Police Dog k-9 Police Brutality in California
Sadly, man's best friend can sometimes be man's worst enemy. This is the case when k-9 dogs are trained as weapons and used to terrorize vulnerable suspects. But abuse with k-9 police dogs can constitute excessive force under the law. When that happens we are dealing with police dog police brutality and California Police Brutality Lawyer Sarah Garvey might be able to help you bring a case in court.
Police Dogs and Excessive Force Law
Under excessive force law k-9 police dogs are generally considered "less lethal" weapons on the use of force continuum. In the 1994 case of Chew v. Gates, the Ninth Circuit decided that k-9 force constitutes "severe" force (though not necessarily deadly force). That means alleged police dog police brutality in California is evaluated under the Graham v. Connor balancing test instead of the more stringent Tennessee v. Garner "deadly force" test.
Under Graham v. Connor (1989) 490 U.S. 386, the court balances the nature and quality of the intrusion against the countervailing government interests at stake. If the judge thinks that a reasonable police officer under the circumstances would not have considered it necessary to use the police dog in the manner in which the dog was used, then you might have a case for k-9 police dog police brutality in California. In making its evaluation the court will take into consideration the particular facts at issue in your case, including the severity of the crime you were suspected of having committed, the immediacy of the threat posed by you and any attempts you might have made to resist arrest or flee from law enforcement.
Chew v. Gates Civil Rights Case
The civil rights case of Chew v. Gates involved a situation in which a man fled from police officers after a traffic stop and hid for two hours in a junkyard. At no point was he actively attacking or threatening the police or anyone else and the police had the junkyard surrounded with multiple officers, canines and even a helicopter. Even though the man tried to surrender when he realized the police were going to release a k-9, the handler did not call off the dog. The victim was severely bitten and almost had his arm severed by multiple dog bites.
The Ninth Circuit held: "Chew was trapped in the scrapyard for two uneventful hours before Volker bit and mauled him. There was time for deliberation and consultation with superiors. There was even time for the police to summon a helicopter to the scene, an airborne vehicle which apparently aided the dogs in their search...Under all of the circumstances, the question of the reasonableness of the decision to use the force involved, whether or not 'deadly,' to seize Chew must be submitted to a jury."
If you think you have been victimized by police dog police brutality in California, please give California Police Brutality Lawyer Sarah Garvey a call for a free consultation about your case.
_These law review articles provide information about the legal aspects of police dog police brutality in California:
- Throw a Dog A Suspect: When Using Police Dogs Becomes an Unreasonable Use of Force Under the Fourth Amendment (Lisa K. Sloman, Golden Gate Law Review)
- A Pack of Wild Dogs? Chew v. Gates and Police Canine Excessive Force (Mark Weintraub, Loyola of Los Angeles Law Review)
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