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$5 million lawsuit filed against City of Hernando, claims of excessive force used by officer and K-9 dog

Lawsuit claims dog mauled man pulled over on traffic stop, officer previously sued.
Credit: City of Hernando

MEMPHIS, Tenn. — The City of Hernando is facing a $5 million federal lawsuit after a Memphis man was mauled by the Hernando Police Department's police dog. 

According to the lawsuit, Hernando Police Officer Lynn Brown ordered his dog to attack Adrian Hoyle without justification during a September 3, 2020, traffic stop. It says Hoyle was compliant and defenseless. The lawsuit claims after the K-9 dog mauled Hoyle, it said Brown and at least one other officer began using their feet and fists to physically attack him.

At one point, officers stood on Hoyle's back as if wiping his feet on Hoyle as if his torso was a floor mat, according to the lawsuit. According to the lawsuit, the officers also screamed epithets at Hoyle during this time. Hoyle was taken to the hospital for stitches. 

According to the lawsuit, Officer Brown was not justified in his use and deployment of the K-9 animal. The lawsuit says Brown has a long and well-published history of aggression. 

Just last week, Brown was also named in a different lawsuit against the City of Hernando. In that lawsuit, two people died after the car they were in crashed on I-55.  According to that lawsuit, a police chase had been called off due to public safety, but the lawsuit claims Brown continued the pursuit which ended with the fatal crash. 

Brown previously worked as an officer for the Horn Lake Police Department. Brown retired from that department after a lawsuit was filed connected to him ordering his K-9 dog to attack a man named Jacob Cooper who was pulled over for misdemeanor DUI. A 2016 Court of Appeals decision found even though the officer who pulled over Cooper did not request the canine unit, Brown showed up and deployed his dog Sunny, which attacked Cooper.

An appeals court judge found Brown's use of force was "objectively unreasonable" and that "permitting a dog to continue biting a compliant and non-threatening arrestee in objectively unreasonable." The Appeals court found that "no reasonable officer could believe that Cooper was actively resisting arrest," and yet "Brown still did not command Sunny to release the bite."

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In the most recently filed lawsuit against Hernando, the lawsuit claims the police chief and city leaders ignore officers' bad behavior. It claims not enough training is conducted regarding the use of force and that excessive force complaints are not investigated. 

Hernando Police Chief Scott Worsham said he cannot comment because of pending litigation.