LAKEWOOD, Colo. – A 26-year-old man is suing multiple Lakewood police officers and alleging they ordered a K-9 to attack him while he slept at his home, leaving him with severe cuts across his throat that nearly killed him.
Spencer Erickson’s attorneys filed the lawsuit in the U.S. District Court of Colorado in Denver on Friday.
The suit – which also alleged the K-9 had previously attacked a Lakewood officer during training – named the City of Lakewood, along with the officers involved in the incident: Ryan O’Hayre, Edward Baggs, Justin Richards, Kennadee Bleak, Matthew Christensen, John Terrana.
The suit accused the officers of sending a K-9 into Erickson’s bedroom on Sept. 21, 2018, with orders to attack Erickson.
Lakewood police declined to comment on the lawsuit Friday, saying they couldn’t speak about pending litigation. A police report of the incident was not immediately available: Lakewood police asked for Denver7 to submit a Colorado Open Records Request, in writing and in person, to receive the report in 7-10 business days. Typically, police reports are emailed or delivered to media within hours of a request.
The officers were at Erickson’s home to arrest him on “low-level non-violent warrants,” including failing to appear in court on DUI and criminal mischief charges, the lawsuit said.
Adam Frank, Erickson’s attorney, said Erickson had no history of violence and was asleep when officers arrived.
“For reasons we can’t fathom, other than this is how Lakewood told their officers to respond, they decide to respond in full force. They show up with at least six police officers and a police dog and treat this like a tactical assault,” Frank said. “They had absolutely no justification for that. This dog is trained to attack. This dog’s role is to find someone and bite them as hard as it can to subdue them.”
The lawsuit alleged the K-9, known as Finn, was known to be a “dangerous dog” before the incident at Erickson’s home. The dog had attacked an officer during training, causing the officer to miss a month of work, the lawsuit said.
The lawsuit included photos of Erickson after the attack, showing severe lacerations to his throat, cuts on the side of his neck and an injury to his shoulder.
The lawsuit said the cuts on his neck were 6-7 centimeters long and 5-7.5 centimeters deep, “resulting in exposed and lacerated muscle tissue and an exposed jugular vein.”
If the cuts were just millimeters deeper, Erickson would have died, the lawsuit said. It called the attack “near murder.”
Nearly a year later, Erickson continues to suffer pain and injuries from the attack, the lawsuit says, and he was diagnosed with post traumatic stress disorder.
“The massive scarring on Mr. Erickson’s neck makes it appear to anyone he meets that he either tried to kill himself or that someone tried to kill him,” the lawsuit said.
Read the rest and see the pics here: https://www.thedenverchannel.com/news/local-news/near-murder-lawsuit-says-police-ordered-k-9-to-attack-lakewood-man-as-he-slept-in-his-room