Fort Myers man attacked by police K-9; witness says it was case of mistaken identity

Man says deputies wrongly sicked K-9 on him
Posted at 9:29 PM, Sep 13, 2016
and last updated 2016-09-13 22:14:46-04

LEE COUNTY - A Fort Myers man is furious, saying he was attacked by a police K-9 officer but a witness tells us it was all a case of mistaken identity.

31 year old Michael Diaz is still shaken up after he says he was attacked by a police K-9 last Thursday.

He recalls the incident, "I had to get to the point where I was begging him to have the dog stop biting me and that was where I got scared."

Diaz says he was helpless as the dog tore his clothing to shreds.

He shows us how his entire back pocket was ripped out of his pants.

Diaz tells us, "The dog literally grabbed my wallet from my butt and took it off from my pants with him."

Photos taken afterwards document what Diaz says are bite marks and scratches from the canine's claws.

Now, less than a week later, Diaz still has many visible wounds, however, his emotional wounds may never heal.

Diaz says, "I got to the point where I was screaming, crying and begging him. You know I would get naked, what do I have to do? I literally said the words, ‘I'll get naked to prove to you I'm not dangerous, I don't know what else you want me to do at this point’."

Diaz says Lee County Sheriff’s deputies were searching for another man when they found him laying on the ground outside of the Baymont hotel off Daniels Parkway.

Diaz remembers, "I was in a dead sleep when I woke up to the dog on top of me. I start screaming, I started yelling. I could see somebody behind the Shepard, I started begging for help to have this person, to please have your dog stop biting me. I didn't notice it was an officer until he tackled me on top and he was restraining me and yelling at me to shut up."

Diaz says he was taking a nap underneath some trees when the dog attacked him.

The manager of a nearby Circle K says officers then came into the store and admitted they had the wrong guy but the surveillance cameras around the store won't help explain what happened since they're pointed in the opposite direction.

Diaz has since contacted attorney Scott Weinberg, who already represents a man sung the Punta Gorda police department for sicking a K-9 on him.

That incident was captured on dashcam video and shows the German Shepard biting the man for nearly two minutes.

Weinberg says the Diaz incident was also a travesty, "First of all, to have a dog apprehend somebody who is asleep is text book excessive use of deadly force."

Diaz hopes his horrible attack doesn't happen to anyone else, "I was recommended by somebody to speak with someone in Internal Affairs, specifically, that it would help me to get somebody to care about what happened in this situation."

Diaz says after the attack he had to walk four miles to Gulf Coast Regional Hospital to get treated for his injuries.

He plans to file a complaint against the deputy who was in charge of the canine.

We reached out to the Lee County Sheriff's Office yesterday for information about last week's incident.
Now, more than 30 hours later, we still have not received the report.