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Lawsuit bites Federal Way police

After four years of depositions, statements and negotiating, former Federal Way resident Ginger Mounts, 25, recently settled out of court with the Federal Way Police Department.

The lawsuit, while still awaiting official approval from the city council, was settled for $25,000, reports said.

On the evening of Nov. 30, 2003, Mounts was attacked by a member of the Federal Way Police Department: A German shepherd known as Dex, who was part of the Federal Way K-9 Unit, reports said.

Police were searching for a suspect they believed to be hiding in the area of the SeaTac Village Apartment Complex, at 312th Street and 18th Avenue South, reports said. The suspect was later apprehended.

Walking toward her car that night, Mounts saw the dog and the officer rounding the corner and froze, she said.

According to Mounts, she asked the officer if the dog was going to bite her; the officer instructed her to stand still and not speak, reports said.

She did as told, and said that is when the dog lunged for her. She said the officer commanded the dog, which was holding her by the leg, to release three times before having to physically remove the dog, reports said.

She was then taken to St. Francis Hospital for medical treatment, reports said. While she suffered minor injuries to her right leg, Mounts was more concerned about the health of her child; she was two months pregnant at the time.

Her daughter, now age 3, suffered no injuries.

According to legal statements, the city maintains that Dex and his handler “performed according to training” and acted “within Federal Way policy.”

Mounts said she wanted to make a statement with her lawsuit. She felt that the city was not taking responsibility for what happened. Mounts said that the animal was not properly trained, given that he was not following commands and that he should have been on a leash.

City Attorney Pat Richardson said the city does not assume any liability for the incident.

“The settlement is a business decision,” Richardson said.

Dex has since died due to illness, Richardson said.

Contact writer: belliot@fedwaymirror.com or (253) 925-5565.

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