When Can a Police Dog Attack

The law enforcement community typically uses dogs that detect drugs throughout the United States to alert police officers illegal or illicit substances. Police departments can also employ dogs to use the force necessary in the event of arrests.

While trained dogs are typically considered a “less lethal force” method, such as Tasers year police dog attacks cause grave traumas or deaths.

With the severity of an attack by a K-9 could be, how often is police use of a K-9 for force permitted?

Reasonable Use of Dogs in Criminal Apprehension

Because of their sharp sense of smell, dogs help identify suspects. This is particularly the case when suspects escape into areas where an officer of human nature would struggle to find, such as densely wooded areas.

If a suspect is found, a trained dog is expected to hold and bite the suspect without suffering any serious injury until it’s let loose by its owner. Constitutional problems can arise when the ideal isn’t met.

The Constitutional Issue of Excessive Force

“Excessive Force” is a term used to describe situations in which police have the legal right to use force, Still, they employ excessive force over the amount needed to make an arrest or prevent danger from the public or bystanders. The Fourth Amendment to the U.S. Constitution guarantees the protection rights from excessive force, which bans unreasonable searches and seizures by government officials, including police officers.

In general, allowing dogs to use force after the person being questioned is under control and does not cause a threat to officers is considered to be excessive force, as proved in the recent California case called Hartsell V. San Diego.

Recent Excessive Force Cases

In hartsell, the incident, the police dog was utilized to find and hold the suspect fleeing in the brush. After the suspect exited the forest, the dog was tied in his arms. The suspect followed the police officer’s directions to lift his arms, but the officer could not immediately release the dog, which caused further injuries to the suspect.

A judge who heard the case ruled that the inability to let the K-9 officer go after the suspect had complied with instructions was arbitrary and rejected any claim by the officer for qualified immunity.

Amid a Virginia excessive force case, one man claims a Fourth Amendment right against unreasonable confiscation was violated after an unintentional attack by a police dog assaulted the man in the ditch located on his property that is wooded as part of a welfare check. The officer who was involved in this case claimed that the reason for his decision to order the dog attack as it was reported that an individual was suicidal and had a firearm. However, there was no firearm discovered on the man. The officer in question is claiming qualified immunity. It’s unclear what the court’s ruling will be on the matter.

If You Have Specific Questions About Excessive Force

People who have been victims fof excessive force might be unsure of their rights, which only a skilled lawyer can help them. If you are in this situation, you should consult an experienced civil rights lawyer in your region who may be able to assist.

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