North Bay man wins $1.35M after Sonoma County sheriff's K-9 tears into leg
GRATON, Calif. - A North Bay Black man won a $1.35 million settlement after a Sonoma County sheriff's K-9 tore a chunk of his calf when deputies responded to a call indicating he might have brandished gun, in a case where all charges were ultimately never filed.
"It's definitely not justice," Jason Anglero-Wyrick told KTVU on Friday. "But it's some financial compensation for my daughters."
The settlement was agreed to on Jan. 6 by Sonoma County. The Sheriff's Office didn't immediately respond for comment.
It's an extremely large payout for a dog bite – the average payout is $30,000. And it's roughly ¼ of the record $3.8 million the family of David Ward was paid after Sonoma County sheriff's deputies fatally slammed his head into his car, which they had erroneously thought was stolen.
Despite the relatively large amount, Anglero-Wyrick called the amount "dirty money."
Three years later, he still can't work as a construction foreman since being tasted and bitten by the police dog, Vadar, on April 4, 2020.
GRAPHIC: Cell phone video shows Sonoma County sheriff's K-9 attacking man
That's the day that deputies had gone out to Graton, Calif., after an acquaintance named Clyde called 911 to say he thought Anglero-Wyrick had brandished a gun. Clyde knew Anglero-Wyrick and had a prior beef with him, according to the federal claim, written by attorney Izaak Schwaiger.
When deputies arrived, Anglero-Wyrick was asleep inside his house. His fiancée woke him as a helicopter was circling above. When he went outside to see what the commotion was about, deputies had their weapons drawn and pointed at him.
MORE: K-9s in question: Bay Area police dogs bite with little consequence
Anglero-Wyrick put his hands in the air. So did his fiancée.
He wasn't wearing the clothes that Clyde said he had been wearing, the lawsuit stated. Still, a third deputy pointed his gun at Anglero-Wyrick to "get on the f---ing ground."
Another deputy told his dog to "Get 'em."
A deputy tased Anglero-Wyrick causing him to fall to the ground with his arms outstretched.
Vader was released.
Anglero-Wyrick's 15-year-old stepdaughter took cell phone video of the dog clamping down on Anglero-Wyrick's leg, as the deputy shouted: "Good boy! Good boy!"
The dog began pulling and twisting, tearing deep puncture wounds in Anglero-Wyrick's leg and calf. He is heard screaming in pain on the video. He then puts his hands on the small of his back and crossed his ankles in an effort to show deputies he wasn't a threat, the lawsuit said.
Vadar attacked for 90 seconds, the video showed.
The deputies arrested Anglero-Wyrick on suspicion of resisting an officer. Prosecutors reviewed the video and never brought any charges against him.
And no weapon – the reason for Clyde's call – was ever found.
The deputies have all returned to work.
To this day, Anglero-Wyrick is on medical disability and still has to go to physical therapy to rebuild his muscles.
He feels that his race definitely played a role in how he was treated.
"I think being a person of color in the United States right now definitely plays a big role with everything, especially with law enforcement," he said. "I think when they see someone that looks like me, they believe that they can get away with doing certain things in a traffic stop or, you know, a parole search or probation search or whatever the circumstances."
But he's trying to move on.
With the settlement money, he moved to a 40-acre farm away from Sonoma County and bought a new truck.
Still, "this isn't closure," he said. "Dogs are still biting people. Dogs that were used by Romans for war and to catch runaway slaves. It's just ridiculous."
Lisa Fernandez is a reporter for KTVU. Email Lisa at firstname.lastname@example.org or call her at 510-874-0139. Or follow her on Twitter @ljfernandez.