Terrifying Police Dog Attack Unfolds In Video
As a police dog in Minnesota searched for a burglary suspect, it attacked an innocent woman taking out her garbage. To make things worse, the dog refused to let go, and the woman, Desiree Collins, 52, suffered bite wounds that resulted in hospitalization.
During the attack, the dog yanked Collins out of her shoes, pulled her to the ground and kept biting her arm, The New York Post reports. She is now suing the St. Paul Police Department as a result.
The horrifying attack happened behind a dumpster and was recorded by an officer’s body cam video. It shows a terrified Collins screaming in pain and asking for help.
Officers can be heard commenting, with one saying “Oh, there’s a lady,” and another telling Collins:
“You were in the wrong place at the wrong time.”
Gabe, the K-9 in question, ignored more than 10 commands that were given by his handler, officer Thaddeus Schmidt, and another officer, according to the lawsuit filed earlier this week in a federal court.
The dog was so determined that he even ignored an electronic shock collar before he was finally pried away from the woman, the lawsuit also reported.
“What you have here is a completely innocent person taking out their garbage … and a K-9 simply wasn’t controlled,” said Andrew Noel, an attorney for Collins. “It should never have happened.”
Noel and attorney Bob Bennett released police bodycam footage Thursday that shows the vicious attack, which occurred on September 23, according to the StarTribune. In the footage, Gabe can be seen walking on a 20-foot leash well ahead of Schmidt. Disappearing behind a dumpster, the dog attacks Collins before the three officers on the scene can even see what’s going on. Collins falls, screaming in pain, with the dog resolutely hanging on.
Police Chief Todd Axtell said Thursday that:
“What happened to Mrs. Collins was a terrible accident that should not have occurred. I am sorry it happened and that she was injured. As a department, we wish we could go back and do things differently. Unfortunately, we can’t.”
But the chief also said the department could work to improve the situation.
“What we can do is apologize and take responsibility … and learn from the incident so we can continue to work to prevent it from happening to anyone else.”
Schmidt was suspended for one day for keeping the K-9 on a long leash that allowed the dog to run out of sight, The Washington Post reports.
This isn’t the first time the department has faced a court date due to a K-9 attack.
St. Paul police agreed to a $2 million settlement last March with someone kicked by police and bitten by a police dog in June 2016. And in March 2016, the city shelled out $200,000 to a woman bitten on the arm by a K-9 after the dog charged her while she was in her own yard.
Collins, whose left hand was amputated after sustaining severe burns when she was a child, has been having a difficult time with the injuries, the lawsuit alleges. The police dog bit her on the leg before attacking her right arm, inflicting several wounds. And Gabe injured her “good” arm, making it difficult for Collins to change her bandages.
The suit also alleges her Fourth Amendment rights were obstructed during the attack because the officer “should have been aware of this and also the specific danger to innocent people caused by the use of the long lead since he had his K-9 bite another innocent person in August 2016 for which he received supervisory counseling.”
Police said Schmidt and Gabe received an additional month of training after the incident. Both are still with the department.
Obviously, Schmidt meant no harm by putting his best friend on such a long leash, but harm occurred nevertheless. What if a child had been taking out the trash instead of Collins? Then what? What if someone’s dog or cat had been out there? Would Gabe lunge at them too? This was terrible decision making on this officer’s part, and this is worrisome because making quick decisions is part of an officer’s job. And it’s no surprise that this poor woman is suing, after what happened to her.
The video below is shocking and shows she was attacked for a terrifying 30 seconds.
The images in this video are harrowing, so watch with caution.
Featured image by Pioneer Press via YouTube video.