Cleveland Police may be facing unprecedented scrutiny these days, but their dogs still get a pass.
A 50-year-old Cleveland man faces charges for assaulting a police dog after a bizarre episode in the city’s St. Clair-Superior neighborhood. Based on the accounts of defendant Sherman Sherrills and officers at the scene, it’s the dog who should be phoning his attorney.
On January 20, several police cars converged on Addison Road after a reported shooting. Sherrills says he was fixing up a nearby home and went out into the street to check on the commotion. He walked past a parked police car with a growling German shepherd inside. The dog, he says, pushed open the door and starting chasing him.
Officers saw Sherrills running from the pooch and screaming “Get your dogs off me!” according to the police report — which also notes that some officers also ran for cover “to avoid being bitten by the dog.”
Sherrills says the dog, named “Jace,” bit him on the left arm. The report doesn’t mention this, but does state that one officer gave commands that Jace “immediately responded to.” It then notes that Sherrills received emergency treatment.
And how does this amount to canine assault? In court documents, an officer claimed that Sherrills opened a car door that read “Caution Police Dog.”
“Why would a person open a door when there’s a barking canine inside?” asks Sherrills. “I didn’t do anything wrong, and I won’t plead guilty to it.”
Jace could not be reached for comment.