Paul police K9 attacks innocent woman, lawsuit says


An innocent woman taking out the garbage was attacked by a police dog hunting for burglary suspects - suffering bite wounds when the K-9 resisted officers' efforts to release its grip, according to a report.

Collins filed a lawsuit on Wednesday against Schmidt, who was walking the dog on a 20-foot leash - a violation which resulted in him being suspended from work for a day following the incident.

PAUL, MN- Desiree Collins was taking out the trash one Saturday morning, nothing seemed to warn her to what would happen next. The attack continued for almost 30 seconds as officers tried to pry the dog off, first with verbal commands and then by activating the dog's shock collar.

The eventually managed to pull her away from the dog, but not before she suffered bite injuries. The St. Paul officers issued 10 release commands to the dog, and one officer used an electric shock collar to get the dog to stop.

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Now she is suing the police department, claiming she wants to make sure this doesn't happen to other innocent people. In March 2016, the city paid out US$200,000 (NZ$292,000) to a woman bitten by a K-9 dog that charged her in her backyard and bit her on the arm.

The Pioneer Press reported that the St. Paul Police Department apologized to Collins while she was receiving treatment for her injuries.

The attack lasted about 30 seconds, according to the lawsuit. As a department, we wish we could go back and do things differently.

Collins' lawyer Andrew Noel said that the lawsuit is in part to prevent similar incidents from happening in the future.

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Beyond seeking financial damages, the lawsuit seeks an order mandating changes to St. Paul police policy and training "in the use of effective warnings" and "proper leash techniques" to control K-9s.

"You were at the wrong place at the wrong time", a cop also is heard saying.

According to the suit, multiple officers were were responding to a burglary call when when Schmidt and Gabe, a 5-year-old German Shepard, began searching for the suspects without any "definitive information" about the suspects' whereabouts and without any "visual target". "Unfortunately, we can't", he said.

Schmidt received two reprimands for preventable squad crashes in 1999, and a reprimand for not waiting with a vehicle that needed to be towed in 2002.

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In 2006, Schmidt was suspended for two days after crashing his personal auto while off duty.