Conroe Police Department Faces Dog Bite Lawsuit
A Texas woman has filed a lawsuit against the Conroe Police Department after they sicced a dog on her during a psychiatric emergency. The incident landed her in the hospital in July of 2018.
The boyfriend of 24-year-old Olivia Sligh called 911 after his girlfriend began self-harming after taking a new psychiatric medication. Two Conroe police officers arrived to the scene to assess what was happening. Sligh had fled into the woods and officers followed her with their German Shepherd. When they found her, one of the officers asked Sligh if she had any weapons on her. The woman responded that she did not. One of the officers offered Sligh a hand to bring her to her feet. That’s when she says that the dog attacked her and began biting her.
Sligh became visibly agitated and was screaming, but she claims that neither officer attempted to get the dog off of her or otherwise held her. By the end of the ordeal, Sligh had endured roughly six bites to her thigh, ankle, and hip.
Police Officers and Psychiatric Emergencies
This is by no means a novel or unique experience. Generally, police dogs are better trained than that, but psychiatric emergencies often result in outcomes that are far more tragic than a few dog bites. This is largely because police are called in to handle the issue and police are authorized to arrest people and contain scenes. They do not know how to safely diffuse a situation involving an individual who is experiencing psychiatric symptoms.
Just based on that alone, the police department and the municipal government responsible for sending police officers to secure the scene of psychiatric emergencies should be held accountable. In a typical situation, police will use the threat of the attacking dog to subdue individuals who don’t appear to be following instructions. But if you’re psychotic, you’re not processing threats correctly making the threat worthless and the probability of harming someone having a medical issue likely.
Los Angeles County Lawsuits
This isn’t the first time that a municipality has been sued over their use of K-9 units against individuals. Los Angeles County was sued after it was discovered that some 800 individuals who’d been bitten by police dogs suffered serious complications including profuse bleeding, nerve damage, infection, and other issues. Civil rights attorneys sued the city and managed to collect $3.6 million in that battle.
Can Victims Sue?
Oh, yes. While police generally will come up with a story that imputes liability onto the plaintiff, this is no different than any personal injury lawsuit. This victim can and should sue the Conroe Police Department for dispatching a dog on her while her boyfriend was trying to get her medical help.
Talk to a Houston Personal Injury Attorney Today
If you’ve been injured by the negligence of another person, the Houston personal injury attorneys at Livingston & Flowers will fight to see that you get the compensation that you deserve under the law. Call us today to schedule a free consultation.