SAN FRANCISCO (CN) - Police sicced a dog on a man walking home from work, mauling him with 56 bites, and kept him in handcuffs even after the crime victim told them he was "the wrong guy," the man claims in court.
Daniel Rodriguez sued Contra Costa County, the cities of Oakley and Pittsburg and their police departments, and Oakley police Officer Roger Canady, in Federal Court.
Rodriguez claims he was walking home from the motel where he worked as a handyman when Officer Canady pulled up in a police cruiser, got out with a dog and ordered him to the ground.
"Officer Canady was, at this time, in pursuit of an armed robbery suspect who had robbed a liquor store a short distance away," the complaint states. "Rodriguez asked the officer why he was ordering him to lay down. Officer Canady did not respond and instead took the police dog out of the car.
"Rodriguez, at this point, got on his knees and raised his hands up over his head. Officer Canady had his gun out and was shouting and screaming at him. While Rodriguez had his arms in the air Officer Canady has his pistol drawn and aimed at Rodriguez and ordered his service dog to circle Rodriguez.
"While Rodriguez was facing Officer Canady and his gun, the police dog was ordered to attack Rodriguez. The service dog then attacked Rodriguez from behind.
"At this time, units from the Pittsburg police department arrived on the scene, and possibly sheriffs from the [nonparty] Martinez Sheriff's department, all with guns drawn and shouting at Rodriguez to remain on the ground, while the dog was biting him on his back, arms, leg and face. At no time did any police officer order the police dog off Rodriguez.
"Rodriguez was complying with the multiple police officers whom were shouting at him but needed to defend his person from the vicious bites of the service dog.
"After some time, a police officer pulled the dog off Rodriguez and put Rodriguez in handcuffs. Multiple units were now on scene, and the robbery victim from the liquor store was brought in to make an identification of the suspect. Upon arrival, the liquor storeowner said, 'You have the wrong guy.' However, the officers continued to keep Rodriguez in handcuffs and on the ground. After learning that they had the wrong individual, none of the officers left the scene to look for the suspect who was armed and dangerous and instead chose to remain at the scene and call Rodriguez insulting names and continued to illegally detain and taunt him."
But the ordeal wasn't over. Rodriguez claims that paramedic whom police called "laughed at him and said, 'He looks like a criminal."
Rodriguez claims he was so "humiliated and emotional" after being attacked by the dog that he told the paramedic to "go 'screw herself' and refused treatment."
When witnesses complained that police let the dog attack Rodriguez though he was cooperating, the officers "told the witnesses to 'Shut up' and go back inside their houses. The officers allegedly took all the names of the witnesses, and the witnesses left," according to the complaint.
Police finally released Rodriguez and his family called an ambulance. It took him to a hospital emergency room, "where he was treated for dog bites and exhibited approximately 56 puncture wounds on his back, neck arms and biceps," the complaint states.
Rodriguez seeks punitive damages for excessive force, assault and battery, negligence and intentional infliction of emotional distress, and $25,000 for each violation of the California civil code.
He is represented by Ashwin Ladva.