COON RAPIDS, Minn. (KMSP) - An exclusive look at Coon Rapids police dash cam video shows the officers’ response after their K-9 bit a woman who was mistaken for a burglar.
On Feb. 5, police responded to a report of a suspicious person in a Coon Rapids neighborhood. When officers arrived, they saw a person go into a shed with a flashlight. They tried to communicate with the person, but got no response, so they sent in their K-9, which bit the 81-year-old woman.
According to police interviews with the victim and her family members, the woman didn't speak English so despite noticing commotion outside, she didn't know what it was about.
Police say a combination of factors, including her lack of response, led them to believe they had cornered a burglar.
"[The officer] announced his presence and the person, who was carrying a flashlight, turned the flashlight off," said Chief Wise. "To him, he interpreted that as the person in the shed reacted to my presence negatively, which enhanced the officer's suspicion."
Police documents claim officers tried for another ten minutes to get the person to come out. When they did not, they sent in the K-9.
Moments after the bite, squad car video shows the grandmother scared and confused in the back of car.
"I can only imagine what she's thinking, ‘How did this happen?’ I'm sure is in her mind," said Chief Wise. "They knew this was something other than a burglary as soon as they saw her.”
The Coon Rapids Police Department is hoping the dash cam video will clear up details of the incident, as unsubstantiated claims by social media users have flooded their feed and prompted a flurry of hate mail from around the country.
"Social media sort of took on a life of its own. A grandmother got bitten morphed into police dogs--multiple police dogs--mauled her, tore her clothes off, we drug her across the yard, all sorts of horrible things that never happened," said Chief Wise. "It's important that the video get out there... and put these rumors to rest."
The video shows officers walking with her, carrying her along on both sides, to bring her to the car. She is helped into the back of the squad car, as they wait for an ambulance to arrive.
"We don't like that we bit a grandmother,” said Chief Wise. “I don't like that. We try and avoid those sorts of things."
The victim's family has directed all media inquiries to their attorney. Our phone calls and emails were not returned.