Reno, NV — In the land of the free, kneeling down, placing your hands on your head and submitting to your police captors, can and will be met with horrifyingly gruesome tactics. Eugenio Corona found this out the hard way in January when he surrendered to authorities over an alleged parole violation and in response, they forced their K9 to brutally maul him.
Corona's lawyer, Terri Keyser-Cooper filed a civil rights lawsuit in July against the deputies who sicced the dog on him after he surrendered. And, in record time, Washoe County offered to settle the case. Naturally, it was the taxpayers held liable and not the cops.
"We thought it was saving taxpayer dollars to settle it for the amount we did rather than go through to trial," Deputy District Attorney Keith Munro said. "We thought the officers would be vindicated, but it would cost considerably more to have them vindicated."
According to USA Today, Corona sued the deputies individually and did not sue Washoe County. But because the deputies were sued for something that happened while they were working, the county paid for their defense and will pay the settlement amount to Corona.
Keyser-Cooper, who specializes in civil rights violation cases by police, noted how unusually fast the county settled.
"It is very unusual for law enforcement defendants to make a substantial offer of judgment in the infancy of the case," she said. "In 32 years of practicing civil rights law I have never seen that before."
Keyser-Cooper said that the quick settlement was likely due to the fact that the entire disgusting scenario was captured on the officer's dashcam and there is no disputing it.
"It is unconstitutional to use more force than is necessary in a given situation," Keyser-Cooper said. "When a suspect surrenders, on the ground, kneeling, with hands above his head and a vicious attack dog is then unleashed to maul him, that is horrendous.
"That is why they paid so quickly."
However, despite paying quickly, for being unnecessarily mauled by a K9 as he surrendered, Corona received just $17,500.
The lawsuit stemmed from a chase in January, the end of which was captured on the officer's dashcam.
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Corona had violated the terms and conditions of his parole when he was alleged to have been in possession of methamphetamine and a firearm. Instead of returning to prison, he fled, forcing the Marshals to come looking for him.
Washoe deputies caught up with Corona, and a car chase ensued but ended as soon as Corona stopped. He exited the car, got on his knees, and in typical prison submission fashion, interlocked his hands behind his head.
However, instead of simply walking over and placing the wanted man in handcuffs—which would have seemingly been easy considering he was in the position of surrender— Corona's lawyers say Washoe police proceeded to sic their dog on him as punishment.
For surrendering, he was tortured.
Washoe County sheriff's deputies Jason Wood and Francisco Gamboa both refused to admit liability and also claimed that Corona was not injured during the attack. When watching the video below, both of these claims are laughable.
In the video, Corona can be seen kneeling on the ground, hands locked behind his head. The cars roll up and stop, then a dog runs over and attacks Corona, clamping down on his arm and tearing into him.
Wood's command to "get that bad guy" was followed by the comments officers are trained to say when they want to punch someone: "stop resisting." It is clear to see that Corona was in no way "resisting," even when his arm and chest were being mauled by the attack dog.
This raises the question—were the officers lying when they yelled for Corona to "stop resisting," or were they just attempting to legally protect themselves while they punched him in the face?
Judging from their claims over the lawsuit, it is more likely than not that they were simply lying to cover their rear-ends.
As The Free Thought Project has reported, police sometimes use their K9 officers—or police dogs—as a form of cruel punishment against suspects. On one occasion in May, a police officer in Pennsylvania allowed his attack dog to maul a compliant man and then bragged to a dispatcher about the injuries the suspect sustained.