Indiana

Judge Rules Against Woman Mauled by Police Dog Because She Wasn't the Intended Target

Mara Mancini was seven months pregnant when she was attacked by a police dog chasing a suspect on foot.

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|||Janahorova/Dreamstime.com
Janahorova/Dreamstime.com

On a Thursday night in July 2015, an Indianapolis police dog named Scooter was chasing a suspect on foot. After the suspect ran into Mara Mancini's yard, she heard her own dogs barking and stepped onto her back porch to investigate. That's when Scooter attacked Mancini, who was seven months pregnant at the time. He bit her repeatedly, tearing pieces of flesh out of her arms and thighs. She underwent several surgeries as a result of the attack.

Last week a federal judge rejected a lawsuit in which Mancini claimed the dog attack violated the Fourth Amendment's ban on unreasonable searches and seizures. "Mancini and her son K.C. suffered horrendous injuries and a grievous lack of discretion by the officers," wrote Judge Tanya Walton Pratt of the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of Indiana. But Pratt concluded that the attack was not a constitutional violation because Mancini was not the intended target of the chase.

Under Indiana Code 15-20-1-3, the owner of a dog that bites a person without provocation is liable for all damages. But the statute makes an exception for dogs owned by and performing duties on behalf of law enforcement agencies.

Jon Little, Mancini's attorney, said she may appeal Pratt's ruling. A state lawsuit related to the incident is still pending. Until then, Mancini will have to deal with irreparable nerve damage to her arm and medical bills that may force her into bankruptcy.

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  1. Are there any legitimate uses for police dogs?

    1. Was it Caligula who appointed a horse to the Senate?

      I suggest that is the apt comparison of police treating their dogs as fellow thugs.

    2. These are attack dogs.

      Police dogs would be more like blood hounds to find suspects.

      These types of dogs are used on military based to find intruders and attack them.

      Fits right in with the militarization of American police agencies.

      1. That is what I thought.

        I figured, probably the hounds who can find missing persons (suspects or victims). Maybe explosive sniffing dogs too; maybe explosives are serious enough that they’re going to resist the temptation to fuck with their alerts and just use them as walking 4A waivers.

        1. Some of the best dog noses are timid/small breeds.

          Dogs with best sense of smell

          The military uses Belgien Malinois and those fucking dogs are good attack dogs too. They wrap their front legs around one of your legs and bite the shit out of your arm or any flesh they can reach.

          1. Wow, thanks! I did not know the pointers and Malinois were so sharp, or certainly the latter good for security and actually in wide use institutionally.

            Puerto Ricans did know about the beagles because the USDA uses them at ports of entry. (You go through “Agriculture,” as we call it, instead of Customs, when entering from or into the insular U.S. and possessions to protect against the spread of invasive species both directions.) They use them because they are whip smart but “cute” and do not frighten even the most timid members of the public, from any country.

          2. There’s a reason police refer to the Malinois as a “Malligator”.

      2. These types of dogs are used on military based to find intruders and attack them.

        Uhm, no they aren’t. Those dogs you see at the gate? Yeah, they’re not even there to look for bombs. They’re *drug* dogs. That’s it. That’s what they’re for.

        1. Why would they put drug dogs there?

          1. To stop people from smuggling drugs onto the base.

            -jcr

        2. Wrong. They are not just “drug” dogs. Trust me. I am military and have spoken with handlers and even been offered to wear the bite suit. I turned it down. ALL the dogs you see at the gate can take you do. They are trained for war. The dogs on a military base deploy with their handlers too. Oh and try to bring something on base. If that dog sits, you are in trouble bomb or drugs.

    3. Chief of Police? Ideally, in the police station of the future, the police dogs are in charge.

    4. Four-legged search warrant…

    5. Yes, there are good uses for dogs. Tracking suspects on a cold trail, identifying possible dropped articles along the way (think of the hounds in Cool Hand Luke)

      Locate hiding suspects (Hey-There’s a guy in that shed!)

      Rarely, a live bite might be justified. Most police dogs might get one live bite in a career. Other departments have the dogs get a bite a week.

