Police: Use of force in arrest of woman 'unreasonable'

AP News
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Posted: Jan 29, 2015 3:32 PM

NORFOLK, Va. (AP) — An official investigating the arrest of a Virginia woman who said she was bitten by a police dog several times after leaving a party has determined that the use of force in the incident was unreasonable.

London Colvin, an Army reservist and Norfolk State University student, had been knocked down by a partygoer and was trying to get away from the party, her father, witnesses and others told The Virginian-Pilot (http://bit.ly/1BA4OhI).

Police stopped her to ask questions about the gathering, her father, Norman Colvin said. Officers told her to put her hands behind her back. She told them "no" and asked what she was being charged with, her father said.

"That was not something they wanted to hear," Norman Colvin said.

A friend of London Colvin's, Tyrese Banks, said she saw an officer holding Colvin down and the dog on the woman's leg.

Colvin — who, through her father, declined to comment directly to the newspaper — was charged with disorderly conduct and resisting arrest. She filed a complaint with police. The officer involved is on administrative duty.

Michael Goldsmith, chief of police in Norfolk, in southeastern Virginia, said Thursday that the investigation is in its final stages and he has found the use of force unreasonable. In his statement, he did not specifically address any dog bites.

He said that on that night, police were investigating 911 calls regarding a loud party and a street fight at another location involving 35 people.

Goldsmith also said he plans to review his department's policy on police dogs.

The NAACP is looking into the incident, said Richard James, chairman of the legal redress committee for the organization's Norfolk branch and a retired Norfolk police officer. James told the newspaper that two officers held her as she was bitten.

"The K-9 bit her several times in the leg, causing major damage to the leg," James said.