Personal Injury Claims Follow "Unprovoked" Police Dog Attacks
By Gerri Elder
A second lawsuit has been filed against the Bristol, Connecticut police department claiming that Officer Greg Blackinton's former K-9, Bosco, viciously attacked someone for no reason. The police dog was shot and killed in 2005 when he attacked a uniformed police officer at the scene of a crime, intentionally causing personal injury.
The first lawsuit regarding the police dog was filed in July by Moussay Ortiz. Ortiz alleges in his lawsuit against Blackinton and the city, that in November, 2005 he was attacked and bitten by the police dog and suffered severe bite wounds. Ortiz says he was hiding from police, and claims he was not a threat. He says that the dog could have been sent to find him, but not allowed to attack him. The lawsuit says that Blackinton deliberately sent the dog to attack and injure him because Ortiz had earlier complained of police brutality by another officer. He is seeking damages for the serious injuries he says the dog caused him.
The second lawsuit was filed by Casey LeBlanc, who claims that Bosco attacked him on November 1, 2005 without being provoked in any way. He says in the suit that he sustained serious injuries and permanent physical damage as a result of the attack.
LeBlanc's lawsuit does not go into detail about what happened before the dog attacked him and does not give any details about when and where the incident occurred other than the date. The suit does state that LeBlanc was not committing any crime or trespassing. He says he was not abusing the animal, taunting or tormenting him. LeBlanc was not arrested or accused of criminal behavior and the incident did not take place at a crime scene.
The lawsuit charges Blackinton with negligence for releasing the dog while LeBlanc was nearby and failing to control Bosco. LeBlanc says that Blackinton was negligent because he did nothing to prevent the dog from attacking him and that he knew that Bosco was too aggressive for police work.
LeBlanc suffered bite wounds that left him with permanent disabilities and scarring on his legs and left hand, according to the suit. He also says that he suffered psychological trauma from the attack.
Police Chief John DiVenere says he does not recall the incident and has not yet seen the lawsuit.
Bosco was killed at the scene of a house burglary in December, 2005. He had bitten veteran Officer Bryan Aleia once and was running at him again when Aleia shot him. Blackinton was reprimanded for letting the dog run loose through the burglarized house before making sure the windows and doors were closed. Bosco was supposed to be looking for the burglar inside the house, but instead ran outside through an open door and attacked Aleia in the backyard.
Blackinton now serves on the police force without a K-9 unit. There have been several additional dog handlers trained by the police department since Bosco was shot, but Blackinton is on regular patrol duties.