A Utah man filed a lawsuit claiming a police dog chewed on his face after he attempted to surrender to officers over a disturbing the peace complaint.
Video recorded on an officer’s body camera shows the K-9 bite 33-year-old Martin Hoogveldt as he sat on a couch with his hands up, reported The Salt Lake Tribune.
Hoogveldt filed a lawsuit Wednesday against the West Jordan police department and Officer Ian Adams, claiming police entered his home illegally and used excessive force.
Neighbors called police March 24, 2013, and complained that Hoogveldt had burned a Christmas tree in a backyard trashcan.
Hoogveldt noticed three officers outside his home after going back inside, with two of them pointing guns at him and a third holding a German shepherd on a leash.
Adams, who was assigned to the K-9, ordered Hoogveldt to open his door – but the lawsuit claims he was too afraid to move out of fear that he would be shot.
Adams kicked the door down, and all three officers entered Hoogveldt’s home – and the suit claims they did not have a warrant.
Hoogveldt put up his hands, as Adams ordered him to do, and then the officer told him to stand – which he was unable to do without putting his hands down to allow him to get off the deep couch cushions.
Adams then ordered the K-9 to attack Hoogveldt, who still had his hands raised.
The video shows the dog, Pyro, bite and chew Hoogveldt’s face for several seconds as he screamed in pain before Adams finally was able to remove the K-9’s grip.
Other officers then used Tasers on Hoogveldt up to four times and then the dog bit him again, on the buttocks, on Adams’ command.
Hoogveldt later underwent $60,000 in plastic surgery to treat his injuries.
Police say they believed Hoogveldt posed a threat due to previous arrests for aggravated assault and because neighbors claim he threatened them with a knife during the Christmas tree burning.
He was charged with felony aggravated assault, and two misdemeanor counts of reckless burning and failure to remove flammable material around a fire.
Hoogveldt pleaded guilty in abeyance to reckless burning, and the other charges were dropped.
Adams was cleared last year in an investigation after shooting and wounding a man who was carrying a bent metal bar.
Watch video of the incident posted online by The Salt Lake Tribune: