January 30, 2018 06:46 PM
The Fridley Police Department is looking at possible changes to its K-9 program after an officer's own police dog bit him over the weekend.
That same officer was named in a lawsuit filed Monday in federal court. It alleges that Fridley police allowed a K-9 to attack a burglary suspect who was already lying on the ground and handcuffed.
That incident began when authorities were called to a burglary in progress in Anoka County in May 2016. The lawsuit states that one suspect was arrested without incident. But a second suspect, Trevor Olesen, was tracked through yards, a wooded area and a barbed wire fence before eventually being discovered inside a dumpster on abandoned property.
Then, according to Olesen's attorney, Fridley police officer Tom Roddy released his K-9, Jax, despite Olesen having complied with commands from police.
"He basically was under control and the dog is released on him and inflicts these awful injuries," attorney Kathryn Bennett said of the resulting "gaping wounds" on her client's right leg. She added that while Olesen has since admitted to burglarizing a home, he didn't deserve to be attacked by a dog.
In a statement sent Tuesday evening, Fridley Police Chief Brian Weierke wrote, in part, "The injury is unfortunate. We never want to use force and, when it is required, we do our best to use only the minimum force necessary in response to the suspect's action."
Weierke said Roddy's decision to deploy the K-9 was discretionary, and was due "to Mr. Olesen's physical resistance to being arrested ..."
As for the second incident involving Jax, the chief said the K-9 bit Roddy while they were tracking a burglary suspect this past Sunday. The chief said Roddy slipped on some icy stairs with his left leg landing directly in front of Jax, and that led to the bite.
"We will review the incident and K9 Jax' (sic) performance and assess any possible changes to the K9 program," explained Weierke, who also said Roddy is recovering and is expected to return to full duty soon.
Here is Chief Brian Weierke's statement in full:
Referring specifically to the lawsuit, the city received it just today and are still reviewing the details. We do know from the incident report filed that the officer made the discretionary decision to deploy his K-9 partner during the apprehension of Mr. Olesen due to Mr. Olesen's physical resistance to being arrested, and subsequently Mr. Olesen sustained a bite to his leg. Mr. Olesen later pled guilty to felony burglary in Anoka County as a result of this incident. The injury is unfortunate. We never want to use force and, when it is required, we do our best to use only the minimum force necessary in response to the suspect's action.
Officer Roddy and K9 Jax were involved in the successful apprehension of a suspect on Sunday, January 28th at 10:50 PM. While tracking the burglary suspect who fled from officers, Officer Roddy slipped on some icy stairs with his left leg landing directly in front of K9 Jax. Unfortunately, K9 Jax bit Officer Roddy's lower left leg. The suspect was eventually located hiding in the basement of a nearby residence. He was arrested and charged with one count of First Degree Burglary and one count of Fleeing a Peace Officer (Court File #02-CR-18-638). The suspect is currently in custody at the Anoka County Jail.
We will review the incident and K9 Jax' performance and assess any possible changes to the K9 program. The Fridley Police Department has a long history of a successful K9 program. Police K9s offer valuable assistance in areas such as narcotics detection and criminal apprehension. The Fridley Police Department wishes to thank our partners in public safety and in our community for the support they have shown Officer Roddy and our K9 unit.
Updated: January 30, 2018 06:46 PM
Created: January 30, 2018 05:11 PM
Copyright 2018 - KSTP-TV, LLC A Hubbard Broadcasting Company