Man sues West Jordan police over injuries suffered in K9 encounter

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WEST JORDAN, Utah -- A man has filed a lawsuit against the West Jordan Police Department that alleges his rights were violated when a police K9 was dispatched and subsequently injured him, but police said they stand behind their actions.

"I didn't dare to move. I put my hands up and froze. If I would have blinked, I thought I was going to get shot," said Lee Hoogveldt, recalling an incident which played out in his home on March 24, 2013.

His attorney, Robert Sykes, filed a civil rights lawsuit in Federal Court on Thursday, and he provided the media with copies of body camera video showing Hoogveldt being attacked by a police dog.

"At the time and place this force was used, there was no justification at all to sic a police dog on somebody," Sykes said.

The video shows Hoogveldt seated on a sofa after police enter his home. After numerous commands from officers, he raises his hands in the air seconds before a dog named "Pyro" lunges at his face, bites, and holds on for about 15 seconds.

Hoogveldt is then pulled into a nearby room by another officer. The video shows large amounts of blood covering his face. Seconds later, Hoogveldt is face down, and as officers work to get him handcuffed, the dog bites him in the buttocks.

But Sykes alleges the problems started before the dog attacked.

"There's a right to be free from unlawful entry, under the Fourth Amendment," he told FOX 13 News, adding, "We have a police officer without a warrant, kicking down a door, and going in someone's home."

The West Jordan Police Department said the video tells an incomplete story. In a press conference Thursday afternoon, Sgt. Dan Roberts said they'd been called to Hoogveldts residence by neighbors who'd felt threatened by him and were concerned about a fire burning in his back yard.

"To protect the neighborhood, they had to go in and secure Mr. Hoogveldt," he said. "The fire department could not respond to take care of the fires."

Roberts also said Hoogveldt is well-known to the police department.

"His history included an aggravated assault with a weapon, and another incident in which officers found a knife concealed on his person," Roberts said.

As for what Sykes identifies as Hoogveldt's surrender in the video, Roberts says: "He could have easily been hiding another weapon on him."

The West Jordan Police Department maintains that their officers were in danger and that appropriate force was used to take Lee Hoogveldt into custody.

They say the incident was also captured by at least one other officer's body camera, but that video will not be released due to the litigation.

The full video is available below. WARNING: This raw footage may be disturbing to some, viewer discretion is advised.


  • itzbane

    Wow… So a police officer can just kick your door down, and send a dog after you? Hope this guy sues the hell out of them, and the officer loses his job.

  • ftp9000

    Hope that k9 turns on its handler’s kids one day, then he’ll understand what he did to this person was wrong. Maybe that inbred monkey will learn some empathy.

    • Brian

      Wow! That’s pretty harsh! I would never wish for a child to be attacked by a dog. Why do you insist on punishing someone who had nothing to do with this encounter?

      • Shaarinya (@Shaarinya)

        why should american citizens have their home violated without a warrant. Why should citizens be attacked and harmed in their own home without provocation.


        This man was innocent. A burn barrel is NO REASON to be viciously attacked by a dog who wants to rip their face off. A dog allegedly trained to assist in police brutality…aka enforcement.

        What if that was your daughter? Or your son? With their mangled face staring at you because a cop invaded your home without a warrant-over burning an old Christmas tree.

        These cops deserve to know what they are doing to innocent people.

        And this neighbour…would be wise to move. Their ignorance caused the permanent maiming of this victim. Their lack of understanding and pre-programmed government approved fear, motivated them to call the police, who then violated his home, his personal self, and his rights.

        You should be OUTRAGED. NOT supporting police brutality.

  • TooFang

    Wow, this is unbelievable. Watching this video is reminiscent of something you would see the Nazi Gestapo or SS do. It’s unbelievable that this kind of stuff is happening in America.

  • camk

    holy cow. this makes me sick. copes are one of the most scarey group of people i have ever seen. there blood lust is a joke. do we want these kind of animals around are kids. If there happened to have had a small child running around that house when they came in and let the dog go. We could easily have a dead child in this story.

