WASHINGTON - A $16 million lawsuit has been filed against the Prince George’s County Police Department for the alleged unlawful home invasion and unjust killing of a dog that happened in June of 2021.
The civil rights lawsuit alleges that three police officers, Jason Ball, Joseph Mihanda, and Anthony Jackson, entered the apartment of Erica Umana, Erika Erazo Sanchez, Dayri Amaya, and Brandon Cuevas, "without any legal justification, mitigation, a warrant, or any exception to the 4th Amendment warrant requirement" and killed Umana's dog.
Attorneys for these four residents obtained cell phone video from their clients and body worn footage from police which helps piece together what they call the terror their clients went through.
When the officers knocked on the door of the apartment where the dogs were said to live and received no answer, they got a key from the apartment complex and went inside the apartment, according to PGPD. A third officer arrived on the scene and also went into the apartment.
In footage of the incident, residents can be seen asking the officers for a warrant, which they didn't have.
When one officer opened the door to come out of a bedroom, a dog, Hennessey, got out too. Two of the officers fired at Hennessey and a third tased her. The dog was critically injured and later euthanized.
In footage released Monday, one of the residents can be seen trying to comfort the dog as it lay on the ground, allegedly paralyzed.
"It was a nightmare. I held Henney’s body, bloody body, while she was dying in her arms, while the rest of her family was wrongfully detained and denied the ability to check on her," said Sanchez.
The lawsuit says that after killing Umana's dog, the officers then detained the residents, despite no crimes having been committed.
In 2021, two of the officers were suspended and a third was placed on administrative leave as an investigation was opened by the Internal Affairs Division.
FOX 5 has learned the two suspended officers faced the internal police trial board for conduct unbecoming of an officer. Both remain on administrative duty. The third was also found to have done conduct unbecoming of an officer, was suspended for two weeks, passed up for a promotion cycle, and is back out on duty.
The attorneys said Monday they are seeking better training for officers.
"It is a fundamental basic civil right, right? This is not anything complex. This is the basics. This is like the text of the Fourth Amendment, the warrants must be obtained or you cannot go in. That is it. If there’s no exception, you are in violation of the constitution, and that is exactly what these officers did," said attorney Malcolm Ruff.
Prince George’s County Police did not comment directly on the lawsuit or this demand for a shift of culture in the department.
The state's attorney did an inquiry and told FOX 5 they determined no charges were warranted against these officers.