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Sheffield man sues officers, city for K9 attack

SHEFFIELD — A Sheffield man, who was attacked on his front porch by a police dog in 2021, is suing the city, three police officers and seven Colbert County Sheriff’s deputies.

Marvin Long, 53, filed a federal lawsuit last week in District Court. He is represented by Harry Daniels and Roderick Van Daniel.

Body camera video shows Long telling the officers to leave his property. But, instead of leaving, the officers assaulting Long, wrestling him to the ground and siccing a K9 officer on him as he calls for help.

In the video, the K-9’s handler can be heard saying “Bite him! Bite him! Get him! Bite him! Good!”

“It’s sickening,” said Daniels. “We expect to see this kind of brutality on old news reels or hear stories about it from our parents or grandparents.

“Apparently not much has changed in Alabama in 60 years.”

In addition to the city, the lawsuit names Lt. Max Dotson, Brett Evans and Darien Fountain of the Sheffield Police Department and Colbert County Sheriff’s Deputies  Daniel Cruise, Tommy Mills, Bradley Skipworth, Curtis Burns, John Harkins, Tim Vanderford and Tyler Evans.

Sheffield Police Sgt. Nick Risner, the officer directing the police dog to attack Long, is not named in the lawsuit because he died Oct. 2, 2021 from injuries during a shooting.

Dotson was arrested in March and charged with reckless endangerment, menacing, third-degree assault and harassment after assaulting a Florence man and threatening him with a gun while off-duty.

“These officers weren’t satisfied with violating Mr. Long’s civil rights and siccing their police dog on him while he was unarmed, defenseless and crying for help. They made up circumstances so they could charge him with a crime,” Van Daniel said. “If we let criminal cops assault an innocent man and then charge him for the crime, none of us are safe.”

The officers arrested Long and charged him with obstruction and resisting arrest. The obstruction charge was later dropped.

Attorneys for the City of Sheffield and Colbert County declined to comment on the lawsuit.

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