A recent lawsuit against the Atlantic City Police Department has resulted in an out of court settlement. The claimant alleged that he was assaulted by the police and a K-9 unit as he was walking home from a casino. An internal affairs investigation of the officers found that the officers had not used excessive force and that the animal bite was warranted.
The man who was attacked alleged that he was stopped by the New Jersey officers and pushed up against a wall. An officer began to pat him down at which point the K-9 officer reportedly dragged the suspect to the ground. Another officer arrived on the scene and the officer performing the pat down claimed that the man had attacked the police dog. Both officers reportedly beat the claimant with a baton, and they also allowed the dog to bite him in what they claimed was an attempt to subdue him.
The man admitted to harming the animal, but said it was an act of self-defense. The man’s injuries were severe and some were permanent. A civil trial was scheduled to begin earlier this month. The parties involved arrived at a settlement in the amount of $462,500 before the trial began.
K-9 units can be a valuable component of a police force. Like any other weapon at a policeman’s disposal in New Jersey, they must be used responsibly. Failure to properly control the animal in dangerous situations can have dire consequences that may result in a dangerous animal bite. Police and K-9 officers are not above the law.