  • Greg

    I wish police officers would take notice of this comment.
    I had been one of the most pro-police person you could imagine. Even at the time of Rodney King I would give police the benefit of the doubt. And even when I was stopped for an hour and a half for suspected drug violation upon a dog supposedly hitting on the vehicle, even though I never saw a dog. It also seemed they were trying to provoke some reaction and wouldn’t believe it when I told them my daughter lived “right over there” and they could check on it.
    Anyway, fast forward to today. We have seen similar videos as this one numerous times Every Week. The videos vary from mild unwarranted actions by police to ones as this to those resulting in serious injury and death.
    Now to the point. I no longer trust police in any way shape or form. They have to PROVE themselves to me FIRST. My first assumption Now is the police are suspect in any confrontation that results in media coverage. To the officers that are in This video. Is THIS what YOU want society to become, distrustful of the police in every instance. It has been said that police have responded to the increase in the crime rate but how much have the police actually stirred the public into confrontation. Nowadays I really wonder which it is.

    • Paul

      When I was a kid I looked up to and respected police officers, now that I’m an adult I had to train my kids on how to deal with police officers in hopes that they won’t get killed. It’s sad, so sad…

  • BoDeeDoe

    The problem is systemic. The police across the nation are trained to fear everyone and we, the general public are their enemy. We need to go back to Mayberry to fix this mess. Police need to be public servants first, protect the public first and foremost and risk their own lives to do it instead of shooting first and asking questions later. Their actions are of cowardly thugs instead of brave heroes. I’m truly ashamed of the police.

  • Curtis

    This is sick, I cannot believe they said “they stand by there actions” serve and protect, what a lie. More like pay me your hard earn money so one day everyone can get a dose of “police justice” 50% of police are thugs with a badge. Your criminals, and we as citizens need to arrest you!

  • adamrussell

    Police had no cause to break down the door. Any order given after that cannot be a lawful order since the police were guilty of breaking and entering. They had no right to even be in his house! Claiming that they had to sic the attack dog on him because they were afraid he might go for a knife is akin to a burglar claiming he killed the homeowner in self defense.


      Are you suggesting that school teachers would make good police officers Word696969? When it comes to dealing with your garden variety puke it takes a person with more grit and determination than you obviously have.

      • Carl Wittmann

        You’re right. Police departments are definitely going to need to hire officers with more grit than those uniformed cowards who assaulted an unarmed man.

  • adamrussell

    The guy should file charges for
    1. Breaking and entering.
    2. Assault and Battery
    3. Torture with extenuating circumstance as it was under color of authority
    4. Violation of federal civil rights
    5. False arrest.

  • Emily

    How dare he flinch when the dog attacks! That’s resisting arrest, and therefore the dog was completely justified!!!!

  • Cake

    Playing a bit of devil’s advocate here, the video footage, plus what they’ve stated as far as previous encounters, I’m not going to side completely with Hoogveldt.

    First, as a police officer, when you’re called out to any residence or pull over a car, they gather all information about you before they even take a step towards you. As much info as they can. They determined this guy MIGHT be an aggressor with his previous history. With that in mind, they went to the door.

    The officer with the video footage, states pretty blatantly that they can see Hoogveldt and he’s refusing to do what they say. Before we even get to the warrant / entry lawfulness, this guy is refusing to get up and do as he’s told. Which leads us to why the police here even got aggressive in the first place. He’s refusing to do as he’s told, they threatened him several times, and he still refused. They’re aware this guy has assault charges and has been known to have weapons. Strew those details in line and yeah, they’re under the impression this guy is a threat.

    So they enter the house. Find the guy on the couch, although he’s complying with showing his hands, he’s not standing up. They don’t just tell him to get up once… they give him plenty, plenty of time and chances to comply. He’s already insubordinate with not answering the door, he’s still sitting there.

    I’m not going to say that the dog should have been used, I would say that’s excessive, but I’m going to agree that an aggressive action was alright to take, if you can have any empathy with the officer.

