Cedar Rapids agrees to $50K to settle police dog attack suit

CEDAR RAPIDS, Iowa (AP) — The Cedar Rapids City Council has approved a $50,000 payment to settle a lawsuit brought by a man who said he was unjustly attacked by a city police dog last year.

The lawsuit was filed by Howard Cones, who said he was sleeping on a park bench in June 2018 when the dog, unprovoked, viciously attacked him, causing multiple bite wounds and blood loss.

The dog had been taken to the park by its handler for a training exercise when Cones was randomly attacked, the lawsuit said. The lawsuit accused the city and police officers of negligence in the training and handling of the dog.

The City Council approved the settlement last week, The Gazette reported.

A second lawsuit involving a city police dog attack on a 13-year-old boy last year is still pending.

The child’s mother has said in the lawsuit that her son went to spend the night at a friend’s house, but a miscommunication left him locked out of the house, and he fell asleep in the friend’s backyard. The child, who is Black, awoke to the dog attacking him and police yelling at him, his mother said.

At the time, police were pursuing four young Black people believed to be in a stolen vehicle who were thought to be in the same neighborhood as the child who was attacked, the family’s attorney has said. The child was treated for deep cuts at a hospital before being released without charges.

The lawsuit claims excessive use of force and racial discrimination by police.