COON RAPIDS, Minnesota — A Minnesota police chief is apologizing after a police dog was accidentally sicced on an 81-year-old grandmother.
“It’s regrettable that this old woman was injured. We’re sick about it. The officers that were there were sick about it,” Chief Brad Wise, Coon Rapids Police Department.
It happened in a shed in the backyard of a home.
Police said the next-door neighbor called 911, thinking a burglar was outside.
Dispatcher: “Reporting an unknown person was just in their backyard. Only description — wearing a black coat.”
Minutes later, the first officer, along with K-9 Taz arrived, and noticed someone with a flashlight in the shed in the yard next door. It was dark outside. The officer commanded the person to come out.
Dispatcher: “K-9 warning has been given.”
“We tried a long time to try to communicate with that person and got no response,” Chief Wise said.
Dispatcher: “We’ve given 10 to 15 K-9 warnings. Suspect is failing to listen or come out of the shed.”
Chief Wise said the person inside the shed never answered. Officers worried a tool could be used as a weapon — so they sent in K-9 Taz.
“The first sign that something may be unusual was the sound of a female voice,” Chief Wise said.
At that moment, Chief Wise said Taz was called off.
The suspect was actually 81-year-old Choua Xiong, who lived at the home, and does not speak English. Taz bit her arm.
“I guarantee you, had the officers standing there heard a female voice in any language, shout out, cry out, say anything…this would have been a completely different outcome,” Chief Wise said.
Wise said his officers followed protocol in this case, and had every reason to believe a burglary was happening. He said although he regrets the outcome, he said he’s not sure his officers could’ve done anything differently.