A man who bit a police dog as it apprehended him for a burglary is suing two Arizona cities for violating his civil rights and using excessive force in his capture, the Arizona Republic reported Friday.
Erin Sullivan, 33, has filed a lawsuit against the cities of Phoenix and Glendale seeking $250,000 and $200,000 respectively from the two cities for his alleged mistreatment.
Sullivan accuses the Phoenix K-9 squad of going too far in his March 19, 2010 burglary arrest and the Glendale police of refusing to give him insulin to treat his diabetes, which the lawsuit says led to him suffering a seizure in his jail cell.
Sullivan was convicted of criminal trespassing, second-degree burglary and cruelty to animals over a Glendale burglary and subsequent tussle with a Phoenix police dog called Zeke during his arrest. He is now serving an eight-year prison sentence, the Republic reported.
His complaint alleges that it was unnecessary for police to deploy Zeke as he had surrendered, dropped to his knees and placed his hands behind his head.
“The dog bit Erin three to four times, resulting in Erin having over 40 staples put into his body to heal the wounds,” according to the complaint.
“When the dog went for Erin’s neck area, Erin felt his life was in danger and hit and bit the dog on its nose,” the suit added.
The bite to Zeke’s face required medical attention, police said at the time.
“Sullivan punched Zeke in the face then bit Zeke on his muzzle. Zeke then repositioned his bite to Sullivan’s upper left arm. Sullivan pulled Zeke’s face toward his and bit Zeke over his right eye,” a police report said.
Police officials from both cities declined to comment on the lawsuit. Court filings in the burglary case made no mention of any refusal of insulin or Sullivan suffering a seizure, the Republic said.