By Bill Carey
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HENNEPIN COUNTY, Minn. — A Minnesota police officer bitten by a K-9 at the start of a pursuit is suing a county sheriff’s deputy for excessive force.
The lawsuit filed by Champlin police officer Daniel Irish alleges that he was attacked after Hennepin County deputy Keith McNamara wrongly deployed his K-9 and then failed to control him, WCCO reported.
Irish alleges McNamara deployed the K-9 off-leash without warning either the suspect or fellow officers, knowing that the dog would track and bite the first person he saw, KARE11 reported. That person, the lawsuit maintains, was Irish, who stated he encountered the K-9 as soon as he left his vehicle.
“I opened my squad door and attempted to give the suspect commands and all of a sudden the Hennepin County K-9 grabbed ahold of my left arm and started to bite,” Irish said.
Irish is seeking damages for “great pain and mental suffering” after he was repeatedly bitten by the K-9 while attempting to apprehend a suspect on March 22, 2022.
The Hennepin County K-9 policy outlines guidelines for issuing warning announcements before deploying the dogs and recommends the supervisor be notified of the decision otherwise.
The lawsuit claims McNamara had plenty of time to give the suspect a K-9 warning and warn other officers that a K-9 was being deployed.
“I did not give K-9 warnings as we got closer to the suspect due to it being very loud with sirens,” McNamara said. “I tried to air via radio that the K-9 was off-leash but I could not get on the air due to high volume of air traffic for this incident.”
At a hospital, Irish was given a tetanus shot and prescribed Augmentin, an antibiotic used to prevent infection. Irish reported having pain, difficulty sleeping, redness and irritation around his dog bite wounds and was diagnosed with cellulitis, a deep skin infection, and prescribed another antibiotic.
His condition continued to worsen, and he reported having sharp abdominal pain, cramping, nausea and diarrhea. A CT scan of his abdomen revealed “extensive colitis.” His doctor noted Irritable Bowel Syndrome after his infection was the likely cause.
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