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Suspect sues Minnesota police after he was shot while ‘naked, unarmed, and attempting to surrender’

A Minnesota sexual assault suspect who was shot by police after hiding naked in a dumpster two years ago has filed a lawsuit against the Saint Paul Police Department for shooting him while he was “unarmed” and “attempting to surrender.”

The lawsuit, filed Monday on behalf of Joseph Washington, claims he followed officers’ commands and was “naked, unarmed, and attempting to surrender” to police when a K-9 bit him in November 2020, FOX 9 reported.

The officer who used the K-9 is accused of “unnecessary and excessive use of force.”

Another officer, the lawsuit says, shot and injured Washington in another instance of “unnecessary and excessive use of force.”

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According to the lawsuit, the officers’ use of force resulted in Washington suffering “physical pain and trauma; emotional trauma, anguish and distress; permanent physical injuries; diminished quality and enjoyment of life; and medical expenses.”

The City of St. Paul and officers Anthony Dean and Colleen Rooney are named as defendants in the lawsuit, which says their actions violated Washington’s Fourth Amendment rights and further alleges battery and negligence. 

Washington is requesting that the court grant him judgment against the defendants on all claims. He is also seeking compensatory damages, punitive damages and reasonable attorneys fees.

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Before the incident with police, Washington was identified as a suspect in a violent sexual assault against his ex-girlfriend. He was ultimately charged with three counts of first-degree criminal sexual conduct, one count of kidnapping and one count of second-degree assault.

The vehicle Washington and his victim were in crashed before he then broke into a nearby home. The homeowner alerted authorities, and officers arrived to find Washington hiding in a dumpster naked.

Police attempted to talk him into exiting the dumpster, and one officer deployed an irritant. Washington then climbed out of the dumpster and ran toward the officers, who used Tasers and a K-9 officer in an effort to stop him.

Officer Dean then shot him at least twice. No firearms were found in the dumpster or where Washington was shot. Dean was later relieved of his duty.

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