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Suit claiming police ‘unleashed’ K-9 on sleeping man proceeds

November 30, 2017

The City of Indianapolis lost its bid to dismiss a lawsuit brought by a man who claims an officer “unleashed” a police dog on him as he slept, leading to serious injuries.

Charles W. Cooper sued the City of Indianapolis and Indianapolis Metro Police Officer Gregory Davis in July, alleging excessive force, unreasonable search and seizure, negligence, assault, battery and other causes of action against the city. Cooper claims — and IMPD admits in court filings — that in July 2015, Davis and other officers investigating a reported robbery unleashed a K-9 that “attacked and bit” Cooper.

Cooper claims he was sleeping on his grandmother’s porch when the dog was unleashed, and that he had done nothing necessitating the use of force. IMPD denies this in response to the complaint and asserts theories of immunity as affirmative defenses.

Chief Judge Jane Magnus-Stinson in the District Court for the Southern District of Indiana on Wednesday denied the city’s motion to dismiss Cooper’s suit, even though he did not reply to the city’s motion.

“The Court finds that Mr. Cooper has adequately alleged a Monell claim against the City. Mr. Cooper sets forth the individual treatment he received, alleges that Officer Davis and other employees ‘acted pursuant to official policy,’ and alleges that the City ‘had an official policy, procedure, or protocol authorizing its officers to use excessive force in situations such as described in this Complaint,’” Magnus-Stinson wrote. “At the motion to dismiss stage, this is enough to sufficiently state a §1983 claim against the City. ... Accordingly, the Court denies the City’s Motion to Dismiss.”

The case is Charles W. Cooper v. City of Indianapolis and Officer Gregory Davis, 1:17-cv-2467.

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