Sheriff's office admits sicking K-9 on wrong man but blames man for using poor judgment

K-9 attacked wrong man but officials blame victim
Posted at 9:04 PM, Sep 14, 2016
and last updated 2016-09-14 22:31:11-04

LEE COUNTY - The Lee County Sheriff's Office releasing information about an incident involving a deputy who sicked his K-9 on the wrong man.

The sheriff's office admitting officers made a mistake but still blame the victim for using "poor judgment".

According to the report, the officer doesn't deny sicking his K-9 on 31 year old Michael Diaz, who happened to be the wrong man.

Diaz tells us, "They apologized to me. They said it was one of those wrong places and wrong time situations, that I was just having bad luck."

The report also states Diaz had fallen asleep before he was viscously attacked.

Diaz since contacted Scott Weinberg, an attorney who also represents another man attacked by a K-9 officer in Punta Gorda.

Weinberg reacted to Diaz’s case saying, "There was no threat posed by Mr. Diaz and the officer still used the deadly force of the dog, that's improper right then and there."

Weinberg is alarmed to read how the Lee County Sheriff's Office is justifying the use of force on Diaz.

According to the report officers say, "Diaz stated he was hiding in the thick brush to make his girlfriend worry about him. Diaz was not involved in the incident we had been actively working but Diaz used poor judgment when he decided to hide inside an active crime scene."

Weinberg tells us Diaz had no idea it was a crime scene and "it's obvious the deputies are trying to lay blame for their mistake on the victim."

Weinberg tells us, "They had the wrong person, before you send a dog after somebody you had better have the right person, especially if that dog's going to do damage to somebody."

According to Diaz, that dog did do plenty of damage.

A week later and his body is still riddled with scratches and bite marks.

Weinberg goes on to say, "Officers acted recklessly....nowhere in the report does it indicate a description of the actual suspect...they failed to compare the appearance of Diaz and the description of the suspect."

Diaz is still reeling from his injuries and feels officers jumped the gun on this one.

Diaz tells us, "I could have been a dead body there and why would the first reaction be to release a dog on me, on to this body that's motionless and not responding? I don't think that's proper procedure and if it is it probably shouldn't be."

Diaz plans to file an official complaint against the officer who handled the K-9.

He says his injuries were painful but didn't require stitches.