Home / Badge Abuse / Horrifying Precedent — Court Rules Cops Can Allow Dogs to Maul Innocent People

Horrifying Precedent — Court Rules Cops Can Allow Dogs to Maul Innocent People

A disturbing and reckless precedent was just set by the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 4th Circuit, which held that the U.S. Constitution does not necessarily require cops to stop a K9 from tearing an innocent person to shreds. Seriously.

According to the ruling in the case of an innocent homeless man being mauled nearly to death by a K9, police officers who deliberately allow their K9 to maul innocent people will be immune from liability and victims will have zero recourse.

As Slate reports:

The grisly facts of the case are uncontested. One night in 2010, Officer Terence Garrison and his police dog, Bikkel, were tracking a robbery suspect in High Point, North Carolina. Bikkel led Garrison to an abandoned house, then attacked a man crouched behind a bush near the front stoop. Garrison quickly realized that the man did not match the physical description of the suspect. (In fact, he was Christopher Maney, a homeless man accused of no crime.) But Garrison decided that the man might still be dangerous, so he demanded that Maney show his hands before calling off Bikkel. But Maney was using his hands to try to protect himself against the dog and pleaded with Garrison to stop Bikkel’s attack, insisting that he had done nothing wrong. After allowing the mauling to continue for 10 seconds, Garrison finally told Bikkel to stop. He then put Maney in handcuffs and called medical support.

Because Garrison allowed his K9 to continue mauling Maney, the innocent homeless man suffered severe injuries. By the time he was brought to the hospital, Maney was in critical condition. Bikkel had torn apart the top of Maney’s head, removing an entire two-square-inch section of hair, skin, and tissue — which would later require a 16-inch skin graft. The dog also bit Maney’s arms and legs so severely that it led to a brachial artery blood clot with massive blood loss, bruising, and swelling.

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After making a long and painful recovery, Maney attempted to hold the officer accountable for his sadistic and torturous act. He then sued Garrison for violating his Fourth Amendment right to be free from unreasonable seizures.

As it stands, a dog bite qualifies as a seizure under the Fourth Amendment. So, Maney argued that the time Garrison allowed the K9 to rip him apart was unreasonable.

However, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 4th Circuit did not agree. Insanely enough, the court concluded that Garrison was shielded from liability because he did not violate a  “clearly established” constitutional right.

According to the majority, as Slate reports, Fourth Amendment precedents do not unambiguously prohibit officers from “prolong[ing] a dog bite seizure until a subject complies with orders to surrender.” The majority analogized the mauling to a “Terry stop,” during which an officer may briefly stop and frisk individuals on the basis of “reasonable suspicion.” Garrison, the majority concluded, had really just engaged in a type of Terry stop in which “the classic Terry tableau is replaced by something more dynamic.”

Simply put, the court ruled that Garrison’s use of his K9 to maul a man nearly to death, was reasonable because it is no different than a stop and frisk.

Judge Pamela Harris, the only judge with enough humanity left in her to dissent, explained why this ruling is nonsensical and disturbing.

Maney was not himself suspected of any crime, armed or not, and he did not attempt to flee or to resist. Nevertheless, Officer Garrison deliberately subjected him to a canine attack in order to rule out any possibility that he might pose a threat. Whether or not a more customary Terry stop might have been authorized, I think it is clear enough that the circumstances did not justify the sustained mauling of Maney. Clear enough, that is, to warrant denial of qualified immunity to Garrison on Maney’s excessive force claim.

Harris noted that justifying the mauling by comparing it to a Terry stop was particularly ludicrous because “there was not reasonable suspicion sufficient to support a Terry stop” in the first place.

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He (Garrison) was aware that there was a perfectly innocent explanation for Maney’s presence near the abandoned house. And I would not count against Maney his failure to stand and identify himself, which Maney—quite reasonably, in hindsight—attributes to his fear that a sudden movement might prompt a dog attack. Citizens are under no free-standing obligation to identify themselves to the police.

While Harris disagreed, the rest of the court believed Garrison “intentionally prolong(ing) a violent assault on Maney to determine whether he might pose a threat,” is entirely just. 

It is likely that Maney will appeal this ruling. However, the mere fact that a court would rule in such a manner illustrates a much larger problem in America. Because Americans support a system that continuously refuses to hold police accountable while simultaneously granting them special privileges, cops can quite literally get away with murder.

