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Lakewood police dog bites man during track in Parkland

Post by Stacey Mulick / The News Tribune on May 9, 2011 at 3:14 pm with 21 Comments »
May 9, 2011 3:19 pm

A Lakewood police dog bit a man early Saturday while trying to find a suspect in a domestic violence incident in Parkland.

The 25-year-old man was taken to St. Joseph Medical Center in Tacoma for treatment of his injuries, KIRO TV reported Sunday. He was released Sunday.

The Lakewood Police Department will be reviewing the use-of-force incident, Lakewood police Lt. Chris Lawler said Monday.

The Lakewood Police Department provided the following information about the incident Monday:

Pierce County sheriff’s deputies were looking for a man in a domestic violence assault about 2:40 a.m. Saturday. The man left on foot in the 800 block of 134th Street South and deputies wanted to search for him using a police dog.

Lakewood police officer Jim Syler and his K-9 partner, Astor, responded. After a briefing, the dog began tracking for the suspect as Pierce County sheriff’s deputies set up a containment area.

Deputies reported seeing a possible suspect in the area of 132nd Street South and 10th Avenue South. A man was walking, then quickly disappeared.

“A deputy in the area stated that he shined his spotlight on the male, who then went off the side of the road,” a press release stated. “Another deputy that was running with the K9 Officer saw a male walk briskly across the street.”

The police dog tracked along a heavily-brushed trail toward a large, overgrown field. The dog was on a 30-foot tracking lead. The dog found the 25-year-old man on the trail and bit him on the arm.

“As soon as the handler recognized that the male being contacted was not the fleeing suspect, Astor was called off,” the press release stated.

Paramedics were called. Meanwhile, the track continued.

The domestic violence suspect later turned himself in.

The man who was bitten told a deputy he’d seen a police car nearby with its lights on. When the officer shined a spotlight on him, the man said he ducked into the bushes to avoid being seen.

“The deputy asked him why he did that and he replied that he had a party at his house nearby,” the press release stated.  “He stated the party was getting out of control and he left before he fought with someone.  He said he thought all of the police presence in the area was because something happened at his house after he left.  The deputy asked him if he thought the police in the area were looking for him and he stated he didn’t know, but they could have been.”

Lawler said Monday that Astor has not been a problem dog.

Leave a comment Comments → 21
  1. chapcom says:

    Let’s review: 1) Blame the innocent man, 2) or don’t blame the dog, but get ready to throw it under the bus, 3) don’t even mention the officer as possibly the one at fault even though he was in control of the dog. Lakewood PD and Pierce County Sheriffs, the Keystone Cops of the North West.

  2. They asked him why he ducked into the bushes to hide from the police. Of course he was afraid of them, turned out he was correct !! Did the cop provide any warning, or just assume that as a suspect was found , it was time to release his dog. Guess the young man should consider himself lucky, consider what could have happened if the officer ( even thought ) the fellow had a knife with him.

  3. sixpackjoe says:

    “Another deputy that was running with the K9 Officer saw a male walk briskly across the street.”

    Well there you go! Why was that man walking “briskly” across the street! We all know that is admission to guilt. If you ain’t got nothing to hide, you shant walk “briskly” across the street! Also, it must be illegal to get away from the police, even if you are innocent, because you will not be presumed innocent. Take good notes citizens. Briskly walking and wanting to avoid the police even though you didn’t commit a crime are not good to do around them.

  4. bullman120 says:

    who wrote and edited this story, the Lakewood police? apparently the 4 legged officers are out of control also. he was lucky he wasn’t shot!

  5. dejen2 says:

    I hope he sues the dog, the human officer/handler and the city of Lakewood.
    The police are getting way out of control.

  6. The officer has to be be physically capable of keeping up with the dog while leashed, it’s the only way to control the dog, as it is a weapon. It was good to read the dog let go of the wrong guy, on command.

    During training, police officer are tasered so they know how it feels. Why not let as police dog bite them with 2400 pounds of pressure so they know how that feels? This will stop the handler/police officer from taking his weapon, the dog,”off leash”.

    This incident is another example of an error. This error caused harm. Fix it.

  7. Mudbone says:

    dejen2 They aren’t ‘getting’ out of control! They have been out of control for years!

