00:51 GMT13 June 2021
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    Police body-cam footage released as part of a lawsuit shows officers from the West Jordan Police Department in Utah siccing their dog on a man as he sits on his sofa with his hands raised.

    Lee Hoogveldt, 33, the man in the video, says police responded with excessive force when they came to his house on March 24, 2013.

    Police were responding to complaints from neighbors that Hoogveldt was burning something in his yard (which turned out to be his Christmas tree) and that they felt threatened by him. After entering his home, guns drawn they find him in the living room, seated, with his hands up.

    When Hoogveldt doesn't respond to their instructions to "stand up slowly," the officers release the dog, who then bites into Hoogveldt's face and, once he's on the ground, his buttocks. Bleeding from his facial injuries, he is then tasered by the officers three or four times.

    Towards the end of the video, when the officers are outside one can be heard saying, "I had to look away. When he had him on his mouth? I was like 'Oh my [expletive].'"

    "I Don't Dare Move"

    Hoodveldt explained in his civil rights lawsuit against the department that he was "paralyzed with fear" that the officers with guns trained on him would shoot. The suit alleges illegal entry and excessive force, and name officer Ian Adams, whose body cam footage was released,  in particular. 

    "I was just in shock the whole time," Hoogveldt told reporters at a press conference Thursday. "I did nothing but try to make it easy for them. I thought I would not be a threat sitting down."

    According to the complaint filed by his attorney, Robert Sykes, "Hoogveldt was afraid to move for fear that he would be shot by the two officers holding guns on him." The complaint adds that he told officers "I'm scared, I don't dare move," then sat down, and that he would have need to use his hands to get off the deep overstuffed sofa.

    "There’s a right to be free from unlawful entry, under the Fourth Amendment," Sykes told FOX 13 News, adding, "We have a police officer without a warrant, kicking down a door, and going in someone’s home."

    The police maintain that "[t]o protect the neighborhood, they had to go in and secure Mr. Hoogveldt," Sgt. Dan Roberts told reporters. "The fire department could not respond to take care of the fires."

    Roberts also said that he was known to the department for weapons related offenses


    "His history included an aggravated assault with a weapon, and another incident in which officers found a knife concealed on his person," Roberts said.

    As for Hoogveldt’s surrender while remaining seated, Roberts said, "He could have easily been hiding another weapon on him."


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    law suit, Civil Rights, unlawful entry, excessive force, K-9, police dog, Police Brutality, Police, West Jordan Police Department, Utah
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