On January 30, 2015, a health food store in Henderson called the police after a disgruntled customer, attempting to return some protein powder, allegedly threatened to rob them. The store described the suspect to police as a black male wearing a black and tan t-shirt who left in an SUV.
As police responded to the call, they quickly stopped the first person they saw, who happened to be Arturo Arenas-Alvarez. Arenas-Alvarez had just pulled up in the shopping center to do some shopping when police drew their weapons and demanded he put his hands in the air and step toward them.
Arenas-Alvarez did not appear to understand why multiple armed men were pointing their guns at him, so one officer asked him in Spanish to approach the vehicle.
Before Arenas-Alvarez makes it all the way to the vehicle, officers realized they had the wrong guy.
“That’s not him, dude. That’s not a black man in a black shirt,” one officer said to another.
However, they continued the detainment.
Officers begin to assure Arenas-Alvarez that he will be fine. “They thought that you were involved in a robbery. You don’t look like the person, so it’s OK now, OK?” one officer said. However, nothing could have been further from the truth.
As officers were telling Arenas-Alvarez that he’ll be okay, Sgt. James Mitchell can be heard on the radio telling the officers, “Stand by a couple of minutes. K9-1 is about two minutes out.”
During the display of gross incompetence of mistaking Arenas-Alvarez for a black man in a black shirt, Arenas-Alvarez’s 17-month-old daughter, Ayleen was strapped into her car seat in the SUV.
Before Arenas-Alvarez could communicate to the officers that his infant daughter was in the car, the “two minutes” had passed and Sgt. Mitchell arrived with his Belgian Malinois. Almost as soon as he exited the vehicle, Mitchell released the K-9 into the SUV of an entirely innocent man and his daughter.
“My baby,” Arturo Arenas-Alvarez can be heard pleading with officers in broken English. “I’ve got my baby.”
An officer then yelled out, “There’s an infant in that car! There’s an infant in that car!”
But it was too late. By the time the cops realized that their immediate escalation to violence was unnecessary – the damage had been done.
Ayleen’s blood curdling and heart-wrenching screams of agony can be heard on the dashcam. The 4-year-old dog, Doerak, was ripping into the baby’s flesh. By the time the dog let go of the infant, her right arm had been mauled. She was left with nine puncture wounds and abrasions.
After the incident was over, Mitchell can be heard blaming his fellow officers for releasing the dog.
“God damn, guys, you gotta f**king tell me!” he yelled. But Mitchell didn’t give the other officers any time to tell him before letting loose the dog.
“The last forearm, the guy didn’t have anything left but bone,” Mitchell can be heard telling other officers in an apparent attempt to downplay the severity of what he just did.
On the dashcam one officer can be heard saying that their response to this incident of mistaking a man and his daughter for a completely different looking man was “solid” and it could’ve been much worse.
“All that happened was totally solid. Just a sh*tty set of circumstances that all rolled into — what could’ve been much worse. So just get that whole timeline out there,” the officer said.
After the incident, Mitchell and Doerak were taken off the street as a routine practice, similar to that of officer-involved shootings. However, since then, Doerak and Mitchell have been released back to regular duty.
For the purposeful mauling of their infant daughter, the city of Henderson agreed to pay the family a whopping $13,000 to settle their claim. But the family is unable to get the $8,537.69 (amount after legal fees) without a court order.
Below is the horrifying video of the incident which illustrates the sheer violent and unaccountable nature of police in the US.
WARNING: Video is disturbing. Viewer discretion is advised.