OAKLEY -- An Oakley man is seeking over $500,000 in damages after a November incident where he said he was bitten 56 times by a police dog and was kept in handcuffs even after a crime victim told police they had "the wrong guy," according to court documents.
In the complaint filed June 4, Daniel Rodriguez seeks damages from Contra Costa County, the cities of Oakley and Pittsburg and their police departments, and Oakley police Officer Roger Canady for a November 25, 2012, incident in which he claims he was brutally attacked after he was stopped on his way home from work by Canady, who was assisting in a search for a suspect in a liquor store robbery a short distance away.
Rodriguez, who said he was working as a handyman at a local motel, was approached by Canady in his police cruiser and told to get on the ground, according to the complaint.
Rodriguez says in the complaint that he complied, but when he asked why he was being detained, Canady ignored him and instead instructed his police dog to circle him before Canady ordered his dog to attack.
As Canady's dog bit Rodriguez, officers from both the Oakley and the Pittsburg police departments arrived, drew their guns and shouted orders while Rodriguez both attempted to comply and defend himself against the dog, according to the suit.
Police continued to allow the dog to attack before it was pulled off, Rodriguez said in the court documents. When the store owner was brought over to identify Rodriguez as the suspect, he told police, "You have the wrong guy."
Police stayed at the scene and began insulting Rodriguez instead of continuing their search for the suspect, the claim states. When paramedics arrived to treat Rodriguez, one of them laughed and said, "He looks like a criminal," according to the suit.
Rodriguez refused treatment from the paramedic; family members took him back to the motel where he worked and called an ambulance. He was taken to Sutter Delta Medical Center, where he was treated for roughly 56 puncture wounds on his neck, arms and biceps, according to court documents.
Rodriguez is seeking punitive damages for excessive force, assault and battery, negligence and intentional infliction of emotional distress, and $25,000 for each violation of the California civil code.
Officials at the Oakley Police Department referred a call for comment to Contra Costa County, with whom the city contracts police services. A county spokesman did not immediately respond. Rodriguez's lawyer was out of the country and unavailable for comment.