RENO, Nev. (AP) — A Nevada man who said two deputies used excessive force and violated his civil rights by siccing a police dog on him has been awarded $17,500 in an excessive force lawsuit.

Eugenio Corona sued the Washoe County deputies in July, claiming they ordered the dog to attack him after he had already surrendered, the Reno Gazette-Journal reported ( ) earlier this week.

Washoe County offered to settle the case rather than go to trial in an effort to save taxpayer dollars, Deputy District Attorney Keith Munro said.

"We thought the officers would be vindicated, but it would cost considerably more to have them vindicated," Munro said.

Corona sued the deputies individually and did not sue Washoe County. But because the deputies were sued for something that happened while they were working, the county paid for their defense and will pay the settlement amount to Corona.

Corona's lawyer Terri Keyser-Cooper, who has built a practice on bringing civil rights lawsuits against police agencies in Northern Nevada, said it's unusual for an agency to offer to settle so quickly.

"It is very unusual for law enforcement defendants to make a substantial offer of judgment in the infancy of the case," she said. "In 32 years of practicing civil rights law I have never seen that before."

The lawsuit stemmed from a police chase in January when the deputies attempted to arrest Corona on a federal warrant.

Corona led the deputies on a high-speed chase before he crashed, got out of the vehicle and kneeled with his hands on his head.

Deputies said he fired a handgun out the window of his truck at one point during the chase.

As Corona knelt on the ground, deputy Jason Wood unleashed his police dog on him, telling the dog to "get that bad guy."

Corona remains at the Washoe County Jail while he faces trial on charges he violated his probation by possessing a gun and methamphetamine.


Information from: Reno Gazette-Journal,