𝐊𝐂 𝐎’𝐃𝐞𝐚 𝐏𝐫𝐨𝐠𝐫𝐚𝐦 (@KCOnTheRadio) September 8, 2022

The 1619-ification of history continues apace.

— Varad Mehta (@varadmehta) September 8, 2022

What a time to be alive.

did… did a cat write this

— Cloud Spratlas (@Spratlinger) September 7, 2022

The author of this article

— hoffmanni (@C_hoffmanni) September 8, 2022


I share a planet with mouth-breathing imbeciles who write drivel like this unironically.

— 𝐆𝐫𝐞𝐠 🏳️‍🌈 (@CasuallyGreg) September 7, 2022

Stick head directly in garbage disposal.

— Noam Blum (@neontaster) September 8, 2022


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