    On a daily basis, the police have to deal with things like this. Sometimes it plays out worse on their part, or who they’re attempting to detain. Not all judgement is perfect, but most, and I mean most of us, couldn’t do any better with the situation and making sure things are ACTUALLY under control. And by that, I’m coming from a Utilitarian point of view. The greater good for the masses.

    This man has in some way, made his neighbors feel threatened. He’s already harmed another individual and seen repercussions for it, and found to have weapons present when encountered by other officers. As much as I’d like to believe I would handle this in a “Mayberry” fashion, I’d be kidding myself. There’s plenty of evidence pointing that I should C.Y.A. when approcahing Hoogveldt. And there’s a reason why my tax dollars fund someone else’s job security that’s willing to encounter Hoogveldt on a bad day, when he’s willing to assault you, with a knife on him.

    Feel free to whistle.

    • Paul Mikowski

      More and more people are admitting,that we are living in the police state,where no matter what is being done to us in the name of the law is justified and if we dare to raise our voices,we will be punished. I have a very real suspicion,that there will be a time,when we will simply become afraid to even call the police,knowing that our neighborhoods will become a trail of dead bodies with all familiar ‘police action was justified ‘ or ‘ we assisted the suspect to the ground’
      The question remains – Do we have enough courage to face and overcome this ever growing evil of oppression by police ? IF…we do not…Change the name to : The United Police States of Slavery.

    • Paul Mikowski

      I would like to say: In your view why not go step further…Save the taxpayer money and stress of the dog. Why not just put a bullet in a guy’s skull right there ? I bet you would love that. Would ya ? I bet you were very happy about ‘not guilty’ verdict in killing of Kelly Thomas by those caring police officers who pushed his skull in and flatten his body.
      You would make a one great killer cop. Congrats. Go serve and protect the establishment’s interest. People ? Oh..They do not matter …They are just taxpayers,just put them against the wall Mr.Gestapo- Cake.

    • seriously?

      Has it occurred to you that maybe he has some sort of hearing loss? My FIRST clue was that he was still sitting on his couch after his door was just kicked in. Second WAS the number of times he was told to put his hands up.
      What if he wasn’t the one sitting there and it was a teenage kid? What do you use for justification then? So many what ifs here and you still say they were right. Shame. I hope you are ONLY playing devil’s advocate because all we need is 1% of the population to think this way and we are doomed from the start since most guns can kill at least 7 people and it only takes one trigger happy idiot at the wheel.
      All of this is secondary ONLY to the fact that the police did in fact illegally enter his home without even attempting to knock, basing all of their actions on so called factual information that was only correct to their knowledge as of the last time they were called to that address OR based on information given at this man’s last interaction with law enforcement. We all know no one calls the police to update their address when they move, so lets not even try to ignore that little gem of what if.
      I personally hope this department is made an example of to the tune of a 7 figure outcome and these so called protectors and servers are ordered to never interact with him without written permission well in advance. Don’t forget this was all due to a fire in a barrel and likely an overacting neighbor (I purposely guessed at the neighbor part to show how it looks when someone assumes something they have no right to assume) fueled by trigger happy officers of the law with a lethal weapon on 4 legs.
      I could go on all day long about how this entire incident is the fault of the police department and the idiot at the helm but there is literally no time for that, too many other people are having their doors kicked in and the dinner bells are being rung for Fido by people I wouldn’t trust to boil water. I may have to comment on those atrocities, too.

  • william thurmond

    As a american this video makes me sick. I can understand the man wasnt complying with the officers but at no time did i see him make a threat or do anything threatening to warrrent that use of force. I understand the meaning of escalation of force maybe that only is used in the army im not sure. But the officers were too anxious in this situation. As a soldier there are risks in my job and i understand that. if i tell a person to do somthing and he doesnt, you up your force one level. You dont just go full throttle on them. officers now are to afraid of getting hurt know that you signed up for that job and there are risks.

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