Society

California Police Sicced Dog on Innocent Man, Bit 56 Times

| by Sarah Fruchtnicht
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A California man has filed suit claiming that police sicced a dog on him while he was walking home from work — resulting in 56 bites.

Handyman Daniel Rodriguez said he was mauled as he was walking home from a motel where he works. Now he is suing police officer, Roger Canady, Contra Costa County, the cities Oakley and Pittsburg and their police departments in federal court, according to a report from Courthouse News Service.

Thinking Rodriguez was a robbery suspect, Canady allegedly pulled up in his cruiser and ordered him to ground. In the claim, Rodriguez said he asked why, and Canady did not respond. Instead, he took his canine out of the car.

"Rodriguez, at this point, got on his knees and raised his hands up over his head," the claim states. "Officer Canady had his gun out and was shouting and screaming at him. While Rodriguez had his arms in the air Officer Canady has his pistol drawn and aimed at Rodriguez and ordered his service dog to circle Rodriguez.. While Rodriguez was facing Officer Canady and his gun, the police dog was ordered to attack Rodriguez. The service dog then attacked Rodriguez from behind.”

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The suit notes that Rodriguez was bitten on the back, arms, legs and face while police aimed guns at him and warned him to stay on the ground.

"After some time, a police officer pulled the dog off Rodriguez and put Rodriguez in handcuffs,” the claim states. “Multiple units were now on scene, and the robbery victim from the liquor store was brought in to make an identification of the suspect. Upon arrival, the liquor storeowner said, 'You have the wrong guy.' However, the officers continued to keep Rodriguez in handcuffs and on the ground.”

As noted by Reason.com, Rodriguez said police did not leave to pursue the real suspect. He claims they continued to illegally detain him, taunted him and called him insulting names.

He said witnesses told police it was unfair to let him be attacked while he was complying with the officer’s requests. Officers told them to “shut up” and go home, the complaint said.

When Rodriguez was finally let go, his family called an ambulance. He was transported to an emergency room "where he was treated for dog bites and exhibited approximately 56 puncture wounds on his back, neck arms and biceps.”

The suit seeks punitive damages for excessive force, negligence, assault and battery and intentional infliction of emotional distress. Rodriguez wants $25,000 for each California civil code violation.

Sources: Reason.com, Courthouse News Service