New Orleans, LA (PRWEB) July 31, 2013
Most police dogs are well-trained animals, and they can be useful law enforcement tools—but when they’re used as an instrument of force, that force must be justified.
New Orleans criminal defense lawyer Elizabeth B. Carpenter recently announced the expansion of her services to include representation of individuals who have been bitten or otherwise injured as the result of an unjustified or improperly handled police dog attack, and who are entitled to monetary damages surrounding the injury.
“On its own, a bite from a police dog is not sufficient reason to sue—there are sometimes justifications for a bite,” Carpenter said. “But there are other issues at hand: if the dog has a history of misbehaving, for instance, or if you were already subdued and the officers set the dog on you anyway, then you likely have a case.”
When police officers use a police dog in the course of apprehending a suspect, they are required to alert the suspect that there is a dog on the ground—just as they would be required to warn the suspect if they were to draw their gun—and they have a duty to call the dog off once the suspect has been subdued. Police dogs are not allowed to attack people who are not involved in the act of committing a crime or who are not suspects of an unlawful act.
Generally, improper police procedure regarding police dogs is a negligence problem: either the officers involved have been negligent in their use of the dog, or the police department itself has been negligent in terms of training the officers and/or the dog.
The dog’s past behavior is also relevant, Carpenter explained: “You have to look at the number of times a dog has bitten an individual on duty. If they bite 50 percent of the time they’re on the ground, that’s considered excessive.” The severity of the bite, how many times the individual was bitten, and where they were bitten all have bearing on the case as well, she said.
“I’m offering this service so that victims of improper police procedure are able to seek the legal recourse they deserve,” Carpenter said. “If you were involved in a situation where an officer’s use of a police dog was inappropriate or resulted in unnecessary injuries, the law is on your side—and so am I.”
ABOUT ELIZABETH B. CARPENTER, ESQ.
Elizabeth B. Carpenter, Esq. is an experienced New Orleans criminal defense attorney. She received her Juris Doctorate from Loyola University Law School, and is a member and supporter of the Louisiana State Bar Association, Louisiana Association for Criminal Defense Lawyers, and National Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers. Her law offices have successfully represented clients in Orleans, Jefferson, Lafayette, Plaquemines, St. John, St. Tammany and St. Charles Parishes. Carpenter’s mission is to provide clients with exceptional, personalized, and professional service.