A Coquitlam man is suing the province and several RCMP officers after he claims he was viciously mauled by a police dog and denied medical attention in jail.
Stephen James Bell claims he suffered a serious bite to the thigh and a fractured arm when police set a dog on him after a 2014 domestic dispute.
His lawyer Doug King, with the Pivot Legal Society and campaigner for police accountability, says Bell was taken to hospital where police were told to give him antibiotics in jail and change his bandages.
“An officer was present for those instructions and relayed them to the jail, but when he was taken into custody none of those things happened. As a result, he received a very severe infection in his wounds and spent another two weeks in treatment in hospital for those wounds.”
Resulting injury and long-lasting conditions
Bell claims he needed two surgeries for the bite, which left him with nerve damage and a disfigured leg, along with anxiety, depression, and fear of dogs.
“It’s one of the worst police dog bite cases that we’ve seen… The injuries that Mr. Bell received are really quite traumatic and horrific, and I think it’s really quite shocking that he was taken into custody and not given any medical attention.”
The Ministry of Justice did not return a request for comment.
Details of the canine attack: civil claim
- “While the dog was biting the Plaintiff on the leg the Plaintiff asked the officers why the dog was biting him. The Plaintiff attempted to stay on his feet so the dog would not be able to bite him in the head and face area if he fell to the ground.”
- “The police dog began thrashing its head back and forth, causing considerable ripping and tearing of the Plaintiff’s leg. While the police dog was biting the Plaintiff [an officer] deployed a conducted energy weapon against the Plaintiff, causing the Plaintiff to fall to the ground.”
- “Police officers then jumped on the Plaintiff. At some point during the arrest, the Plaintiff believes he was struck by one of the officers, fracturing his right arm. The plaintiff was handcuffed, and after handcuffing the police service dog was commanded to release the Plaintiff.”
None of the claims have been proven in court.