Fridley police released a K-9 to attack and injure a handcuffed Ham Lake man who was lying on his stomach, according to a lawsuit filed in federal court.
Trevor J. Olesen suffered “gaping wounds” to his right leg that continue to cause pain and left scars that frequently bleed, the suit said.
Olesen is suing Fridley police officer Tom Roddy and the city of Fridley for the May 26, 2016, incident, which was captured by the Anoka County Sheriff’s Office on drone video and released Tuesday by Olesen’s attorneys.
Fridley police did not return messages seeking comment.
“Defendant Roddy initiated the attack on Olesen by deploying K-9 Jax on Olesen after he had acceded to police authority, complied, exited the dumpster and was already controlled by other officers,” the suit said. “… Olesen did not resist or struggle with any of the officers.”
Olesen did not specify any monetary damages, and his attorney, Kathryn Bennett, declined to say what he would seek in either settlement talks or a jury trial.
“Olesen just doesn’t want this to happen to anyone else,” Bennett said. “It was a pretty traumatic experience for him.”
Olesen, who was 22 at the time of the incident, will not be answering questions about the case, she said.
Olesen is alleging that his Fourth and Fourteenth Amendment rights were violated, and that Roddy and Jax were improperly trained.
According to the suit and Bennett: Anoka County sheriff’s deputies were responding to a burglary in Oak Grove at 8:28 p.m. The call identified two suspects but did not report the presence of weapons.
Deputies requested a K-9 track, and Roddy responded with Jax, a then 3½-year-old Malinois that had joined the department the previous year.
Jax led police to a dumpster. Deputies set up a perimeter as two deputies and Roddy surrounded the dumpster.
A deputy saw Olesen inside the dumpster and ordered him out at gunpoint. Roddy also warned that he would send Jax into the dumpster.
Bennett and the suit said Olesen complied with orders to surrender, and was assisted out of the dumpster and onto the ground by a deputy. Olesen “also verbalized” that he would comply with orders.
Roddy wrote in his police report that he released Jax because he believed Olesen was resisting the deputy.
Drone footage showed the bite lasting at least 23 seconds, the suit said.
“During those 23 seconds, Defendant Roddy straddled Jax and pulled back numerous times … to choke Jax off the bite,” the suit said. “K-9 Jax had such a hold on Olesen that … Olesen’s entire lower body appears to be lifted off of the ground …”
Roddy then activated Jax’s shock collar, which had no effect on the dog, said the suit.
Olesen suffered wounds on his upper right thigh, including a bite to the iliotibial band, tissue that connects several muscles and assists in movement of the leg.