RIVERSIDE, Calif. (CN) - San Bernardino Police sent a dog to viciously attack an 88-year-old woman as she slept in bed in her own home, the woman claims in court.
Katharina Lambert sued San Bernardino, Police Chief Robert Handy and Officers J. Castro, S. Aranda and J. Echevarria, in Federal Court.
Lambert says the three officers entered her home at 11:30 p.m. on Jan. 23, 2013, allegedly in response to a silent burglar alarm. Without warrant or any pressing circumstances, Echevarria entered with a police dog, Lambert says.
Echevarria did not announce his entrance or warn that he was releasing a dog that might attack and bite, Lambert says in the lawsuit.
"Moreover, Echevarria knew, when he entered, that the dog was trained to bite hard, and to bite anywhere it could on a person's body," Lambert claims.
The dog entered her bedroom, where Lambert was "unarmed, dressed only in clothes for sleeping, lying in her bed, and presented no threat to anyone," she says in the complaint.
It "viciously attacked her, biting her on her arm and shoulder, waking her and causing serious injuries, including puncture wounds, severe bruising, and other physical injuries, as well as severe emotional distress. Echevarria had to physically remove the dog in order to get the dog to stop its relentless attack upon Ms. Lambert. Any medical care for Ms. Lambert was then unnecessarily delayed," the woman says.
The officers failed to take into account that Lambert has a severe hearing impairment, which the police department knew about, according to the complaint.
Lambert blames the city and its police chief as well. She claims their officers are not properly disciplined and that the culture of the San Bernardino Police Department created the belief that "it is permissible to unlawfully enter a person's home, deploy a police K-9 to attack innocent people, refuse to accommodate a disabled person, and delay prompt medical care."
Lambert seeks punitive damages for unlawful entry, excessive force, municipal liability, supervisor liability, Americans with Disabilities Act violations, strict liability, battery, intentional infliction of emotional distress and negligence.
She is represented by Barry Walker of Canyon Lake.