$525,000.00 Settlement in Police K-9 Excessive Force & False Arrest Case

Basic Facts

Plaintiff, due to a bad reaction from the combination of pain medication, cold medicine, and cough medicine, was in an altered state. He was in his truck, with the engine running, and would not get out. His family called 911 for medical help, and a firetruck and EMTs arrived, but police officers were dispatched, too. The first officers on-scene claimed they were told by an EMT that Plaintiff had backed up his truck and almost struck one of the EMTs. Plaintiff's truck was blocked in, but the officers got tired of waiting (after about an hour), and Plaintiff would not turn the engine off and get out. They also claimed he had put the car in reverse a few times and that they were concerned he would try to drive off, but this was disputed. The officers decided my client needed to be "extracted" from the truck.

One officer "distracted" my client at the driver's side, while the K-9 officer went to the passenger's side of the truck, poised to deploy his K-9. Another officer opened the driver's door and the K-9 officer deployed his K-9 into the enclosed truck. Plaintiff was pulled from the truck, thrown to the ground, and subjected to strikes and kicks because he was "resisting" (i.e., defending himself). He was arrested and taken to the hospital in handcuffs.

Main injury: Plaintiff's underarm was ripped open, creating a deep wound. The sizable axilla wound later became infected, requiring additional treatment. He also sustained several puncture wounds and serious bruising, and was diagnosed with PTSD.

This was a classic case of "hurt a man, charge a man." The Plaintiff was charged with resisting/delaying/obstructing under Pen. Code section 148; the DA offered a full dismissal if he would promise not to sue (which is unethical), but the Plaintiff went to trial, and was resoundingly acquitted. We brought the civil rights case following his acquittal.

Past Special Damages: $12-938.71 - $25,313.59 (depending on whether an ER visit totaling $12,373.88, 6 wks after the incident, could have been linked to the force or not)

Residual Injuries: Scarring of the subcutaneous axillary tissues related to the infectious complications of the axillary dog bite, which lead to chronic irritation of the brachial plexus and branches, aggravated by any stretching or movement of the axillary tissues. PTSD. Some external scars.