Matt Agorist is an honorably discharged veteran of the USMC and former intelligence operator directly tasked by the NSA. This prior experience gives him unique insight into the world of government corruption and the American police state. Agorist has been an independent journalist for over a decade and has been featured on mainstream networks around the world. Agorist is also the Editor at Large at the Free Thought Project. , Steemit, and now on Facebook.
  • Candice White

    This shows we are not a great country we are a sadistic bunch of cowards

    • we have the legal right to intervene with lethal force when we see police committing crimes and illegal acts ……instead of pulling out our cameras and watching some one be injured a or possibly die and then waiting for the corrupt courts to do something we need to start pulling out our sidearms and defending our fellow citizens under attack ……..

      Only criminals should ever fear the cops the cops should be fearing the citizens they continuously abuse.

      • Zackknowitall

        Well that’s a bad approach bc we couldn’t know if the person being beat is an innocent person or a criminal who is trying to get away or hurt others. I would say to act on the spot could be bad but a hindsight approach would be better and easier to get away with.

        • Anonymous

          And, in some areas, the juries are full of copsuckers who will just turn around and refuse to convict, even in a civil case out of “fear of disparaging all cops”.

      • time and time again todays cops lie and claim they feared for their lives, then what the hell are they doing in law enforcement other than to abuse and murder innocent victims of police brutality ? if these pansy assed thugs are afraid of unarmed and often, handicapped victims of police abuse, put their ass inside of a prison and see what it is like to be a cop on the inside, where the real criminals and bad guys are. bet they would shit their pants in a heartbeat. they wouldn’t know what to do with a real bad guy.
        BTW I AM retired LEO and worked in a male prison and I am a woman and for those redneck cops out there, a Liberal, Female retired LEO.

  • TOPDOG1

    This is a severe ethics violation. He should position whatever Board the Judge is under in attempt to have him disbarred or impose sanctions. I wish more information on WHAT judge gave this order. I will ‘at least’ file a complaint.

  • 1blueadept2

    I have met the enemy, and it is the United States

    • we are the United States our enemy is the government that considers every citizen a suspect under the NSA. and a sea of un-elected pencil pushers that have armed themselves .

  • this is why we need to kill the lawyers and return to common sense right and wrong no sane human would ever consider allowing a animal to maul a human as justified.

    • Guy

      Sane ? You don’t have to be insane to enjoy dog fighting, chicken fights, bulls in the bullring, or proffesional fighting on T.V. Two thousand years age, the Romans threw people in the ring with bulls, bears and each other and today, we still enjoy our *Blood Sports” Now it’s sponsored by Budweiser Beer !

  • varlog

    So what is the difference between the dog, who they consider a police officer, and a cop? If the cop isn’t allowed to use deadly force, why is the dog allowed to maul people to death? He didn’t die but it sounds like if it had gone on much longer he may not have made it.

    And then require the guy so expose himself to the dog attack to get the cop to call off the attack, when he didn’t do anything to begin with. The only threat t that cop was his imagination.

    • Zackknowitall

      The cop would have died if I was the victim in this case.

  • sharkboy

    I’m s0o0o0 going to use this when I need to make a civil arrest on an officer of the law.

  • Zackknowitall

    I would have recovered from the dog attack then came back and killed as many cops as I could.

  • David Gibbs

    Judges are a big part of the problem!!!

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  • Amor Terra

    A few idiot judges, and a lot of idiot cops, need a lengthy visit from one of their canines.

  • 174thandvyse

    Cops? Cops are pigs!

  • how about we take that judge, or his family or anyone on the jury or their family-especially young children-they could be terrorists with bombs strapped on them you know or teens-crooks and drug dealers and let the police dog tear them ti shreds or kill then in a police dog attack and then see if they think it was justified then.

  • Gordon Klock

    The ‘logic’ to this, is completely ‘off the wall’. It’s like they are deliberately pushing us towards our graves, just to see how far we will let them, their intentions, toward the general populace, are clearly homicidal, in overall intent….if someone strikes one of these dogs that have their teeth buried in their flesh, they will be “guilty” of “assaulting an officer”, whereas they, (somewhat gratuitously,) kill people’s family dogs, with absolute impunity…
    The fact that a judge actually said all that, with a straight face, & that some people, actually accepted it, is damn scary right there….

