Family of teen mauled by Orlando Police K-9 takes legal action
(WFTV.COM) ORLANDO, Fla. – A 13-year-old boy’s arm was left mangled by an Orlando police K-9 after officers said the teenager and two of his friends broke into Shingle Creek Elementary School, prompting authorities to use the K-9 to catch them. Police said the teens tried to run from the scene.
The boy’s family is taking legal action, saying police went too far when they released the dog on their son.
The family attorney now wants all police dogs to be retrained.
“It almost looks like he was attacked by a bear. It’s pretty bad,” said the victim’s attorney, Bradley Laurent. “He’s in a lot of pain. He has a lot of muscle and tissue damage.”
The boy was hospitalized for two days and required stitches for his injuries.
Laurent said doctors fear he may have permanent nerve damage to his left arm.
“At the time that the dog attacked the child, he was actually lying face down on the ground with his hands up,” Laurent said.
The alleged burglary happened June 5 just after 10 pm..
Police said the boy and his 12 and 15-year-old friends admittedly trespassed at the school.
All three were charged with burglary, trespassing and resisting without violence.
“They’re kids. They’re going to make mistakes,” said Laurent.
Laurent said the incident highlights a bigger problem with the Orlando Police Department’s K-9 unit, which is facing two lawsuits for bites to unarmed suspects.
“I don’t understand why you would deploy a K-9 on a child,” Laurent said.
Former police chief and law enforcement expert Chuck Drago said sometimes officers need to make split-second decisions.
“I don’t think they should release a dog on a 13-year-old, but the problem often is you don’t know how old the person is,” he said.
Orlando police declined to comment, citing pending litigation.
Police did say each dog bite case is reviewed by supervisors.