Monday night Houston police attempted to stop a driver for erratic driving, but the suspect fled for about 60 miles before Texas Highway Patrol eventually deflated all four tires on the suspect vehicle. The driver continued to try to evade just on the rims as the chase reached up to 90 miles per hour. The car chase ended in Shepard, Texas when the suspect could no longer drive his vehicle on the rims. The chase started in Harris County but went through three other counties before it was ended.
The suspect fled from police on foot. Reportedly, a Houston Police K-9 dog apprehended the man and incapacitated him with bites. The man was treated at a hospital for the dog bite injuries and then was booked into jail. The driver was suspected to have been intoxicated. Charges are pending, including DWI.
Are Dog Attacks on Fleeing Suspects Reasonable?
The use of vicious dogs to assist in the apprehension of fleeing suspects is not uncommon. The use of force by police, including the use of dog attacks, is governed by the Fourth Amendment protection from unreasonable seizures. Since an arrest is a police seizure, the law does require those seizures to be conducted reasonably. Police excessive force cases are analyzed under the rules of the Fourth Amendment in terms of whether injuries caused by the force amounts to a violation of civil rights.
The courts, of course, will examine the nature of the suspected crime, the behavior of the suspect while fleeing, and other factors in determining if the use of an attack dog is reasonable. There are few fixed rules on police use of force. Cases are judged individually as they come up.
What do you think about the use of K-9s to catch suspects who have done nothing violent? Let us know with a comment below!