Man mistakenly attacked by Dayton police K-9; lawyer seeks answers

Credit: DaytonDailyNews

Caption
Man mistakenly attacked by Dayton police K-9; lawyer seeks answers

Credit: DaytonDailyNews

A man standing near a Dayton police car as it’s parked is attacked by a K-9 that escapes the cruiser.

The lawyer representing the man said he’s still trying to get answers about what happened back in April.

The police K-9 and his handler were responding to a report of a potentially dangerous animal in a Dayton neighborhood.

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News Center 7’s Mike Campbell said Wednesday that there are things to know about the video released of the incident. One is that the victim was minding his own business when he was attacked. Second, the officer had just pulled into a business to begin investigating the dangerous animal call when he spotted two men outside.

The officer barely emerges from the cruiser when the K-9, Jake, hops out and charges toward the victim. He bites the man and knocks him to the ground in a violent whirlwind. The man tries to protect himself and get away as the officer is forced to run in and drag the dog away.

“It looks like whatever verbal commands he gave the dog, the dog wasn’t listening,” said attorney Michael Wright.

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Wright said he first sent requests to the police department for information just six days after the April attack, but he claims he was repeatedly told there was no police report or other information available.

His client suffered bite wounds and bruising. Wright claims his client needed shoulder surgery, so Wright went to the city law department.

Several days later, Wright said he received internal reports the officer wrote to his sergeant and an investigative report the sergeant sent to a Dayton police major.

The report reads the officer believed the K-9 mistook the victim's “baggy, gray sweatshirt as the same one the department utilizes in K-9 maintenance training during apprehension work.”

Montgomery County Auditor Karl Keith presents Dayton Police Department K-9 Jake with his 2018 dog license Jan. 12, 2018. CHRIS STEWART / STAFF
Caption
Montgomery County Auditor Karl Keith presents Dayton Police Department K-9 Jake with his 2018 dog license Jan. 12, 2018. CHRIS STEWART / STAFF

“That’s a pretty weak explanation, from my standpoint,” Wright said.

Wright said the attack was so quick, he wonders whether the dog was secured properly.

Campbell showed the video to John Hensley and his 10-year-old daughter. The attack surprised them, too.

“That was surprising he just ran out, like,” Cheyanne Hensley said.

“Yeah, they’re supposed to be behind, in the little cage,” John Hensley said.

The officer’s report to his superior indicated that K-9 Jake was able to exit the cruiser through the sliding cage door.

A police supervisor wrote that he believed the handler was “exonerated of any wrongdoing in this incident and I recommend no disciplinary action be taken as a result of this investigation.”

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Wright said the video shows the dog jumped out the front door of the cruiser, and that he wonders whether the dog needs retraining.

The attorney knows what he wants the city to do for his client.

“He needs to be compensated for his medical bills. He needs to be compensated for pain and suffering and the trauma as a result of this dog attack,” Wright said.

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A police spokesperson said late Wednesday afternoon that they are still reviewing the incident. As for the information release, it’s possible the internal reports weren’t finalized and approved for release when Wright made his initial requests.

Wright said he is hopeful of successful negotiations with the city on behalf of the victim so that no legal action will be necessary.

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