An Alabama man killed by a K9 officer was one of thousands of Americans bitten by police dogs every year. Few ever get justice. The tiny pink house was pretty much empty. And run-down and dark, since the electricity had been shut off. Nevertheless, someone was trying to burglarize it, a caller told 911 well after midnight on a Sunday in Montgomery, Alabama. The police called in a K-9 handler and his dog, Niko, to search 3809 Cresta Circle. The dog lunged, found a man and bit down, according to court records. It took almost two minutes for the handler to pull the dog off. And before long, their suspect, a 51-year-old Black man, bled to death. The dog had torn an artery in his groin. The man was Joseph Lee Pettaway, and his family says he was no burglar. He got in trouble for bad checks and served time years ago, but was now taking care of his 87-year-old mother, Lizzie Mae, and helping to repair the pink house in her neighborhood, they said; he had a key and permission to sleep there. Joseph Pettaway’s sister, Jacqueline, comforts their mother, Lizzie Mae Pettaway. Joseph Pettaway died in July of 2018 at a home in Montgomery, Alabama, after being bitten by a police dog. Joe Songer/ The family is suing the city, seeking damages and information about what happened. “I never thought a dog would end up killing anybody, especially a trained dog,” said Walter Pettaway, Joe’s brother. The family also wants public release of the police bodycam video from July 8, 2018, that is described in court documents. The city is fighting to keep the video from going public, arguing in court that it would cause “annoyance, embarrassment” for officers who were acting in good faith and could end up “facilitating civil unrest.” Officials did not respond to requests for comment. Police dog bites are rarely fatal. But in other ways, the case of Joseph Pettaway is not unusual. These dogs, whose jaws and teeth are strong enough to punch through sheet metal, often produce severe injuries. Police employ them not only in emergencies, but also for low-level, non-violent incidents. The dogs bite thousands of Americans each year, including innocent bystanders, police officers, even their own handlers. And there is little oversight, nationally or in the states, of how police departments use them. These are some of the findings of an investigation by The Marshall Project, with, IndyStar and the Invisible Institute in Chicago. (…) Police dog bites can be more like shark attacks than nips from a family pet, according to experts and medical researchers. A dog chewed on an Indiana man’s neck for 30 seconds, puncturing his trachea and slicing his carotid artery. A dog ripped off an Arizona man’s face. A police dog in California took off a man’s testicle. Dog bites cause more hospital visits than any other use of force by police, according to a 2008 academic analysis of 30 departments.

via silive: When police violence is a dog bite

FBI Police K9 (33511712043).jpg
By <a rel=”nofollow” class=”external text” href=”″>Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI)</a> – <a rel=”nofollow” class=”external text” href=””>FBI Police K9</a>, Public Domain, Link

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