Riviera Beach, FL — Instead of simply doing his time for his crime, a Florida man, who is currently in jail for burglary, will likely be receiving $400,000 of taxpayer money because a sadistic cop sicced his K-9 on him as he surrendered. Kwamain Diondre O’Neal, now serving seven years for attempted burglary and fleeing or attempting to elude, has served notice that he seeks damages of $400,000 for the gruesome incident.
The savage mauling was captured on officer John Vanderlaan’s body camera as he sicced his K-9 on O’Neal while he was surrendering. As the officer’s K-9 tore the flesh from O’Neal’s body, the officer praised his dog, telling him “Good boy! Good Boy!”
As the body camera footage shows, O’Neal had his hands up, saying he was surrendering and begged Vanderlaan to keep the K-9 at bay. But the officer did not hold the dog back.
As the Palm Beach Post reports, an Internal Affairs investigation led the city to suspend Vanderlaan for 84 hours and require 40 hours of remedial training in dog-handling. The city transferred him out of the K-9 unit in December 2018.
Despite the suspension and the gruesome video, the city declined to file criminal charges against Vanderlaan. An investigator for the State Attorney’s Office Public Corruption Unit, Sgt. Jerry Lamm, on March 5, 2020, agreed, finding “no evidence to dispute the findings of the Riviera Beach Police Department.”
According to the police report, the incident unfolded on Oct 8, 2018 when Vanderlaan attempted to pull over a Ford F-150 in which O’Neal, then 29, and another person were riding.
A Riviera Beach police report, written by Vanderlaan, said he had spotted the pickup driving west in the 1200 block of Blue Heron Boulevard with its lights off. He said he activated his lights and sirens but the truck sped up to 60 mph in a neighborhood with a 25 mph speed limit, then ran three stop signs.
Vanderlaan wrote he was about to break off his pursuit, out of concern for other motorists, when the truck ran a red light at Blue Heron and Avenue 0 and slammed into a 2017 Volkswagen Tiguan, then caromed into the parking lot of the FedEx complex at 1177 West Blue Heron.
The driver of the Volkswagen was taken to St. Mary’s Medical Center in West Palm Beach for unspecified injuries.
When police caught up to O’Neal, he was on top of an awning at a local Fedex building. As the video shows, O’Neal has his hands in the air while Vanderlaan is telling him to come down.
O’Neal responds, “You got it, don’t let the dog bite me. Please don’t let the dog bite me!”
Despite the unarmed O’Neal surrendering to the officer, Vanderlaan pulled him down and then sicced his K-9 on O’Neal. The man’s screams are hard to listen to as the K-9 rips the flesh from his arm.
As the dog continues to shred O’Neal’s left arm, the officer praises his dog, telling him “Good Boy!”
The pain of having his bicep torn from his bone was apparently so unbearable that O’Neal passed out and went completely limp as the dog continued to tear him to shreds.
Vanderlaan claimed that he may be faking it, as if it is possible to go limp as a K-9 tears into your flesh.
“Check for a pulse. Make sure he ain’t fakin’ it,” an officer can be heard saying on the video.
Instead of going to jail for the burglary he had just committed, O’Neal was transported to St. Mary’s Medical Center where he was treated for the “great bodily harm” inflicted on him by Vanderlaan’s K-9.
“The force used by the K9 Officer and Vanderlaan was clearly excessive,” attorney Zedrick Barber II said in a letter to the city on Feb. 7. “As a result of Vanderlaan, the K-9 and the city’s unlawful acts and indifference for Mr. O’Neal’s well-being, Mr. O’Neal suffered great bodily harm requiring immediate medical treatment and leaving irreparable and permanent scarring.”
After the incident, a supervisor ruled Vanderlaan’s handling of the K-9 “violated the department’s excessive use of countermeasures, resulting in injury,” according to a release from the city.
A statement from Vanderlaan later admitted the fault, noting that, “In hindsight, what I should’ve done was hold the dog and just wait for him to come down. I should’ve taken the initiative and told somebody to come over here and do it and I didn’t.”
And now, because this cop decided to have his K-9 maul a surrendering man, the taxpayers of Riviera Beach will be giving a convicted criminal $400,000.