A Florida cop named Lee Coel chased a man down on a bicycle and allowed his service dog maul the man, even though the man was not resisting.
The man’s crime: he did not have a light on his bicycle.
The man’s punishment: 11 days in the hospital where he had to undergo surgery to repair his latissimus dorsi muscle that had been ripped apart by the dog, followed by almost three months in the county jail.
But now a Florida lawyer who has obtained a dash cam video of the incident is preparing to sue the Punta Gorda Police Department for the attack.
“They are a very good police department but this cop is not good,” said Scott Weinberg in a telephone interview with Photography is Not a Crime, who has filed a notice of intent to sue on behalf of the victim, Richard Schumacher.
“He acts like he’s invading Fallujah every time he does a traffic stop. He has a notorious reputation.”
The incident took place on October 30, 2015 when Punta Gorda police officer Lee Coel spotted Richard Schumacher riding his bicycle without a bicycle light.
“Yo! Sir. On the bike. Stop now or I’ll send the dog,” shouted Coel to Schumacher, who did not stop, prompting Coel to pursue him in his car.
A few blocks later, Coel pulls up behind Schumacher and repeats, “Stop now or I’ll send the dog.”
Schumacher comes to a stop and steps off his bicycle and stands in front of the patrol car.
“Get on your knees, do it now,” Coel orders as his dog, Spirit, can be heard barking from the backseat.
Schumacher remains standing for more than a minute with his hands in the air, at times flipping the cop off, before he gets down on one knee.
“Get down on your face,” Coel then orders. “Get down on your chest.”
Schumacher remains on one knees, which was when Coel releases the dog, who runs up to the suspect and begins attacking.
With the dog’s jaws attached to Schumacher’s right lateral muscle, Coel runs up and grabs hold of Schumacher’s left arm, telling him to get down on his face and to stop resisting.
“Get the dog off me,” Schumacher yells.
“Lay down on your chest, do it now,” Coel yells while planting one knee on Schumacher’s stomach, making it impossible for him to turn around.
In his police report, which can be read here, Coel claimed that Schumacher kept hiding his arm behind his back, making him fear for his safety. He also said he attempted to handcuff Schumacher, who began resisting, which was when he released the dog.
But the video proves he lied on the report.
Schumacher was charged with fleeing and eluding, resisting arrest without violence and DUI, but ended up pleading to the two latter charges in exchange for having the first charge dropped.
But that took place before the video was released.
The first video below is the edited version of the video that condenses the action, the second video is the full, unedited version.