Daniel Irish is suing Keith McNamara for attacking K9 “Thor”.
A Minnesota police officer is suing a sheriff’s deputy over a dog bite by a police-trained K-9 dog that he says shouldn’t have been off-leash.
Daniel Irish was an officer with the Champlin Police Department in March 2022 when he was called to assist Hennepin County Sheriff’s Deputy Keith McNamara in the arrest of a driver who fled a traffic stop. At the time, McNamara was operating a K-9 named Thor.
According to the complaint, around 2:30 p.m. on March 22, 2022, the suspect fled from law enforcement and lost control of his vehicle near a cemetery before fleeing on foot. Irish notes in the complaint that the cemetery was adjacent to an apartment complex and a special needs school on “an acre of outdoor space where one would reasonably expect to encounter the general public.”
Despite the likely presence of “any number of innocent civilians,” Irish says in the complaint, McNamara “used Thor off-leash to locate and apprehend the suspect” without giving any advance warning.
“Defendant McNamara knew that letting Thor off his leash to track and apprehend the suspect would result in Thor biting the first person he encountered,” the complaint reads.
According to the lawsuit, Thor attacked Irish almost immediately.
“Irish’s body worn camera (‘BWC’) shows Thor attacked him just as Irish opened the door of his squad car in Champlin to pursue the suspect on foot,” the complaint reads.
“I opened my squad door and tried to give orders to the suspect and suddenly the Hennepin County K-9 grabbed my left arm and started biting,” Irish said in his report of the day complaint. “I was trying to control the K-9 and give orders to the suspects as best I could while I was being bitten [sic] in the arms and legs.”
According to the complaint, body worn camera footage shows Thor disobeyed McNamara’s orders to release Irish.
The suspect had meanwhile fled the cemetery and crossed a ravine to get to an apartment complex – although he was eventually apprehended by Thor, who grabbed the suspect’s leg.
Irish insists in the complaint that McNamara carelessly allowed his canine partner to pursue the officer.
“McNamara intended Thor to grab the first person he met, Thor to grab the first person he met, and Irish was that person,” the complaint reads.
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Both the suspect, who was arrested, and Irish were taken to hospital, the complaint said. Irish received a tetanus shot and antibiotics, but later developed a severe skin infection that required further medication. He was also diagnosed with colitis, which medical records say could be due to the first antibiotic he was given.
Irish says he missed months of work due to his injuries, the resulting infections and the long-term effects that resulted. He alleges violations of his Fourth Amendment protections against excessive force and unreasonable confiscation, and is seeking an unspecified amount of damages, covering lost wages, medical and legal fees, and punitive damages.
“McNamara has caused Irish’s Fourth Amendment rights to be violated by his objectively unreasonable use and deployment of Thor and his failure to adequately warn Irish and others before unleashing the K9 to locate the suspect and arrest him,” the complaint reads. “McNamara subjected Irish to these deprivations, either maliciously or by recklessly disregarding whether his rights were being violated.”
A representative of the Champlin Police Department, which is not involved in the case, told Law&Crime that Irish left the department last year.
The Hennepin County Sheriff’s Office did not immediately respond to Law&Crime’s request for comment.
Read the complaint here.
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https://lawandcrime.com/lawsuit/police-officer-sues-sheriffs-deputy-over-attack-by-k-9-named-thor-during-suspect-chase/ Daniel Irish is suing Keith McNamara for attacking K9 “Thor”.