    • estivito

      All this is to prepare you for the coming police state. ’30’s – 40’s Germany will look mild in comparison.

  • David Hall

    America is an Evil Empire with the most corruption of any Country on the planet. The thugs in blue are the SS of today. The Patriot act has stripped all of the constitutional rights & privacy. The Constitution is now toilet paper to wipe your a** with. Cops are the enforcers for the courts & Government.Soon will be 2,000 a year killed by the uneducated low IQ trigger happy killers, then 3,000, 4,000 etc.What they don’t kill they will cage or rob you. The CAF laws are a legal way to rob the citizens. They just keep building new prisons to hold anyone they deem to use a plant, as well they have brought back debtors prisons for the poor that can’t pay the illegal fines.

  • David Hall

    Thugs are trained professional liars. They are taught how to lie and write a narrative on paperwork always to their advantage. They are the biggest gang of low IQ gangs in America. They are all cowards and pussies that are afraid of their own shadows. They teach them to kill and worry about shite later. They always hire the bottom of the barrel with low IQ that will follow orders and commands from above. They never want a cop with analytical skills or able to De-escalate a situation to resolve an issue peacefully. They have to have revenue collectors and trigger happy psychopaths & sociopaths to cage, kill or collect your money or property. Cops are the filth of humanity. Cops in South Africa have a team that has not lost a hostage in 20 years, killed plenty of bad guys in the process. They are like the SWAT units here, but are a thousand times better. There and many places I have traveled are some of the bravest cops I have ever seen. They can do their jobs so damn much better, it is unreal. Some cops in other nations are better trained than even the Navy Seal team 6. And that is saying a hell of a lot. I talk to and have coffee with these guys here and they are true pros. I would put up one of these guys against 16 of the fat ass doughnut eating bullies in the U.S. and he would tear them a new asshole.

  • David Hall

    There is your effen Onus…the trigger happy killer cops. Everyone needs to download the ” Peace Officer “. Cops are and have not been peace officers in many years. They only know how to escalate a situation for arrest to gain revenue or to kill anyone that is not revenue worthy, or contempt of cop!.

  • Anonymous

    “Citizens are under no free-standing obligation to identify themselves to the police.” Just try telling THAT to the police!

  • Raimundo Gant

    Since the police work for the government, they can pretty much get away with anything nowadays

  • Sight Beyond Sight

    Starting to think that I should have become a police officer…

  • HOWARD ALEXANDER STAFFORD

    While this was a very egregious situation and the judge was foolish but more importantly I am very disturbed by the majority of the comments here. I support Blue Lives Matter because the women and men of law enforcement, by the vast majority, are honest, decent citizens who put heir lives on the line every day to protect our blessed values, culture and democratic society. God bless America and God bless our law enforcement. https://uploads.disquscdn.com/images/ddaec9665e9c784da5219663c36e3ff5698301cffc5233d1dc099628062f64e5.jpg

    • No cop is any better than the dirtiest cop on their force ……………………………the blue wall is a criminal consperacy

      • estivito

        Actually, x1,000.

      • HOWARD ALEXANDER STAFFORD

        You are an arrogant, ignorant asshole who is totally uninformed. Please crawl back in your hole where you can stew in your own vile hatred and please shut the hell up.

  • theoneandonlyridor

    Kill the Judges, lawyers & cops.

  • RocksCryOut

    I carry a knife and will stab an animal that attacks me, police dog or no.

    That being said, try getting this past the 9th circuit court of appeals. LOL! Good luck with that.

  • circlingthedrain

    The War on the Poor continues, unabated.

  • Valli Weidemann

    I want to know, when the courts defend these unconscionable actions of the cops and they found they did absolutely nothing wrong and absolutely everything within policy, why are these cases not used in future training to demonstrate the correct way to handle these exact situations. They’re 100% within policy after all, the courts just said so.

  • quadeddie

    So, according to these judges, a cop can put on claws and gouge and bite the shit out of you if they don’t feel safe? (which is pretty much every second of the day as we hear this constantly in police reports) A dog is a tool, strap-on claws can be a tool as well. These judges just allowed cops to do whatever they want whenever they want.

  • Jane domes

    While they are free to kill your dogs on your property while the animal is of no harm to anyone.