TAKOMA PARK, Md. (FOX 5 DC) - More than a year after a woman was mistakenly attacked by a Takoma Park police K-9, she told FOX she’s reached a financial settlement with the city.
The incident occurred in December 2018. Ayanna Brooks and her boyfriend Joseph Burroughs were out walking their dog, when according to police reports, the K-9, named Drogo, broke free and latched onto Brooks.
An unnamed officer’s body camera captured him describing the incident later that night.
“Her dog just freaking took off and um bit this citizen,” the officer said. “So yeah, bit the (expletive) out of the citizen.”
Months later, after the incident and everything that’s come along with it, including therapy, Brooks said she reached the undisclosed financial settlement with the city within the past few weeks.
“I hope that there comes a day where that will not happen to anybody else, for any reason,” she said Wednesday evening.
Takoma Park City Manager Suzanne Ludlow planned to address the incident Wednesday at a virtual council meeting. In an email sent to FOX 5 ahead of the meeting, she said the attack was investigated by officials in both Takoma Park and also D.C. because it happened just over the District border.
Ludlow said investigators found that the incident was accidental, that some procedures and best practices were not followed, and that disciplinary action was taken. Ludlow added that the officer who was involved no longer works for the city and that the K-9 is no longer in service with the department.
FOX 5 hoped to sit down with officials to learn more, but Ludlow said via email that “not everything is concluded so no one from the City can provide additional information at this moment.”
As for Brooks, she said she wants to see change.
“Ultimately, what I would like to see happen, like in the future, be it five years or 10 years from now, is that we are not using K-9’s on people to attack them. You know there’s cadaver sniffing, drug-sniffing, bomb-sniffing, applications on which the dogs and animals can still be useful, but I don’t think that this antiquated practice should still be occurring in 2020. It’s just kind of ridiculous to me,” Brooks said.
Ludlow would not confirm whether a financial settlement was reached with Brooks. She did say the city is still evaluating whether having a K-9 unit is appropriate for Takoma Park.