German shepherds are sometimes used as police canines. Inventory photograph by Catherine Falls Business/Getty Pictures
A preferred police canine coaching facility that shares a reputation with Adolf Hitler’s one-time hideout has no plans to rebrand, regardless of renewed criticism.
Adlerhorst Worldwide in Riverside, California, is among the largest Okay-9 coaching amenities within the nation, supplying canines for greater than 300 police companies.
Christy Lopez, a regulation professor who investigated police departments as former deputy chief of the U.S. Division of Justice Civil Rights Division, mentioned the identify Adlerhorst is “someplace between creepy and scary and an absolute abomination.”
“In the event you’re going to name your police Okay-9 firm the identical identify as Hitler’s bunker advanced, you ought to be referred to as to account for that,” Lopez mentioned.
Adlerhorst, which implies “Eagle’s Nest” in German, was a World Warfare II bunker advanced constructed to cover Hitler within the Bavarian Alps. It served because the Nazi chief’s command put up in December 1944 and January 1945 throughout the Battle of the Bulge and was later bombed by Allied forces.
Adlerhorst Worldwide founder and pioneering police Okay-9 coach David Reaver has been sued dozens of occasions over accidents brought on by canines that got here from his facility. The identify’s Nazi affiliation has been introduced up in courtroom relationship again to at the very least the Nineties. In a 2016 police use of drive case the place Reaver was tapped as an knowledgeable witness, courtroom paperwork present defendants particularly requested the decide “preclude any and all testimony or proof involving any analogies, comparisons, or references to Hitler, Nazis, World Warfare II bunker complexes, in relation to Adlerhorst Worldwide, Inc. or protection knowledgeable David Reaver.”
Reaver has denied allegations of racism up to now, saying the identify comes from a German kennel the place he purchased a canine within the Nineteen Sixties and that he was unaware of the Hitler hyperlink on the time. He launched Adlerhorst in 1976.
His son Michael Reaver, who took over the enterprise final 12 months, declined a VICE World Information request for remark Wednesday.
The enterprise buys sporting canines from Europe, and police departments can both prepare at Adlerhorst or purchase the canines and do their very own coaching.
Police canines have been broadly used as a instrument of anti-Black oppression in the US, to chase down slaves and assault civil rights protesters. Latest investigations present Black males are nonetheless disproportionately bitten by police Okay-9s.
Canine have been utilized by either side in World Warfare II. The Nazis employed guard canines at focus camps and demise camps that mauled and killed some prisoners.
Los Angeles civil rights lawyer DeWitt Lacy, who has represented greater than a dozen individuals bitten by police Okay-9s, mentioned the Adlerhorst identify and its acceptance amongst purchasers provides some perception into the psyche of regulation enforcement.
“When you have some wherewithal of world historical past, you perceive the Nazi hyperlink in there. And naturally that’s troubling—particularly for a civil rights legal professional, a Black man. It ought to be troubling for any American,” Lacy mentioned.
“Can we simply disregard blatant and outright symbols like we see with Adlerhorst? Whether or not or not they’re coaching their canines to be Nazis—I don’t know that you are able to do that—the truth that you selected that identify speaks volumes.”
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