Worry not, our lame county attorney will likely plea it down to nothing.

January trial scheduled in Carlton County K9 assault case10389556_623313691111107_103052862195310617_n
By Tom Olsen on Oct 21, 2015 at 5:33 p.m.

CARLTON — A  January trial date has been scheduled for a Ramsey County sheriff’s deputy accused of assaulting his K9 partner at a training event in Carlton County, but attorneys hinted Wednesday that a plea agreement could be in the works.

Brett Arthur Berry, 48, appeared briefly in State District Court for a pretrial conference. Berry’s defense attorney, Kevin Short, said negotiations are ongoing with county prosecutors and requested the trial date.

“We hope that it’s not necessary to try this case,” Short added.

Judge Leslie Beiers scheduled a two-day trial to begin on Jan. 26, with a settlement conference set for Jan. 20.

Berry faces misdemeanor counts of assaulting a public safety dog and animal cruelty. He pleaded not guilty to the charges in August.

The deputy was attending a training and certification event at Black Bear Casino Resort in June when he was captured on video “yelling at his dog and aggressively scolding” his partner, according to the criminal complaint.

Surveillance video then showed him “grabbing (the dog) by the collar and slamming it to the ground on its back” and “beating it repeatedly on or about the shoulder or ribs area,” the charges said.

Berry was sent home from the training and placed on paid administrative leave. The K9, Boone, was taken from his custody, and the Ramsey County Sheriff’s Office said a veterinarian’s examination did not reveal any injuries.

At least a half-dozen protesters were in the courtroom for Wednesday’s hearing and also gathered outside the courthouse. The case has generated a flurry of attention online, with video of the incident being widely shared on social media.

Mary Nelson, a volunteer for Friends of Animals in Cloquet, said she was disappointed that the case will linger on for several more months, but acknowledged that Berry has a right to challenge the allegations.

“I’m frustrated that they’re trying to drag this out,” she said. “I’d rather see him plead guilty and see him say sorry.”

Berry appeared at Wednesday’s hearing wearing a sling on his right arm. The deputy and his attorney left the courthouse without offering further comment.

Sgt. John Eastham, a spokesman for the Ramsey County Sheriff’s Office, told the News Tribune that Berry remains on duty and is assigned to the detention unit.

“It’s impossible for us to do anything else and remain observant of the law until the criminal case is complete,” Eastham said Wednesday.

Berry, of Arden Hills, Minn., has worked for the sheriff’s office since 1996.

Leave a Reply