California cops who sicced a police dog on a naked man tripping on LSD, allowing the dog to maul him for more than 40 seconds while officers held him down, claimed they had no way of knowing if he was unarmed despite body cam video showing he had nowhere to hide a weapon in his nakedness.
But the city of San Diego opted to pay David Aceves a $385,000 settlement last week anyway, apparently realizing no jury in the world would buy that argument.
Aceves, 26, was hospitalized for more than two weeks as a result of the mauling after a large piece of skin was torn from the underlying tissue on his calf causing what doctors call a “large degloving injury.”
The incident took place on August 15, 2015 when San Diego police were responding to calls about a naked man screaming and running through a canyon.
An excessive force lawsuit filed in April 2016 that doesn’t name the individual cops involved, states police encountered Aceves at around 8:30 a.m. walking through a canyon park in La Jolla, disoriented from being under the influence of LSD after a hard night of partying, which Aceves admits is true.
Officers give commands telling him to walk up the hillside toward them.
Aceves complies with their initial wishes, but replies “no” after they order him to turn around.
That’s when a K-9 officer sics a police dog on him.
The dog’s attack takes Aceves to the ground and four officers quickly pin him to the ground, but allow the dog to continue mauling his leg for about 45-seconds while other cops work to cuff him even though Aceves had already been subdued, lying flat on his stomach.
The dog thrashes its head like a shark as its teeth rip through Aceves’ skin.
Blood can be seen dripping from its mouth when officers finally stop the attack.
San Diego Police Department spokesman Lt. Scott Wahl stated siccing the dog on Aceves was to keep the situation from escalating.
“This video shows the agitated and defiant demeanor of a man under the influence of LSD. When played in its entirety, the video shows our officers trying to gain his compliance before he became defiant. While the split second decisions of police officers are easy to second guess when you know the outcome, keep in mind the deployment of our K9 is intended to prevent the situation from escalating.”
In its response to Aceves’ lawsuit, attorneys for the officers denied “generally and specifically, that Plaintiff was unarmed” and that the officers’ actions were “reasonable, lawful, based on probable cause and within the scope of their official duties and employment.”
Aceves owned up to his mistakes that led to the cops being called in the first place, but says the excessive force used against him was unnecessary.
“I take some responsibility because I was under the influence,” he recalled “But nothing justifies the cops use of such force.”
Aceves, a San Antonio resident visiting San Diego for a business convention, was never charged with a crime.