Lakewood police sued after K9 attacks sleeping man: Problem Solvers Investigation

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LAKEWOOD, Colo.-- On the evening of September 21, 2018 Spencer Erickson woke up a to K9 police dog nearly ripping his throat out.  Now nearly a year later, Erickson has filed a Federal lawsuit accusing the Lakewood Police Department and six of its officers of excessive force.

"He is lucky he is not dead, only by the grace of god is he not dead," said Erickson's attorney Adam Frank.  The civil rights attorney says a police dog named "Finn" exposed Erickson's jugular vein, nearly causing his then 25-year old client to bleed to death, "If we had been millimeters deeper, he would be dead and none of this had any justification.

According to the lawsuit, six Lakewood Police officers responded to Spencer's apartment to arrest Spencer and non-violent warrants related to a pair of past DUI arrests and a drug possession charge.  A female roommate had called police on Spencer after she said he had a punched a hole in the ceiling and might be hiding in a crawlspace.

The lawsuit states, a police officer tried to call Mr. Erickson and then sent him a text that read, “come out with his hands up . . . if he failed to do so a K-9 unit would be deployed within the home."

It turns out Erickson had been asleep when police sent Finn into the apartment.  "They unleashed an attack dog to run through the house and attack Mr. Erickson no matter what he was doing or where he was. It's hard for me to see what the difference is between that and spraying an AR-15 through the house,' said Frank.

The lawsuit notes Finn had attacked a Lakewood Police handler before in 2015. "Finn went and during a training exercise attacked a handler bit him on the face and neck and put the police officer who was his handler, out of work for a month," said Frank.

That's when Finn should've been retired according to Frank.  But after the German Shepard attacked Spencer, his attorney said police filed bogus counts against his client, "Of course they charged him with resisting arrest and obstructing peace officers based on their dog trying to kill him. They claim, in order to not be killed, that he put his hands up and pushed the dog."

The lawsuit states those charges were later dismissed and that Spencer plead guilty to a misdemeanor count of Criminal Mischief and received probation for the punching a hole in his apartment ceiling.

Spencer's lawsuit states the dog attack left with PTSD and neck scarring that makes people wonder if once tried to kill himself.

A spokesman for Lakewood Police said the department doesn't comment on pending litigation.

Here's the link to read the entire lawsuit.

 

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