Another case of alleged excessive police force has occurred in Norfolk, Virginia, but Raw Story reports the police chief has apologized and stated his officers used “excessive force” when they pinned a woman to the ground and allowed police dogs to maul her leg. The woman, an Army reservist and Norfolk State University student, sustained severe injuries that will require further surgeries to her leg as a result of the police dogs’ attack.
London Colvin was attending an off-campus party January 24 where a fight broke out and spilled over into the street, resulting in police arriving on the scene. Colvin and her cousin, Whitney Dunn, were trying to leave the scene, and Colvin refused to answer police questions as she had stated she wasn’t involved in the altercation. At that point, police restrained her. Dunn told 13 News Now that Colvin was already on the ground when the officers released the police dogs.
“If someone breaks the law, we can understand arresting someone. We can understand right is right and wrong is wrong. That’s not the issue. The issue is what force was used. You already have her restrained. What are the dogs for?
“The force was unnecessary. She has 40 stitches she got from the dog bites. The one big wound can’t be closed because too much meat is missing and that will need plastic surgery.”
Norfolk Police Chief Michael Goldsmith issued a statement Thursday regarding the ongoing investigation into Colvin’s arrest and the use of the police dogs.
“While we continue to wrap up the final few interviews with witnesses and officers, I feel I have enough information to determine the use of force in Ms. Colvin’s arrest was unreasonable. As Chief, I am responsible for the policies and procedures that govern my officers’ actions. While I expect my officers to make the best judgment in all circumstances, if the policy doesn’t support the outcomes I expect, I have failed them.”
Colvin, who is 5’3″ and weighs approximately 120 pounds, admitted to being “loud” at the scene, and her family says they have no problem with the arrest if she was being disorderly. However, they do take issue with what they feel was excessive and unnecessary force in letting the police dogs maul her, according to Dunn.
“We can understand her getting arrested, because she was being disorderly or anything like that – however she didn’t have a weapon. She can’t put her hands up, or remove her hands from anywhere, or do anything because she’s being restrained by two police officers. So to allow the dog [to attack] is the only thing that we have a problem with.”
The family has provided Potomac Local with uncensored photos of the injuries from the police dogs, including the deep wound that could not be closed because too much flesh was missing. The family reports that Colvin will need plastic surgery to repair the injuries from the police dogs, and they have set up a fund to help with medical expenses.
Colvin is seeking legal counsel regarding the arrest and the injuries inflicted by the police dogs, and has been advised not to make any media statements at this time.
[Photo courtesy of family via Raw Story]