Parents want police K9 put down after 5-year-old mauled

Parents want police K9 put down after 5-year-old mauled
(Source: Solomon Coley & Arshakne Hall)
(Source: Solomon Coley & Arshakne Hall)

SHREVEPORT, LA (KSLA) - Hurt and confused, a Shreveport family says they've heard nothing from the Bossier City Police Department after their daughter was mauled by a police K-9 while he was chasing a suspect.

Solomon Coley and his two daughters, ages 3 and 5, had just left a birthday party Saturday, April 1, at Stone Vista Apartments in Shreveport.

Bossier City police had attempted to stop a car on East Texas Street for driving with no headlights or taillights, but the driver took off and led officers on a high-speed chase across the Red River into Shreveport and onto Easy Street in Stoner Hill.

"That's when I seen the suspect car and the cops, after they passed and went all the way up, that's when we crossed the street," Coley said. "As soon as we crossed the street, that's when I seen the dude coming out the gate. He had jumped out of the car on the hill."

Solomon claims one of the suspects, who had ditched the car, ran from police and headed straight for him and his two children. A Bossier City Police K-9 was in pursuit of a suspect.

"Him and the dog, they came out of the apartments," Coley recalls. "They (police) couldn't see the dog, they couldn't see him, so they couldn't see what was going on right here."

Instead of going after the suspect, Coley says a Bossier City K-9 officer by the name of Torres attacked his daughter, Jewel.

"Instead of the dog pursuing him, the dog attacked my daughter," Coley said. "Like my daughter was in the way or something."

Coley says he immediately reached down and held Torres from shaking Jewel side to side for what seemed like an eternity.

When asked if Torres' handler, Officer Chad Boyette, was in sight when Torres attacked, Coley said that he wasn't.

Coley adds that, after multiple attempts, Boyette eventually caught up and got the dog to let go.

However, the damage was done. Torres ripped through Jewel's flesh, leaving scratches, puncture wounds and bite marks.

Arshakne Hall, Jewel's mother, recalls the phone call she received from a family member that night.

"She said calm down, calm down, Jewel just got bit by a police K-9 dog," Hall recalled.

The family says they have made several attempts to get answers from Bossier City Police with no response.

"I feel like they left me and her mama alone to deal with this situation," Coley said.

The department declined to an interview with KSLA News 12, citing "potential for litigation."

The police department did release an incident report, which tell a different story than Coley's.

The report says officer Boyett "performed a visual scan of the area for innocent bystanders and none were observed in the immediate area."

The report went on to say that Torres engaged the suspect but the first bite was unsuccessful. It was after the suspect took off again that Torres bit Jewel.  
"That's a lie," Hall says of the police report. "Everybody outside, you just let this dog run free."

Bossier City police say there have been 14 dog bite incidents involving their K-9s in the past 3 years, with a total of 8,700 calls for service.

Torres was involved in 4 of those incidents.

"This dog has attacked another victim before this one," claims Shreveport attorney Nelson Cameron.

In March of 2015, reports show the same police K-9 bit a Parkway High student as he was jumping over a fence. The teen was leaving the scene of an altercation that he claims he was a bystander in.

Torres pulled the teen off the fence, but when the teen was on the ground and in custody, the report says Torres spun out of his handler's grip and bit the teen again, biting the teen in the face and on the arm.

"This dog should not be on the police force, number one," said Cameron. "That's an easy answer, very easy answer. This dog should not be on the police force or engaged in police activity."

The teen sued the Bossier City police department and the case was settled out of court for $23,500. Nelson says the charges against the teen were dropped and police's silence in Jewel's case doesn't surprise him.

"It doesn't surprise me from the culture you have there in the police department," Cameron said. "The police department should show some compassion for a 5-year-old girl who's mauled by a police dog."

"I feel like they could care less about my daughter," Coley said. "I'm pretty sure my daughter feels the same way."

For Jewel, the scars from that day are both seen and unseen.

"The dog got me," Jewel said.

When asked what the attack felt like, Jewel said it felt like fire

"She wakes up screaming and hollering and crying in her sleep," Hall said. "The therapist actually diagnosed her with PTSD. A 5-year-old got PTSD."

Hall has her own theory about why Torres is still on the force.

"That one weapon that they invested that money into," Hall said. "They don't want to let that go. Because those are considered low-income apartments back there, that you can do whatever you want you want to? That shouldn't be the case."

The cost to buy and train police dogs varies. In Shreveport, handlers say the cost is almost $15,000 per dog.

Coley said he expects more from the Bossier PD.

"No owning up to it. Like I said, I expect a dog to be a dog but I expect them to be human," Coley said.

Meanwhile, Jewel just wants to put the nightmare behind her and get ready for her birthday party next month.

"They fixed me up and made me get better and I'm ok now. I'm not going to worry about it."

The suspect Torres was chasing was eventually caught and booked on multiple charges. Bossier City police say all of their dogs go through required weekly training.

Hall and Coley say they'd like to see Torres put down.

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