      Add in the usual “extension of my dick” phenomenon. There’s a reason there are virtually no female police dog handlers. Too many cops look at basic obedience training as a nuisance. They are even proud of the fact their dog won’t “out” when commanded. Pretty ironic when “Contempt of Cop” by a punishable offense by a human.

    6. Isn’t this a good use? Is any man who hasn’t set an attack dog on a woman a real man? Or just some kind of pansy Esquire reader?

      1. Link so your audience has some context.

    7. Are there any legitimate uses for police dogs?

      Dog food?

      Exports to culinarily open-minded markets?

  2. But Pratt concluded that the attack was not a constitutional violation because Mancini was not the intended target of the chase.

    This is so horrendous I have to wonder if there’s some technical issue here. Like maybe Mancini’s lawyer played the wrong cards at trial? Maybe it shouldn’t be a 4th amendment lawsuit but a ‘hey fuckwits, control your fucking dog and gimme a million bucks you asshats’ type of lawsuit.

    1. I’m hoping the issue was more technical than the article indicates – bad pleading by her lawyers – not that it’s constitutional to, oops, have a dog rip up some innocent person.

      1. I have to assume that’s what’s going on here. We need the law nerds to weigh in here, because there’s a mountain of precedent to say if a police dog gets you roughed up, you’re going to probably win a lawsuit. Something here seems like the judge was ruling on the most narrow grounds possible (which I’ve been told by law nerds is how good judges always rule) and he simply didn’t see a 4th amendment case in an accidental dog attack.

        1. Reading the decision itself, it seems to indicate just what it says — the intended target could have a 4th amendment claim, but the victim here, as an innocent bystander, does not.

          1. Hmm…what about a straight due-process claim – “I was deprived of my liberty without charge or trial because some state-owned dog mauled me”?

            1. I’m really not up to date on the details of these sorts of claims and what you have to prove.

              Apparently that would make me an utter ignoramus of all the *nuances* involved in when an innocent person has a constitutional right not to be mauled by a police dog.

          2. Collateral damage is the term of art.

          3. So if cops search your house without a warrant, but have some random warrant to search some other random house, they haven’t violated your rights? Is that what you’re telling me, your honor?

          4. So it’s not a 4th amendment claim. I actually have to agree with that. It was an accident, just like a policeman accidentally falling through a window wouldn’t count as a 4th amendment violation.

            That being said, the police dog was not acting in its capacity of law enforcement. It attacked a person who was not being chased. Therefore, the police work exception does not apply.

            Even if it’s not a legal requirement, why are the police even fighting paying for medical bills in this case?

            1. That being said, the police dog was not acting in its capacity of law enforcement. It attacked a person who was not being chased. Therefore, the police work exception does not apply.

              Cops attack innocent bystanders so often that it may as well be written into the job description.

            2. I would have tried both 8th and 14th Amendment claims as there was no due process and it was absolutely cruel and unusual punishment especially as she wasn’t even accused of a crime. Then I’d be trying to sue the cops for malfeasance, willful and negligent use of a deadly weapon, etc.
              Just remember, if the dog latches on to your leg, get your two thumbs as far and deep into its eye sockets as you can and/or smash it on top of the muzzle with all your might to break it’s nose. Sadly, I think it’s come to the point where people are going to have to start killing these dogs to defend themselves since it’s clear cops are going to continue to be irresponsible with them.

            3. Ben says, “It was an accident,…”

              Really? Define accident. Could me banging your wife be an accident?

              Me: It just happened, Ben. It…

              Ben: Sure, sure, I know… it just happened. Coulda happened to anybody. It was an accident, right? You tripped, slipped on the floor and accidentally stuck your dick in my wife. “Whoops! I’m so sorry, Mrs. H. I guess this just isn’t my week.”

    2. police have been sued successfully for causing car wrecks during chases so i don’t see how this would be any different so as you say there must be some technicality that wasn’t explained and if there is such the law should be changed

    3. ‘hey fuckwits, control your fucking dog and gimme a million bucks you asshats’ type of lawsuit

      Qualified complete immunity.

