Broward Deputy With Troubled History Faces Civil Trial in Police Dog-Bite Case

FLORIDA – Broward Sheriff’s deputy, accused multiple times of brutality, will be back in court again Monday to face a civil suit that accuses him of letting his police dog attack a suspect for up to 20 minutes.

Deputy Gerald Wengert, known as Jerry, became well known when he and one of his dogs were featured in the past on the TV reality show “Unleashed: K-9 Broward County.”

Attorneys for Reginald Chatman are seeking $135,000 in compensation and damages for dog-bite injuries to his left hip, knee and leg during a 2014 arrest in Tamarac.

Wengert denies any wrongdoing.

Chatman admits he was high on cocaine and Ecstasy when he stole about $30 worth of items from a CVS and then pushed deputies and ran off when they tried to question him.

Wengert and his police dog at the time, Diesel, were called to the scene and found Chatman hiding in a bush.

The three-day jury trial, which starts Monday in federal court in Miami, is focused on one very narrow issue: the length of time that Wengert allowed the highly trained dog to bite and latch on to Chatman’s leg.

Chatman says he made it clear that he was surrendering to law enforcement as soon as Diesel bit him.

“[Wengert used] excessive force when he maliciously and sadistically released his K-9 unit [dog] on Chatman and allowed the K-9 unit to continue the attack for an inhumane length of time,” the lawsuit alleges.

Chatman says the dog bit him for 15 to 20 minutes while Wengert says it was only a matter of seconds, court records show. Chatman concedes he was legally arrested and that Wengert was entitled to use the police dog to catch him.

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