Man bitten by K-9 during end of chase in Downey had nothing to do with pursuit, witnesses say

Michelle Fisher Image
Thursday, December 15, 2022
Man bitten by K-9 after chase had nothing to do with pursuit: Witness
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A lengthy chase ended in a chaotic search for suspects at a Downey strip mall on Tuesday, but one moment is raising questions.

LOS ANGELES (KABC) -- A lengthy chase ended in a chaotic search for suspects at a Downey strip mall on Tuesday, but one moment is raising questions.

The chase ended near Imperial Highway and Paramount Boulevard at a liquor store.

Around that time, AIR7 HD captured a man with a baseball cap walking away from the liquor store when he was bitten by a K-9.

Witnesses, however, told ABC7 on Wednesday that man had nothing to do with the chase. They said the man's name is Angel and is a frequent customer of the liquor store.

They said he'd just stopped in to get a drink Tuesday night moments before police swarmed the area.

"My customer took the beer and the police dog bit him," said store owner Suran Jikh.

New video obtained by ABC7 shows the man handcuffed and on the ground. He's seen trying to talk to an officer at one point. The video shows him lifting his head and appears to tell officers, "It's not me. I didn't do it."

Experts said for Angel, this could mean possible legal action.

"K-9 bite is considered a high-level use of force incident, so they'll roll out a special team," said Bruce Thomas, an ABC7 law enforcement expert. "They will actually go to the hospital and try to mitigate the damages, meaning, 'We have a blank check, is this a good number for you?' and if not, then they may seek attorneys down the road and ultimately sue the county or city, depending on who owns that canine."

The man was ultimately treated for his wounds.

"They obviously will take the suspect to the hospital and get him treated, that's just part of the the requirement when the use of force is conducted by an officer," said Thomas.

California Highway Patrol said officers later found the driver and said a total of three people were taken into custody. They did not issue an update on the incident involving Angel and the K-9.

The agency said they were all inside the suspect vehicle during the chase.

The L.A. County Sheriff's Department says the driver was wanted for reckless driving, and deputies later discovered the car was linked to an armed robbery in El Monte.