ST. PAUL, Minn. (KMSP) - It was a normal Saturday morning for Desiree Collins of St. Paul, until she rounded a corner to throw out her garbage and came across a police K9 hot on the trail of a suspected burglar.
Before the officer or Collins could react, the dog had clamped down--hard--on her right arm, and wouldn't let go despite multiple commands from the officer.
Now Collins is filing a suit in federal court against the department for damages stemming from the incident, arguing that the officer's leash on the dog was much too long and that he did not give proper warning that the dog was rounding a corner outside his view.
"The entire incident is shocking and unacceptable," said Andrew Noel, one of her attorneys. "The video speaks for herself--she was terrified."
Footage from police body cameras of the Sept. 23 incident, obtained by Noel and Attorney Bob Bennett, shows several officers apologizing to Collins after the incident, saying she was simply in the wrong place at the wrong time. It's a sentiment St. Paul Police Chief Todd Axtell echoes, saying that he would love a chance for his officers to go back and redo the incident.
“My heart breaks when I watch this video," he said in a statement to Fox 9. "“What we can do is apologize and take responsibility, offer support and compassion, and learn from the incident so we can continue to work to prevent it from happening to anyone else.”
Some pretty graphic body camera footage out of St. Paul showing a police dog attacking a woman--police have since apologized, but the woman is filing a federal suit against the department seeking damages. https://t.co/DLuW5bKeC3 pic.twitter.com/8iBJWXmNKC— Brett Bachman (@BrettABachman) December 7, 2017
Collins' attorneys, meanwhile, are appreciative of the apologies--but say that steps must be taken in the future to prevent such incidents from happening again, including full compensation for the victim.
Police spokesperson Steve Linders confirmed Thursday that both the officer and his K9 were sent back to training for another month before returning to duty.