In yet another example on why calling the cops for help with a loved one is a bad idea, three New Mexico police officers were called by a mother to do a welfare check on her son because he had expressed suicidal thoughts.
But Clovis police showed up and sicced their police dog on him, sending him to the hospital for more than a week with a badly injured leg because he did not open the door to his apartment fast enough.
Dan Lucero's family is now suing.
It's important to understand that most cops lack the training and empathy to deal with mental illness in an appropriate manner. They tend to escalate matters rather than de-escalate. They are trained to hurt, not help. Keep that in mind when dialing 911.
The incident took place on February 19 after Lucero's mother called 911 for help with her son.
According to KOAT 7:
He does need help," Dan's mom is seen telling police. "He used to take a lot of meds and stuff before."
The officers proceed to go upstairs to the apartment where Lucero's is. They spend several minutes telling him to open the door.
"You're not in trouble man, I can assure you of that. We have to check your status and your welfare and we'll get out of your hair," an officer is seen telling Lucero in a lapel video.
Lucero reassures the officers that he's OK and then tells them he's going to grab his shoes and step outside the apartment, but the officers grow impatient.
"Come out here, Dan. The dog's going to bite you, Dan," Officer Brent Aguilar tells Lucero.
The cops then enter the apartment and allow the dog to attack Lucero, who was not armed nor threatening the cops in any way.
The owner of the dog, Clovis police officer Brent Aguilar, has been named in four separate lawsuits where he is accused of siccing his dog on innocent people, according to KOB 4.
Lucero needed to be transported to the hospital where he remained for nine days with a badly injured leg.
"They are being allowed to ignore the law without any accountability, and that's why a lawsuit like this is necessary," said Lucero's attorney, Matthew Coyte, who added that there was no legitimate reason to bring a police dog to a welfare check.
"Something has to happen. This officer needs to be educated. The Clovis Police Department needs to do something about it."