Coon Rapids, MN — An 81-year-old grandma was hospitalized last month after she was attacked by a police K9 while cleaning her shed in her own backyard. Police are now claiming that they ‘acted appropriately’ when they unleashed their dog on this innocent woman.
The Free Thought Project reported the incident when it happened in February. Now, the local news station has obtained the dashcam from the incident. It is nothing short of infuriating as the innocent woman is thrown in the back of the car after being bitten by a K9 and treated like a criminal.
Choua Xiong got up early on a Sunday morning last month to clean out her shed in her backyard. She had done nothing wrong and posed no threat, when police, looking for a ‘suspect’, entered her backyard without a warrant and unleashed their K9 on her.
According to police, a neighbor called 9-1-1 after she saw a suspicious person in a black coat in her backyard. The caller said she heard a loud noise outside but couldn’t tell where it came from. As police investigated, they entered Xiong’s yard and saw a person in her shed. That person was Xiong.
Xiong, who is hard of hearing, did not hear the officers calling for her to come out of the shed. According to police, they yelled for the ‘suspect’ to come out of the shed 10-15 times, however, no one emerged — so they unleashed the dog.
Instead of entering the shed to see if it could’ve been a child with headphones on — or an innocent old woman who was hard of hearing — police sent in their K9 to tear apart whoever it was that couldn’t hear their demands to come out.
The officers could’ve simply waited for the ‘suspect’ to come out of the shed as well. However, they chose to rush to violent escalation. From the time police entered Xiong’s back yard to the time they unleashed the K9 was less than 10 minutes.
“They didn’t see her in the storage. They just see the flashlight. That’s what they told us,” WaamXee Xiong, Xiong’s grandson said. “If you don’t see nothing and you just see some people inside, why did you let your K-9 go in there?”
To add insult to injury, after siccing the K9 on the 81-year-old grandma, they continued to treat her as a suspect. As she is bleeding profusely from the attack, Xiong was then dragged across the yard with so much force and violence that her knees were bruised and her ankle was sprained, according to her family. Part of this was captured on the dashcam which police appear to have edited before handing over.
When reviewing the video, the chief said the officers were ‘helping’ her across the yard. However, according to Xiong’s family, she was, in fact, dragged.
“Social media sort of took on a life of its own. A grandmother got bitten morphed into police dogs–multiple police dogs–mauled her, tore her clothes off, we drug her across the yard, all sorts of horrible things that never happened,” said Chief Wise. “It’s important that the video get out there… and put these rumors to rest.”
“We don’t like that we bit a grandmother,” said Chief Wise. “I don’t like that. We try and avoid those sorts of things.”
After they had captured their ‘suspect’, it took police nearly 30 minutes to realize that Xiong lived at the house. Thankfully, her grandson WaamXee showed up to tell the officer she’d been cleaning her shed. Forty minutes after being viciously attacked by a police dog and assaulted by police, Xiong was finally brought the hospital.
When news of the story was posted on social media, naturally, the residents of Coon Rapids expressed their outrage. However, the department responded by calling the incident unfortunate but quickly noted that the officers did everything right.
The department understands there is public concern on social media about the way this incident appears at first glance. However, with the facts the officers were dealing with at the time, including dispatch information and assessment of the scene, they responded to the incident in an appropriate manner. Officers are trained to speak clear, simple commands in the hopes that officers can be understood when they are dealing with people on calls. It is always our goal to have a safe outcome for all citizens and officers, no matter the circumstances….
The Coon Rapids Police Department takes reports of suspicious activity very seriously and appreciates the public’s help in alerting officers to suspicious situations. In this case, officers responded to the suspicious person report that occurred at a time of day and under circumstances that led officers to believe they were interrupting a burglary in progress. In this context, officers acted appropriately. Witness reports state K-9 warnings and yelling could be heard loudly in the area as several neighbors woke up to the noise and began turning lights on.
No officers have been disciplined in this case.
In the video below, WaamXee is seen confronting one of the officers involved in releasing the K9. He asks a pertinent question, “what would happen to me if I sicced a dog on your grandma?”
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