  3. Was she black? Because I still don’t care if she was but other people do.

  4. “Under Indiana Code 15-20-1-3, the owner of a dog that bites a person without provocation is liable for all damages. But the statute makes an exception for dogs owned by and performing duties on behalf of law enforcement agencies.”

    Seems to me that’s the problem right there. We’re not talking about a Fourth Amendment violation, and that’s the exception to qualified immunity.

    Qualified immunity is the problem, here, and that isn’t about the Fourth Amendment.

    1. No, just because I support the Fourth Amendment doesn’t mean I have to pretend something is a Fourth Amendment just because it’s awful.

      1. “No, just because I support the Fourth Amendment doesn’t mean I have to pretend something is a Fourth Amendment [violation] just because it’s awful.”

        Fixed!

      2. That what I was thinking, why try to make it a 4A issue? There seem to be plenty of other grounds she could have filed the lawsuit over.

    2. This isn’t even qualified immunity. That’s when the cop committed a crime while on duty but are able to explain it away with good intentions. In this case it wasn’t even a crime because police officers are specifically exempt in the statute.

      1. I don’t see why it isn’t qualified immunity. They’re saying the police aren’t responsible because the dog was chasing a legitimate suspect. The exception to qualified immunity is when someone’s constitutional rights were violated. The plaintiff was probably arguing it as a Fourth Amendment case for that reason.

      2. Qualified immunity goes waaaaay further than that.

        QI means that there has to be case law *substantially similar* to your circumstances setting a precedent that doing what you did violates someone’s rights.

        Meaning

        1. The first time its ever done is an automatic pass.

        2. If, when you do it, its not ‘substantially similar’ to other conduct already deemed illegal, you get a pass.

        QI as a basic concept isn’t horrible – if you’re doing your job you can’t be sued over it, if you make an honest mistake you have a strong affirmative defense. Unfortunately the courts have interpreted it in a way to allow even blatant criminality and the violation of *obvious rights* because they’ve bent over to ‘support’ police over the rest of the country.

        1. Yeah, I think this is statutory immunity… .or just immunity.

          The law specifically says they can lose control of their dog and people can get mauled and it is just fine and dandy, you have no recourse.

          So you would have to challenge that law on constitutional grounds. Maybe the “dang, that’s a terrible idea” constitutional argument.

          Heck, the Mafia would probably try to quietly make it right if they accidentally shot the wrong guy. “Hey, here’s a couple grand for your trouble! And here… get something nice for your mother…”

          1. Mafia people are businessmen who still have some honor and dignity. Even though their business is illegal, there still needs to be a level of trust with those they do business with. Cops have no need for honor or dignity. Quite the opposite. They deal in deception and violence, so honor and dignity would get in the way.

    3. When the dog bit HER, it was not performing duties on behalf of law enforcement agencies, so this exception should not apply here.

      1. A dog biting someone isn’t an example of a Fourth Amendment violation.

        If a bullet legitimately fired by the police at a perpetrator misses and hits an innocent bystander, that isn’t a Fourth Amendment violation either.

        This woman is being treated unfairly. This is an example of injustice.

        It is not a Fourth Amendment violation.

        1. Yep. This suit was a desperate attempt to address the real problem – qualified immunity – by conjuring up a 4th amendment violation.

          The dog was not performing a search, not collecting evidence during it’s attack.

          1. According to the article, the dog seized chunks of flesh from her arm and leg.

            1. What does that have to do with the Fourth Amendment?

            2. lol. I like your attempt at defining this as a seizure. They should’ve argued that in court

              1. Try calling it a taking. See if we can get a 5th amendment violation instead.

                1. How about 8th Amendment? She was cruelly punished for not committing a crime.

  5. What if she had shot the police dog, you know, the ways cops tend to shoot other peoples dogs?

    I suppose that would have resulted in her being shot by the police, and the department would issue a statement to the effect that “we have reviewed the evidence and found that the officer acted appropriately in this instance.”

    1. Besides, you wouldn’t want that officer on the stand, blubbering about witnessing the puppycide of his ‘partner’.

    2. If she had shot the dog it would be murder of a uniformed officer. Because we have decided that for the purpose of punishing people, police dogs are people.

