A man who says a Pierce County sheriff’s deputy unnecessarily sicced a police dog on him is suing the county for damages.
Ronald Jones contends in a lawsuit filed last week in Superior Court that deputy Brett Karhu used excessive force against him the night of Feb. 6, 2011, when he set the dog Oni on him.
“Plaintiff at no time acted aggressively towards Oni or deputy Karhu, posed no risk to them, did not at any time refuse to obey or ignore orders given to him, or in any way attempt to flee,” Jones said in his lawsuit, which was filed on his behalf by attorney Antoni Froehling.
Jones was hospitalized for several days and had to have surgery to repair injuries the dog inflicted, his lawsuit states.
He seeks unspecified damages for medical expenses, loss of income and emotional distress.
The Sheriff’s Department disputes nearly all of Jones’ assertions, spokesman Ed Troyer said. Jones has a criminal record and was known to run from law enforcement when confronted with arrest, he said.
“That guy’s been in jail over 25 times,” Troyer said. “He had a felony warrant, which our guys were trying to serve. We believe he was sneaking out the back door to run away again.”
The incident occurred at a house in the 15700 block of 62nd Avenue East in Puyallup. Jones was wanted at the time on a warrant charging him with failing to report to court-ordered supervision.
He contends he was going out the back door of the house to smoke a cigarette when two deputies knocked on the front door. Unbeknownst to Jones, Karhu and Oni were stationed at the back door, the lawsuit states.
“As plaintiff stepped outside and before he moved from the area immediately adjacent to the door, defendant Karhu, without warning, released Oni off his leash and directed Oni to make contact with the plaintiff,” the lawsuit states.
Karhu and Oni remain on duty, Troyer said.