Inmate files complaint against Phoenix police over dog attack
PHOENIX – A man who was living in his car and arrested by Phoenix police has filed a complaint against the city, accusing an officer of ordering a dog to attack him.
Antonio Garcia-Goff said in court documents filed Monday that a July 20, 2017, confrontation with police ended up in a backyard where several officers beat him and a dog bit him repeatedly.
The complaint sought damages for violation of civil rights and compensation of excessive use of force. It did not seek punitive damages but wanted a trial by jury.
An officer had already shot at Garcia-Goff hours earlier, the paperwork said, because the young man had nearly hit a policeman named Davis while driving away from the potential arrest near Seventh Street and Greenway Road.
Phoenix civil rights attorney Elizabeth Tate said Wednesday to KTAR News 92.33 FM that Garcia-Goff had told police, “I give up,” after they found him following a four-hour search.
An officer identified as McCarthy allegedly said, “You’re going to wish you said that earlier,” and released K9 Officer Fracken.
Court documents said Fracken bit Garcia-Goff near his throat, on the arm and knee.
Another officer said Garcia-Groff was “going to prison.”
Part of the body-cam footage chase (Warning for language) was posted on YouTube a few months later and has amassed more than 1 million views.
Garcia-Goff is serving a three-year sentence for aggravated assault against Davis.
Davis had approached Garcia-Goff’s car in response to a call about a suspicious vehicle driving around the neighborhood. According to the lawsuit, Garcia-Goff rolled down the window and Davis saw a stun gun and a knife on the passenger seat. Garcia-Groff has since said it was a phone.
Garcia-Groff, aware of a warrant out on him, rolled up the window and drove off. Eventually he pulled over and fled on foot. He hid under a bench in a yard, where police found him.
Tate, who was hired by the family in October, said Garcia-Goff had struggled with addiction but was sober now.
“He put a lot of thought whether to pursue it,” Tate said of the filing, adding that he hoped legal action would act as a “check on police.”
The complaint only listed officer McCarthy by name; the other officers have not been identified and were grouped together as defendants.
In March, police opened an investigation into claims from a young man who said officers beat him up and accused him stealing a car, which belonged to him.