Woman Sues St. Paul Police Officer after Being Bitten by K-9

A video stillframe included in the lawsuit Photo: SPPD body camera
A video stillframe included in the lawsuit

December 07, 2017 10:16 AM

A woman is suing a St. Paul police officer after she was bitten by a police K-9 during a search for two suspects, according to court records

Desiree Collins filed the lawsuit against officer Thaddeus Schmidt in U.S. District Court Monday.

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According to the lawsuit, on Sept. 23, officers were called to 730 Minnehaha Ave. on reports of a burglary. Officers were searching for two male suspects.

During that time, Collins was taking her garbage out to the dumpster behind her home on Van Buren Avenue. Two of the responding officers were able to pursue one of the male suspects, and were able to bring him into custody.

The lawsuit said Schmidt arrived on scene and deployed a K-9 to search for the suspects. According to the lawsuit, Schmidt had the K-9 on a 20-foot lead harness.

The lawsuit said while Schmidt and the K-9 were searching for suspects, an officer radioed in that one suspect had been taken into custody.

During the search, Schmidt and the K-9 entered the alley between Minnehaha Avenue and Van Buren Avenue, where Collins was taking her garbage out.

While in the alley, the K-9 wandered behind a dumpster. According to the lawsuit, after the dog went around the dumpster, a woman can be heard screaming on body camera footage.

Body camera footage shows the officer turn around the dumpster to see the K-9 biting the woman's arm. The lawsuit said the dog knocked her out of her shoes and dragged her to the ground.

The lawsuit claims officers gave the dog 10 release commands, but it would not release Collins. Collins attorneys claim Schmidt had to physically pull the dog off Collins.

According to the lawsuit, Collins had to be treated at Regions Hospital for multiple dog bites to her right arm and left leg.

Collins' attorneys claim their client's Fourth Amendment rights were violated by illegal seizure.

Collins is asking compensatory and punitive damages be awarded by a jury.

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KSTP

Copyright 2017 - KSTP-TV, LLC A Hubbard Broadcasting Company

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