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St. Paul City Council approves $75,000 settlement in police dog attack

December 6, 2018

The St. Paul City Council on Wednesday approved a $75,000 settlement for a bystander who was mauled by a police K-9 that broke free of its handler and ignored multiple orders to halt its attack.

The agreement reached between the city and Glenn Slaughter did not address liability, but it comes on the heels of several high-profile police K-9 bites that prompted an audit of the K-9 unit and a dramatic overhaul of how the dogs are used.

I think its a positive step for everybody, said Andrew Noel, one of Slaughters attorneys. St. Paul kind of wanted to get in front of this case a little bit. Theyre trying to deal with these K-9 cases and move on.

The agreement was reached without the filing of a lawsuit or claim, although Slaughters attorneys had put the city on notice that a claim was likely.

The City Council convened an unusually prompt meeting in August, a month after the attack, to discuss the case because of its high profile.

The city wishes Mr. Slaughter well and takes full responsibility for the pain he endured from this regrettable incident, said St. Paul City Attorney Lyndsey Olson. An early settlement spares the Slaughter family the additional stress and costs of litigation.

Olson said that liability was not addressed in the settlement because it was reached without litigation.

Slaughter was leaving his East Side home for work on July 6 when K-9 Suttree broke free of its collar, ignored several commands from its handler, officer Mark Ross, and attacked Slaughter about 1:40 a.m.

Police were in the area looking for someone else at the time. Suttree and Ross were removed from the K-9 unit after the attack.

Noel said Slaughter, who could not be reached for comment, found a day job so he would not have to leave for work in the middle of the night.

Hes doing well, Noel said. It was a pretty traumatic experience.

Slaughter has some scarring from the attack but no permanent damage, Noel added.

Noel and attorney Bob Bennett won a $520,000 settlement in September for K-9 bite victim Desiree Collins, and a record $2 million in 2017 for victim Frank Baker.

Asked if the recent bite cases had changed how the city reviews K-9 bite claims, Olson said that every claim is reviewed on a case-by-case basis.

Former St. Paul police chief Bill Finney was tapped to oversee a six-month audit of the K-9 unit, and said Wednesday that he expected to provide his findings to Chief Todd Axtell soon.

A Star Tribune review of six years of K-9 bite cases showed that St. Paul K-9s were predominantly used on unarmed and nonviolent suspects, that the dogs regularly apprehended people with no additional verbal orders from handlers and that handlers often did not see a person until their dogs had already bitten the person.

Chao Xiong 612-270-4708 Twitter: @ChaoStrib

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