As reported by CBS News, four roommates—Erica Umana, Erika Erazo Sanchez, Dayri Amaya Benitez, and Brandon Cuevas—are seeking $16 million over multiple alleged violations of their rights by the Prince George's County Police Department.
On June 1, 2021, law enforcement responded to a report that a dog had bitten a neighbor at the apartment complex where the plaintiffs lived. The group of roommates claim three police officers broke into their residence, physically detained them without justification, and shot their pet. The dog, a boxer mix named Hennessey, was left paralyzed and ultimately euthanized following the horrifying incident.
"This lawsuit is yet another tragically foreseeable outcome of a failed and biased system of policing in Prince George's County, to which County leadership has continually turned a blind eye," the lawsuit states.
The suit notes that after shooting the dog, the police officers detained the four roommates without giving them a reason for putting them in handcuffs.
"These officers then further violated Plantiffs' rights by unlawfully pointing guns and tasers at them, threatening physical violence against them, assaulting them, falsely detaining them, and ultimately killing Plaintiff Umana's pet dog unnecessarily, right in front of them," the lawsuit claims.
The officers subsequently left the four roommates in police vehicles for an hour before releasing them from custody.
Back in 2021, the PGPD placed all three officers on paid administrative leave as the department conducted an internal investigation. The department later accused two of the cops of "conduct unbecoming an officer," while dismissing the third of any wrongdoing.
"After reviewing all of the evidence in this matter a determination was made that actions of the officers didn't generate criminal liability because they were acting in good faith," a spokesperson for the department tells the Washington Post.