Police were sued in civil court for “Excessive Use of Force.” During an entry into a residential trailer, the family dog was shot and the resident of the trailer was struck in the forehead by an officer using a flashlight to defend himself.
Review of the Case:
A suspect was involved in multiple carjacking incidents over a two-day period and, in all incidents, attempted to strike the officers involved in the attempted apprehensions.
During the investigation, numerous leads were followed and other areas the suspect was known to frequent were checked. The name of one individual continued to surface during the investigation. It was later determined he might be staying at a local trailer park, and a search warrant was obtained.
The Special Operations Response Team (SORT) was called to respond and prepare to execute the search warrant. The members of the SORT had conducted many search warrants with the same team members and had worked together and briefed dozens of plans. SORT executed the search warrant flawlessly. The breacher was directly outside the door getting ready to knock and announce and, if necessary, make entry when he heard screaming and commotion coming from inside the trailer. During entry, he saw a white male lying inside on a bed and a female just beyond him. He continued yelling, “Police – Search Warrant!” The male pulled the covers up over his head, and the officers could not see his hands. The officer thought he might be going for a weapon and moved forward making contact with the male, who was thrashing in the bed. Almost immediately a pit-bull dog attacked the officer and bit him. The dog was killed by one of the other team members, and then the officer was able to turn his attention to the individual he had confronted in the bed.
One of the officers moved to the bedroom just adjacent to the bed where one of the officers was securing the subject. The officer opened the bedroom door and pointed his weapon and the light beam from his mag-light directly at a male who was approaching him and loudly commanded him, “Police, show me your hands!” The order was repeated. In spite of his yelling at the individual, identifying himself as a police officer and commanding him to show his hands, the man did not comply and attacked the officer. The officer responded immediately to protect himself and his team members by striking the man in the forehead with his mag-light. The male immediately stopped kicking and fell back onto the bed. Another team member handcuffed the individual, and the trailer was secured. The cut required four stitches, and there was no other physical damage.
During the subsequent interview, the subject admitted to the carjacking, attempted robbery, theft from a female and male victim, resisting arrest and receiving stolen property.