      But for the purpose of being responsible human beings, police dogs are not responsible for anything.

      Something that isn’t being addressed here is that they have a dog that is specifically trained to maim people. It didn’t just grab and hold, it mauled her. Someone should be addressing the idea that we have trained attack dogs that are not being used to diffused dangerous situations, but to punish people for being disobedient or maybe just pissing the officers off.

      Ooops, it accidentally maimed the wrong person is a distraction from the larger problem, which is that we think it is just fine and dandy to train a dog to maul people and then just turn it loose on the crowd.

      1. I have seen how these dogs are trained. They are trained NOT to maul. They will lock onto an arm or leg and hold the bite. People will try to shake the dog off which may cause it to rebite. The initial bite is designed to stop the individual. The handler is then supposed to command the dog to release and heel when they have the situation under control. The problem is poorly trained handlers that don’t constantly train their dogs.

  6. This isn’t a constitutional issue. It is a negligence issue. Or an injured bystander issue.

    Seems like more of a tort.

    1. It is a tort, but the offending entity is probably covered by qualified immunity. So unless the plaintiff can demonstrate a violation of Constitutional rights, or (possibly) other law then damages will be limited at best.

      1. Or just good old fashioned sovereign immunity since the king and his servants can do no wrong.

      2. Not even qualified immunity.

        The law specifically exempts them from liability.

        Congratulations, plebes!

    2. Or a crime if you were to release an attack dog.

  7. This may be right that the federal government has no jurisdiction, and the 4th amendment claim is not a reasonable application. On the other hand, what the hell kind of thinking brought the Indiana legislature from making law enforcement not liable for reckless use of their weapons. Is there a similar protecting the police from liability for hitting an innocent bystander with a bullet?

  8. I would have shot the dog in my back yard, especially if it was biting me.

    Self-defense.

    1. Man that’s like C- internet badassery. No roundhouse kick first? No pithy quip before you snap the dog’s neck with your bare hands? No laser beams from your eyes. Weak.

      1. No pithy quip before you snap the dog’s neck with your bare hands?

        I believe standard procedure is to snap the dog’s neck first with your bare hands and then tell it to stay.

        1. Personally, I would prefer to break out the tennis ball cannon.

        2. ‘Play dead, good dog.’

        3. Only if you’re Bruce Willis or Mel Gibson.

        4. Austrian accent] Roll (snap) Ovah, Rovah [/bad Austrian]

      2. Why would I use ninja moves when a shotgun or pistol would do?

        1. I assume LC always has a shotgun tucked into his pants, even when those pants are just his tighty whities.

      3. What are you scared of dogs Hugh?

        1. You’re the one who’s afraid to touch them.

  9. But the statute makes an exception for dogs owned by and performing duties on behalf of law enforcement agencies.

    Because we’re a nation of laws not of men.

  10. So we can expect riots and looting over the injustice that was done to this completely innocent woman by police, right? Oh wait, she’s white. Nevermind.

  11. Mancini will have to deal with irreparable nerve damage to her arm and medical bills that may force her into bankruptcy.”

    How can she go bankrupt I thought Obama care fixed that.

    1. Nah, the right-wingers are still making a bit of mischief before the inevitable single-payer system is implemented. They have no ideas or proposed solutions, just obstructionism . . . for a few years more.

      1. How Libertarian of you, Kommisar Hicklib Klinger

        1. I don’t take tips on libertarianism from wall-building, tariff-cheering, womb-policing, half-educated, superstitious, disaffected right-wing bigots.

  12. Heitkamp officially No. Flake, Collins making positive sounding noises.

    1. Its not over until the fat head Senators vote.

      1. It’s not over until the Democrats decide how to respond when they have the power to control the Supreme Court.

        Republicans have nothing to worry about so long as they win federal elections.

        Except demographics and the daily improvement of the American electorate, of course.

        1. Is it just me, or does the Rev. Sounds a bit like an Italian communist?

          Eternally convinced that the revolution is just around the corner, and never to be dissuaded from that position, even as the years then in to decades, and History never quite seems to deliver.

