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Salisbury police officer involved in alleged K9 training incident resigns

The department said they didn't ask for Officer Hampton's resignation, nor did they try to incentivize it.

SALISBURY, N.C. — The Salisbury Police officer who was involved in an alleged training incident with one of their K9s has announced his resignation, effective immediately, the Salisbury Police Department reports.

Police have identified the K9 officer who was involved in the "inappropriate discipline of Zuul" as Officer James Hampton. 

More than 75,000 people had signed a petition to have the badge taken away from Hampton after the now-viral video surfaced. 

The petition read that: "there is absolutely no context needed for anyone to clearly see the abuse this dog is being forced to take at the hands of the K9's partner."

RELATED: Petition to have Salisbury K9 officer's badge taken away reaches 75,000 signatures

On Wednesday, the police department announced that the "extensive investigation" by a third-party agency, US ISS Agency, has concluded.

The police department said its review of the incident determined that Officer Hampton "had acted in a manner entirely inconsistent with his K-9 training and had violated Police Department policy."

As a result, he was recommended for termination, police report. 

"The Police Department followed its disciplinary process, which requires that an employee subject to termination be afforded a due process hearing," a statement read. "Following that hearing, and prior to the Police Department formalizing any disciplinary action, Officer Hampton tendered his resignation, effective immediately." 

RELATED: 'Our community watched in horror' | Salisbury Mayor Pro Tem seeks answers about K-9 Zuul

Police said they did not incentivize or otherwise request Officer Hampton’s resignation, which he tendered as a matter of right.

"While we understand the calls for the officer’s immediate termination, city employees are afforded due process which ensures fairness for everyone involved and which can take time," the statement read. 

The Salisbury Police Department said they will continue to review and make the necessary changes to their K-9 training operations, policies and procedures that align with industry best practices.

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