ST. PAUL, Minn. (KMSP) - The City of St. Paul reached a tentative agreement to pay a settlement of $520,000 to a woman wrongfully attacked by a St. Paul K-9 last year.
Last September, Desiree Collins was taking out trash to a dumpster when a police dog, which was following the trail of a burglary suspect, clamped down on her right arm. The K-9 did not let go even after multiple commands from the officer. Collins was an innocent bystander in the case.
Desiree Collins filed a federal lawsuit last year arguing the officer's leash on the K-9 was too long and he did not give warning that the dog was turning the corner out of his view.
Collins' attorney Andy Noel says his client is a resilient person and is pleased with the outcome. She still has some emotional trauma and scars on her arm that remind her of the event, but functionality has returned to normal.
Noel says the “momentum” for the settlement started in August when a judge determined that the defendants were liable by law. At that point, the city worked quickly to get it resolved. The City Council met this Wednesday and in their discussions with the St. Paul City Attorney’s Office after that meeting, they agreed to the settlement.
City Attorney Lyndsey Olson released the following statement:
“The City’s decision to settle this case is based on the district court’s determination that the use of the police canine violated Ms. Collin’s constitutional rights. This determination results in an obligation that the City pay Ms. Collin’s attorney’s fees. The City’s tentative agreement to pay $520,000 is based on the recognition that continued litigation will only increase her attorney’s fees without a corresponding increase in payment to Ms. Collins. As a point of equity, the City favors an outcome that does not require Ms. Collins to endure the additional stress or trauma of a trial and ensures that she receive an appropriate portion of the amount paid by the City. The City believes this settlement provides a better outcome for Ms. Collins.”