          1. He might sound that way, but I’m fairly positive he doesn’t look as handsome or as manly as Mussolini. Well, maybe hung in the streets Mussolini.

          2. My preferences have been prevailing in America throughout my lifetime, you half-educated loser. Conservatives have spent that time opposing progress, losing the culture war, and whining about it.

            I will enjoy watching both sides of that continue while right-wingers mutter bitterly about it. Maybe you goobers should pray on it a little harder?

            Carry on, clingers.

            1. Dumbfuck, you are the left side. Most here are the less emotional decision driven middle.

  13. Under Indiana Code 15-20-1-3, the owner of a dog that bites a person without provocation is liable for all damages. But the statute makes an exception for dogs owned by and performing duties on behalf of law enforcement agencies.

    Of course it does…

    1. How does this statute pass the 14th Amendment’s privileges & immunities clause?

      “No State shall make or enforce any law which shall abridge the privileges or immunities of citizens of the United States; nor shall any State deprive any person of life, liberty, or property, without due process of law; nor deny to any person within its jurisdiction the equal protection of the laws.”

  14. Its not the fault of the dog this woman was mauled.
    The dog was a German shepherd and doesn’t a word of English.
    You would’ve thought the cops would put the dog through an Emma Stone course in English before putting it on the streets.

  15. Cops are held to a higher standard

    Cop Caught on Own Body Cam Stealing Dying Elderly Man’s Money Instead of Helping Him?NO JAIL

    Texas City, TX ? Officer Linnard R. Crouch was seen on his own body camera?not helping a 74-year-old man who was having a heart attack?but robbing him. The elderly victim, James Mabe had the cash to go buy Christmas presents for his grandchildren, but because the cop robbed him instead of helped him he’d never make it. Now, the officer who stole a dying elderly man’s Christmas money will not be going to jail.

    Last month, with almost no news coverage, Crouch pleaded guilty to robbing the elderly dying man. Instead of being punished for his utter betrayal of public trust and despicable act, Crouch was given probation and will not spend one day behind bars.

    1. They missed the part where he was also charged with felony aggravated assault for ramming his girlfriend’s car in an unrelated incident, or the part about his grandfather being fired from the same police department for breaking into a business and stealing radios while on patrol to give as Christmas gifts.

  16. Higher standard

    Cop Who Locked Darren Rainey in Scalding Shower Until He Died Keeps Having Sex on Duty

    An internal affairs (IA) file obtained by New Times shows Clarke has been investigated by his department’s IA unit twice for having inappropriate relationships with women while on duty. In the first case, Clarke was suspended for five days in 2016 after investigators found he’d been visiting a woman at her house while he was on the job ? though that infraction didn’t stop him from being a finalist for the 2017 Miami-Dade County “Officer of the Year” award.

    Now internal investigators are looking into a second, nearly identical allegation, according to emails reviewed by New Times. Audio, photos, and text messages appear to show Clarke again visiting a woman at her home while on duty and in uniform, and even having sex with her on multiple occasions.

  17. Don’t act like an innocent pregnant woman and you won’t get attacked by a police dog.

  18. “An owner of a dog is exempt under section 4 of this
    chapter if the dog commits an act described in section 4 of this
    chapter during the period that the dog is owned by:
    (1) the United States;
    (2) an agency of the United States; or
    (3) a governmental entity (as defined in IC 34-6-2-49);
    and the dog is engaged in assisting the owner or the owner’s agent in
    the performance of law enforcement or military duties”

    LOL it’s kind of amazing how the state outright tells you that you can go fuck yourself if the abuse you suffer is at the hands of state agents

  19. After the suspect ran into Mara Mancini’s yard, she heard her own dogs barking and stepped onto her back porch to investigate. That’s when Scooter attacked Mancini, who was seven months pregnant at the time blatantly interfering with a police operation.

    I can’t believe this card hasn’t been played. Maybe during the appeal.

    1. It’s her fault she didn’t exercise her explicitly spelled out in the constitution right of abortion which would have left her unencumbered enough to escape back into the house without having abused that canine officer.


