A mother has launched legal action after a police dog bit her leg so badly that she needed 86 stitches during an arrest in Merseyside.
Nikki Jordan says she suffered a severe asthma attack and needed life-saving CPR after being wrestled to the ground in Marian Square, Netherton – and later needed emergency surgery on her leg.
Merseyside Police said Ms Jordan, 29, had a piece of glass in her hand and had made threats to harm the public, but her legal team argue she posed no threat when the dog was let loose on May 31.
Footage from mobile phone cameras captured much of the arrest, with videos showing Ms Jordan turning her back on three officers, including a dog handler with a German Shepherd, before being wrestled to the ground.
She shouts ‘get the dog off my leg, the dog is biting my leg’ while officers restrain her shouting ‘do not resist’ and ‘stop f***ing struggling now’.
Her legal team has launched a complaint which also alleges she was struck with police batons and rendered unconscious by an officer applying ‘pressure to her neck’ after the phone footage ends.
She accepts she suffered a mental health episode and was behaving erratically and had called police to ‘hand herself in’ after an incident earlier that evening.
Merseyside Police told The Liverpool Echo that the force’s Professional Standards department is investigating her claims.
Iain Gould, a solicitor at DPP Law, said he would be claiming Ms Jordan had been a victim of ‘a totally unjustified use of force’.
He said: ‘This is a disturbing incident in which a Police dog has been allowed to savagely bite my client’s leg whilst she was being held down on the ground by three officers.
‘My client was suffering from mental health issues and was in need of care and assistance but instead was made the victim of an animal attack.
‘The wound she has suffered is likely to leave her with life long scars.’
The footage taken by witnesses shows one officer pointing what appears to be a Taser at Ms Jordan – she claimed had its red laser sight activated.
According to a letter of complaint lodged with the force, Ms Jordan was ‘intoxicated and in a state of emotional distress’ when the officers arrived in Marian Square.
The letter says: ‘As our client walked close to the police car, the three officers leapt upon her and bore her to the ground, whereupon the police dog bit her right leg badly.
‘At the point when the police dog started to attack our client, she was being held on the ground by the three officers and there was no justification for the dog to either be instructed or allowed to bite our client.
‘The dog handler subsequently had to pull the dog’s head upwards to get the animal’s mouth off our client’s leg.’
It added that she was handcuffed and put in the back of a police car, and continued: ‘When she protested about her treatment, an officer dragged her from the car and put her to the ground again so that she was lying on her left hand side and could feel officers kneeling up against her back.
‘Our client then felt one of the male officers applying pressure to the back of her neck, she believes that this caused her to lose consciousness, and then she came round, feeling the officer pulling on her ears.
‘Our client also has baton marks to her legs. Our client understands from the fact of these marks, and what witnesses told her afterwards, that officers struck her legs with batons after taking her from the car, although because of her emotional/physical distress she does not recall this happening.’
The incident comes amid a global backlash against police brutality and while social distancing guidelines are in place to guard against the coronavirus pandemic.
According to the complaint, the officers were then forced to call an ambulance when Ms Jordan suffered from an attack of what she says was brittle asthma, a rare and severe form of the disease.
Ms Jordan says paramedics arriving at the scene performed CPR after finding she had ‘no pulse’, but she was revived and rushed to Aintree Hospital – where she underwent surgery on her right leg.
The letter adds: ‘We submit that all uses of force against our client beginning with the dog bite and continuing thereafter as described above were excessive/unlawful.’
Ms Jordan, said the incident has made her suicidal and that she has post-traumatic stress disorder, depression, anxiety and psychosis.
She conceded that her behaviour was ‘erratic and unacceptable’ in the build up to the arrest.
At the time of the arrest, a Merseyside Police spokesman said: ‘A woman contacted police shortly after 7pm suggesting she was responsible for previous incidents and asking to be arrested.
‘She began making threats to harm members of the public and police officers, claiming to be in possession of a knife and knuckle duster.’
He continued: ‘Officers attended and requested the woman drop a broken piece of glass she was holding.
‘When she refused, efforts were made to restrain her, during which she attempted to bite an officer and strike another with the glass.’
Ms Jordan was later interviewed and is on bail while enquiries continue.
Regarding the complaint, a police spokeswoman said: ‘We can confirm we have received a complaint in relation to an incident in Marian Square in Netherton on 31st May this year.
‘The complaint is currently being investigated and as such it would be inappropriate to comment further at this time.’
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