7-months pregnant Indiana woman viciously mauled by police dog, told attack did not violate constitutional rights
Mara Mancini was mauled by a K9 on the porch of her home in 2015, resulting in grievous injuries. Now, she's told no one will be held accountable for the attack.
A pregnant woman who filed a lawsuit against the Indianapolis Police Department after she was viciously attacked by a K-9 in 2015, saw the presiding judge rule in the police department's favor. The judge conceded the attack was "horrendous", but, did not violate the complainant's constitutional rights.
According to the Indy Star, Mara Mancini went up to the front porch of her home in the 300 block of North Addison Street in the city when she says she heard a commotion outside. As soon as she stepped outside, an IMPD K-9, Scooter, who had been pursuing a suspect who was fleeing through the neighborhood at the time, turned its attention to her instead.
The dog pounced upon Mancini, who was seven months pregnant at the time, and tore chunks of flesh from her arm and thigh. She had to be rushed to the IU Health Methodist Hospital for treatment and began having premature contractions, which the doctors were able to successfully stop.
However, she had to undergo emergency surgery a few weeks later to remove a "golf ball-sized infection" in her leg. She subsequently went into labor and delivered her son prematurely three days later. The painkillers she was on, because of the attack, meant her son was born with a narcotics addiction, with the infant having to spend the next several weeks in neonatal intensive care to "wean him off the narcotics."
Mancini sued the city and the IMPD in 2016, with the lawsuit arguing that the premature labor was a result of the "extreme stress" she experienced during the attack. But because Indiana law grants immunity to police dogs under the state's dog bite liability statute, her lawyers claimed the attack violated her constitutional liberties and that it was a violation of Mancini's fourth amendment right to be secure against search and seizure.
However, U.S. District Court Judge Tanya Walton Pratt did not see it that way. While she was sympathetic towards Mancini's plight, she wrote in her judgment that the department did not violate the victim's constitutional rights, because, the dog's release and the subsequent attack were not intended for Mancini. "Mancini and her son K.C., suffered horrendous injuries and a grievous lack of discretion by the officers; however, a grievous lack of discretion does not suffice to state a constitutional cause of action under binding Seventh Circuit precedent," it read.
It continued: "The undisputed evidence is that Mancini was not the intended object of the officers’ efforts to seize the fleeing suspect. [The officer's] release of Scooter, intending to seize the fleeing suspect does not mean that the officers intended to seize any other person."
Following the verdict, her attorney Jon Little quoted the surgeons who operated on his client and said she had suffered nerve damage to her arm that was irreparable and had severely impaired its function. Little said Mancini will have to declare bankruptcy to pay her medical bills without either the IMPD or the city being held responsible for the attack. "The city should be ashamed of themselves," he said.
While he did acknowledge how Indiana's law meant there was little room for how they could approach the case, he also said a state-level case was still pending and that they're weighing whether to appeal Pratt's verdict.