  20. Last week a federal judge rejected a lawsuit in which Mancini claimed the dog attack violated the Fourth Amendment’s ban on unreasonable searches and seizures.

    Uhh, well ok. Here’s the thing, the judge is right. I suspect her other lawsuit will turn out different, but her 4th amendment rights have exactly what to do with a dumbass cop dog attacking a random civilian in their own backyard?

    I mean, don’t get me wrong it’s ludicrously absurd to exempt police dogs from the law for when they take out a civilian given that they are doing verbatim what the law considers bad I.E. training the dogs to attack humans on purpose but that is literally not the judges fault. It’s the legislatures fault.

    If only she could sue the State legislature for systemic equal protection under the law violations…or is that what she’s doing? The article just says this:


    A state lawsuit related to he incident is still pending.

    So, this story is ‘dog bites man pregnant woman’…yeah that checks out with what is considered news for second-rate main-stream organizations and local news papers.

  21. Where are the feminists?
    Where is the screaming crowd demanding immediate justice (i.e. lynch the cop) for the woman?
    What is she, Republican or something?

    1. PETA thinks it’s only fair that for once, *animals* should have a chance to eat *people.*

  22. Last week a federal judge rejected a lawsuit in which Mancini claimed the dog attack violated the Fourth Amendment’s ban on unreasonable searches and seizures.

    I’m not sure what an appeal is going to do, the judge is right here – its not a 4th amendment violation.

    If the lawyer (who should have known better) hadn’t framed it as such . . . Maybe as, I don’t know, *negligence*. After all, you don’t shoot into a crowd, why would you set a police dog on a chase if you can’t control it? If its going to get excited and go after anything vaguely human shaped if it loses its target.

    1. Seems like a very unreasonable seizure to me. The K-9 unit is a duly deputized police officer after all.

  23. A Fourth Amendment claim? Weird. There might be case law that made that tempting, but there shouldn’t be.

    I could, however, see a Fourteenth Amendment claim here — deprivation of life, liberty or property without due process of law. Possibly coupled with a “equal protection of the laws” claim based on the grounds that if anything other than a government dog had inflicted the injury, she would be entitled to compensation.

  24. There may be circumstances in which the death of a police dog (or any lesser circumstance that would prevent a dog from being deployed against citizens) would be undesirable, but I am unable to identify them.

    1. There may be circumstances where your death wouldn’t be cause for wholesale celebration, but WGAS what they are

      1. Losing the culture war, finding that bigotry is no longer fashionable, and being on the wrong end of bright flight for generations can make authoritarian conservatives quite cranky.

        Carry on, clinger.

        1. You repeat stupidity. A lot.

  25. So, if a police officer chased an armed man into the yard of an innocent bystander with his gun drawn and shot the bystander, the police officer (nor the department) would not be liable? This immunity of police needs to stop. That’s where the majority of problems come from because “qualified immunity” tells them they are above the law.

  26. It’s her fault- she shouldn’t have resisted.

  27. Yeah, what the hell kind of thinking brought the Indiana legislature from making law enforcement not liable for reckless use of their weapons.

  28. Too bad Judges don’t have to personally be at a residence when a search/arrest warrant is being issued. We could afford some thinning the herds of the cloaked kind.

    1. Bad idea. The cops know which judges are their buddies and which ones make them have legitimate reasons to issue warrants.

  29. So if my dog mauls someone, I’m off the hook because I didn’t mean for him to maul that person?

  30. 4th Amendment? For a dog attack? Lady needs a better lawyer.

  31. Some idiot in Indianapolis Government damn well step up.

  32. Grrr…the police (and their dogs), should be held to a HIGHER standard than your average citizen, not a lower standard. Because what they do is so impactful on other people’s lives.

  33. The pregnant woman is at fault because her own dogs in her back yard are just useless eating machines unless they instantly protect her from all challenges, including other dogs. She needs a better type of dog. Apparently her yard was not fenced and her yard dogs were kept on leashes all night, which is dumb and not a nice way to treat your dogs. If you insist on leashing your dogs in the yard, the leashes should be long enough to reach the back door, which is the likely place an intruder will approach the house. Dah.

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