St. Paul Police K-9 Bites Woman By Mistake When She Was Taking Her Trash Out
Officers allegedly stop helping her recover when they discovered that she had a lawyer.
St. Paul, Minnesota, resident Desiree Collins, 52, filed a lawsuit Wednesday, Dec. 6 after being attacked by a police K-9 during a routine run to the trash.
It was 6:30 a.m. Sept. 23 when Collins was taking out her garbage near her home. At the same time, two police officers were en route to a burglary call in proximity to Collins. Officer Thaddeus Schmidt and two other officers were looking for two men who apparently kicked down a door and entered a home. Instead of finding the suspects, they ran into Collins.
Body cam footage from the incident has surfaced online in recent days depicting the graphic attack on the victim. Two of the officers can be seen charging with a police K-9 in tow when the footage cuts to the woman by the dumpster.
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Viewers can see that the dog comes around from the dumpster and latches on to the victim's right arm. She screams in agony as the police try to separate the two. Collins was dragged out of her shoes and her clothing was adjusted because of the attack. A third officer comes around and removes the dog from the scene as the other two assist the distraught woman.
According to Collins’ attorney, Andrew Noel, Schmidt was responsible for the K-9 and said that the situation could have been avoided if the K-9 officer was on a shorter leash.
The officers' actions allegedly made the situation worst according to the lawsuit. "Per (K-9) Gabe’s training, their actions only caused Gabe to exert more bite pressure and pull her arm harder in his direction on the bite.”
Schmidt was suspended only one day in October.
Twin Cities Pioneer Press reports that St. Paul officers initially helped Collins get her dressings changed and assisted her with getting groceries, but “this aid stopped once they found out she was represented by counsel,” the lawsuit said.
“What happened to Ms. Collins was a terrible accident that should not have occurred,” Police Chief Todd Axtell said in a statement. “I am sorry it happened and that she was injured. As a department, we wish we could go back and do things differently. Unfortunately, we can’t. What we can do is apologize and take responsibility, offer support and compassion and learn from the incident so we can continue to work to prevent it from happening to anyone else.”
A shorter and more condensed video of the dog attack is below:
Warning: The following video contains graphic content.