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Man Bites Dog, Sues Police for Excessive Force

By Stephanie Rabiner, Esq. | Last updated on

Man Bites Dog is kind of like a disturbing version of the television show Man v. Food.

You know, man sets his sights on a big food offering that no one should ever eat, and then proceeds to try his hand at consuming it all.

Man Bites Dog clearly isn't a TV show--PETA would never stand for it--but it is a true story.

Indeed, would-be burglar Erin Sullivan bit a police dog on the nose earlier this week after it bit him.

Erin Sullivan broke into a Glendale, Arizona home, but made a quick escape after finding that the homeowner was inside. Even after being ordered to stop at gunpoint, he continued to flee from the police.

Eventually, Sullivan hid under a little dog house (how appropriate!), according to the complaint. When officers walked by, he unveiled himself, but was ordered to freeze by officers in a helicopter.

As he was following instructions, crawling backwards, the dog attacked him, reports the Arizona New Times.

He bit back. He says he was afraid for his life.

The complaint also alleges that the Glendale City Jail failed to provide him with insulin, notes the paper. This resulted in a seizure.

Erin Sullivan is now suing the police department for negligence, excessive force, and other constitutional claims.

Police departments have immunity for some injuries caused by police dogs, which means that Sullivan may not be able to recover for the dog bites. He, however, may be able to recover for the excessive force should the facts turn out in his favor.

As for the seizure, that appears to be a much more viable claim, as he alleges he was denied his constitutional rights to medical care while in state custody.

Keep in mind, however, that the police department has yet to respond, meaning that no one knows the officers' side of the story. Plus, Erin Sullivan bit a dog. Who knows if you can trust him?

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