The St. Paul City Council on Wednesday approved a $20,000 settlement with a woman who was attacked by a police K-9.
Karen Shafer sued the city for the 2013 attack by police K-9 Rebel, who broke from the pursuit of an alleged car thief and chased her.
The settlement does not accept liability, and denies Shafer’s allegations.
According to Schafer’s suit:
She was in her Frogtown backyard about 12:35 a.m. on July 7, when the alleged car thief crashed a vehicle across the street and fled on foot. Shafer walked up to her gate to investigate the commotion.
Shafer said Rebel seemed to appear from nowhere, jumped up and bit her right hand. Shafer fled through her backyard, and the dog gave chase, biting her left thigh and then latching onto her left arm once they reached the back entrance of her home.
The dog ignored orders from its human partner, officer Matthew Yunker, to release its bite. Shafer said Yunker had to shove his thumbs inside the dogs mouth to lift the animal off her arm.
Shafer said she received 17 stitches, missed work for two months and shouldered about $7,000 in medical expenses.
Yunker’s personnel file shows that he was not disciplined for the incident. However, it shows that he was disciplined for a Sept. 16, 2013 incident in which his K-9 attacked another bystander.
According to the disciplinary letter: Yunker and his K-9 were helping with a burglary call. The dog picked up a soccer ball, prompting Yunker to lift the dog to remove the ball.
That accidentally unhooked the dog’s harness, and the dog took off. Yunker couldn’t catch it.
“The K-9 ran south through the alley and eventually apprehended an innocent bystander by the forearm,” the letter said. “…Ultimately, the responsibility of controlling the K-9 is that of the handler.”