Prisoners Sue Virginia Department of Corrections Over Canine Attacks
Two prisoners have filed federal lawsuits against the Virginia Department of Corrections alleging that guards at the Sussex 1 State Prison and the Red Onion State Prison unmuzzled dogs to attack and maul them. The prisoners, Curtis Garrett and Corey Johnson, say they sustained significant injuries in the incidents.
The sickening details reflect a bigger problem: If a police dog is hurt “in the line of duty,” the person hurting the dog is charged with felony “assault on an officer.” But if a police dog mauls someone, it is generally treated as the victim’s fault—even when it clearly isn’t.
The first suit alleges that on December 25, 2020, Curtis Garrett returned to his Sussex 1 cell after an altercation with another prisoner. Within minutes, two Patrol Canine Unit officers brought dogs to Garrett’s cell. When Garrett turned around and put his hands behind his back, believing that he was about to be handcuffed and taken to solitary confinement, the officers unleashed the dogs and ordered them to attack him. “The two canines bit Mr. Garrett’s left arm and right leg while the two officers punched and kicked Mr. Garrett repeatedly,” the suit says. Garrett required dozens of stitches and suffered permanent nerve damage in his arm and leg.
The other incident took place at Red Onion State Prison, where Corey Johnson was also involved in an altercation with another prisoner. After guards fired several tear gas canisters at him, Johnson lay down on the ground. Instead of handcuffing him, the suit says, the guards shouted for their dogs to attack. The lawsuit alleges that “unlike the uneven, surface-level, or zigzag
Article from Reason.com