A May, 2008, unprovoked attack on young Angela Berk by a Sarasota Police Dept. K-9 unit left her with 14 stitches in her leg and an irrational fear of large dogs and police cars, which doesn't usually show up in kids until they reach the age of 16.
Angela, riding an electric scooter, apparently startled the dog, who was being loaded into its handler's, Officer Sean Gleason, patrol car. "Aries," ever vigilant and highly trained to take a bite out of crime, determined that an unsupervised 12-year old on an electric scooter was a violation of numerous codes and ordinances and took a bite out of Angela's right leg instead.
The girl, who is autistic, has since had a permanent scar, nightmares, cold sweats and an unexplained rash on the nape of her neck, which the family's lawyers all attribute to the attack. The K-9 canine, meanwhile, continued on the force until its retirement four months ago and has been said to be hitting the bottle regularly and is frequently seen hanging around local bars and after-hours clubs, sniffing strange asses when it has had a little too much to drink.
Angela's family wants money for pain and suffering--even though they didn't actually feel the pain or really suffer that much, as they were not the ones bitten. Sarasota PD conducted their 'standard operating procedure' of picking up the 12-year old, taking her downtown to meet with risk management, having her sign a waiver (written in an obscure Greek dialect), taking her to the bank to cash a $400 city check (she didn't have her own account, being 12 and all), then giving her a ride back home in a real, live police car.
The Berks said $89k would assuage their feelings, while the City thought $15k should be more than enough to do the trick. Lawyers to follow.
Surprisingly---------or not so-----------is the reaction of the local critics in the 'Comments Forum' for this story. Some are understandably sympathetic toward the girl ("this girl and her family deserve compensation for the incident"), most think the parents are trying to milk this for all its worth ("just another money grubbing family looking for a handout" and "I was utterly SHOCKED to look on the Manatee Clerk's website and find that Ray Berk was "I facing foreclosure for a 384,068.33 mortgage that goes to auction in January"), some are positively rabid (HA!) in their defense of the SPD ("I have a few questions for you, Mr. Ruger. First off, why do you live to throw dirt on police officers and the police department?" and " Another attack on a police officer? The attack should be on the parents of this so called “Autistic girl”. Or did she become autistic after the incident? This is such crap.") and some think the girl, being autistic, should be shuttered away in a filthy padded cell with a dirt floor in some spooky old sanitarium to live out her wretched life in solitary confinement ("she's 12 and autistic and yet she rides an electric scooter up and down the street. I bet she drove her neighbors crazy." and "If the little girl really is Autistic, then why was she riding a motorized scooter unsupervised.. You would think that the parents cared about there mentally ill child... guess not.")
Tough crowd, eh?
There is shocking video of the K-9 dog "Aries" in a vicious attack sequence that the Sarasota PD has tried to quash. It is presented here, not to make a judgement about this particular case, but to demonstrate just how bloodcurdlingly violent a dog attack can be.
Please be advised that the following unauthorized video contains graphic scenes of senseless and gratuitous violence, buckets of blood, gore galore and the heartbreak of psoriasis. It is not suitable for anyone under 21, has a weak heart or is currently or may become pregnant with puppies. Under no circumstances should you allow pet dogs or other domesticated animals watch this video, lest they feel empowered to kill you in your sleep, which has happened in several instances.
You've been warned..........