$175,000 Settlement Reached in Lawsuit Alleging Officers Literally Tried to Feed Graffiti Suspects to K-9s
by Christopher Zoukis
A lawsuit filed over a K-9 cop attack on two street artists who were spray-painting train cars in Broward County, Florida, has settled for $175,000. The men, Humberto Pellegrino and Pedro Claveria, alleged that Broward County Sheriff’s officers Davis Acevedo and Gerald Wengert literally tried to feed them to a dog at gunpoint.
Pellegrino and Claveria told Local 10 News that they immediately surrendered when approached by the officers. But instead of cuffing the unresisting suspects, the officers sicced their K-9 partner, Dino, on the men. According to Pellegrino and Claveria, the officers repeatedly told Dino to “eat” as he savagely attacked them. “They kept saying ‘Eat boy, eat boy,’” Pellegrino said.
Claveria was left with a deep gash on his arm, which he said looked like a knife wound. He said Acevedo was looking for a fight that night, which the men tried to avoid by not resisting. But it’s hard to do nothing while an animal tries to eat you.
“It was him ripping into me and gnawing. I’ve never had an animal attack me that way, and it felt like it was never going to stop,” Claveria said.
Deputy Wengert has a long history of excessive-force complaints, according to Local 10 News. He is a defendant in an ongoing federal lawsuit over the beating of Kevin Buckler, who Wengert pulled over for allegedly playing loud music in his car. Pellegrino told reporters that Wengert was exceptionally brutal, and Claveria said Wengert looked like an animal, “just stalking, preying.”
“Wengert lifted my leg in front of the dog’s mouth so the dog attached to my leg,” Pellegrino said. “Acevedo was behind me with the dog, and Wengert was to my left with the assault rifle pointing at me…. I just grabbed onto the gravel and started screaming.”
“He got a really good grip on my leg, right under the knee, and I felt my leg tearing and they kept saying ‘Eat boy, eat boy.’ Every time he would latch onto me, they would yank him, so not only was I being bit, but I was being torn,” Pellegrino continued. “So I just yelled as loud as I could in agony. I thought they were going to kill me. Either sit there and let the dog eat you or do something stupid and get shot in the head.”
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