Police in Coon Rapids, Minnesota, released a police dog on an elderly grandmother on Feb. 5. A police dash cam video (below) of part of the incident was recently aired.
According to police, officers were responding to a call about a suspicious person, but when they arrived, did not get a response from the senior, who was inside a shed with a flashlight.
"[The officer] announced his presence and the person, who was carrying a flashlight, turned the flashlight off," Coon Rapids Police Chief Brad Wise told KMSP. "To him, he interpreted that as the person in the shed reacted to my presence negatively, which enhanced the officer's suspicion."
Police reports asserted the officers asked the elderly Hmong woman, who does not speak English, to come out of a shed for 10 minutes. After that, they sent in the K-9.
According to Photography Is Not A Crime, KMSP edited the police video for broadcast, but the news site says it is working to obtain the entire video.
Wise explained why his police department released the video:
Social media sort of took on a life of its own. A grandmother got bitten morphed into police dogs -- multiple police dogs -- mauled her, tore her clothes off, we drug her across the yard, all sorts of horrible things that never happened. It's important that the video get out there... and put these rumors to rest.
KMSP aired video of police leading the senior to a squad car after she was bitten, and when she was in the police car.
When the woman is asked her name in the police car, she replies, "I don't know."
KMSP identified the woman as 81 years old and 82 years old, while WCCO said she was 81 years old.
"I can only imagine what she's thinking, 'How did this happen?' I'm sure is in her mind," Wise stated. "[The officers] knew this was something other than a burglary as soon as they saw her."
Wise also laid out a case for the officers' actions:
When you imagine yourself being a police officer in the backyard and you're deciphering the burglar call, the prowler, the banging in the garage, the flashlight goes out in the shed, all these pieces start coming together in your mind and it's a pretty compelling case that you have cornered a burglar in a shed.
Wise said his department will be looking for ways to better communicate with Hmong people in the area.
"We don't like that we bit a grandmother," Wise said. "I don't like that. We try and avoid those sorts of things."
KMSP notes that it tried to contact the victim, but was told by her family to speak to their lawyer, who did not return calls for comment.
WCCO reported in February that the grandmother's family posted pictures of her injuries on Facebook, which caused concern among people in the local Hmong community.