  8. Mowich says:

    Oh crap, my doctor just recommended that I start walking like I’m late. Guess I avoid Lakewood, or I jmay get bit my fido cop.

  9. DannnyG says:

    They have gone too far. Logically the pendulum has swung towards active policing since the Maurice Clemmons shooting. The police are just plain and simple…more agressive

    With aggressive police tactics comes cases like these…where a deadly weapon gets out of control of it’s handler. The chain of custody has broken down between the man and dog…when this dog can attack a citizen minding his own business.

    The officer who was handling this dog should be disciplined! When you don’t have positive id on the suspect…you don’t let your deadly weapon get 30 feet out of your chain of custody…period

  10. Dear_John says:

    Sounds like a case of felony eluding to me. They clearly wanted to talk to him, and he could have exonerated himself as a suspect. He chose to attempt to elude them instead ( a felony offense ).

    Lesson, don’t run if you aren’t guilty.

  11. mdawg2110 says:

    This is just an example of being in the wrong place at the wrong time. The guy said he saw the cop cars with their lights on. To me and maybe that is just me if I see cop cars with their lights on I am thinking maybe there is something going on and maybe should back the other way and not hide (trespass) in the bushes of a closed park. I am fine with Lakewood or the County to pay for his medical bill only. Very rarely do we see or hear about police dogs biting innocent people. This just the cost of doing business for them to keep the streets safer.

  12. mdawg2110: Wrong place, yes he was in an area patrolled by the Lakewood Police. Wrong time, yes anytime is the wrong time in their area. Why did he hide? Maybe he has seen innocents brutalized before by police, and hoped to avoid them altogether. Did the cop ask him to come out? Provide a warning to the innocent young man? So far I have heard of none. I hope Lakewood pays his medical bills, any monies lost to work, + pain and suffering. The last will be pricey indeed.

  13. cclngthr says:

    Actually, Chad’s family is well known in the community and will be looking into this further. I doubt Lakewood will get off that easily on this one.

    Chad did state (in the reports) that he assumed the cops were there due to problems at the location Chad had left. When problems arise at parties, cops generally are called. Chad left before it got out of hand. It would be reasonable to figure out that when problems like that exist, cops will be called. In Parkland, they would be due to the nature of that area.

  14. Dear_John: Where in the article does it state that the young man tried to elude the cops. Avoiding and eluding are two different concepts. It sounds like the cops did not ask the fellow to come to them in anyway. It looks like a case of feed your dog, ask questions later.

  15. cclngthr says:

    I think Chad’s family will see to that, medical bills being paid.

    I also don’t think the cop identified himself or told Chad to stop.

  16. retired81 says:

    The city is going to be sued. The dog was on a tracking leash and bit someone that it was not tracking. The officer failed to control the animal. I don’t think the animal is supposed to just arbitrarily bite even a suspect. That is not necessary use of force.

  17. retired81 says:

    Dear_John doesn’t know Dick about the law.

  18. lwnmwrmom says:

    mdawg2110 states that we rarely see or hear of innocent people being bit by police dogs. Not everyone involved in an encounter wishes to be front page news, and unless the victim calls the news who else do you think would report such an attack, certainly not the police. My husband was attacked 10 feet from the front door of our home on our own private property. We are still trying to get the county to pay the $35,000+ in medical costs associated with his injuries two and a half years ago. No law suit has yet to be filed. No news report has yet to be made. Just because you don’t hear about it, does not mean it does not happen. Also Danny G, please note that this was before Maurice Clemmons and this incident was very aggressive, they were avenging another officer involved incident from two days before.

  19. mdawg2110 says:

    When someone is bit by a police dog, a report is created. When a police report is created it becomes public record. That being said the media would jump over any opportunity to publish anything they can to show the police screwed up. These dogs get deployed at least 10+ times a night in Tacoma, Lakewood, and county. 100+ times a night if you count the entire state and you this case and the case of the other person in this post. It sucks that he got bit. Pay his medical bills and move on. This dog has caught some bad people (I.e Robert Tucksen who murder an innocent man). Without police dogs more than half of dangerous suspects will never be caught and have opportunity to commit more crimes.

  20. mdawg2110: No one is blaming the dog, sorry. It is the cop that is controlling the dog that is responsible. In this case the person responsible apparently did not ask this young man to come forward. The person responsible was not responsible.

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