Man bitten by K-9 sues deputies, county for alleged civil rights violation

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RED WING, Minn. — A Red Wing man bitten by a K-9 in his garage last year is suing two Goodhue County Sheriff's deputies, two department supervisors and the county.

The deputies subjected James Sutherland, who was 83 at the time of the incident, to excessive force and unreasonable seizure in violation of his Fourth Amendment rights, according to the lawsuit filed Nov. 22 in federal district court.

The suit alleges deputies improperly deployed and controlled K-9 Ambush while searching for a suspect in a reported assault near an Old West Main Street business Nov. 16, 2016. Sutherland, who was not a suspect and did not match the description of the suspect, was sitting in his garage listening to music when Ambush turned the corner and bit into his right arm, according to the civil complaint. The suit also alleges county supervisory personnel acted indifferently to training and monitoring of K-9s and their handlers.

Sutherland sustained multiple puncture and tear wounds to his arm and underwent a skin graft, according to court documents. He is seeking compensatory and punitive damages as well as an order mandating discipline for the two deputies and policy changes for the county's K-9 program. The suit demands a jury trial.

Legal counsel has advised Goodhue County authorities not to speak about the case.