Skip navigation
× You have 2 more free articles available this month. Subscribe today.

$1 Million Awarded to Innocent Victim of Police Dog Attack

Washington state resident Ken Rogers was awarded $1.05 million by a federal jury after a police dog attacked him while sleeping on July 13, 2003.

Kennewick city police were chasing a suspect utilizing a K 9 police dog. The dog mistook Rogers’ scent for that of the suspect, jumped over a backyard fence, and bit Rogers, 54, numerous times on the face, neck, back and hand during the unprovoked attack. Three police officers then tore down the fence and tore into Rogers, beating him with fists and a flashlight before handcuffing and arresting him.

Rogers brought suit in U.S. District Court against the city, Benton County and four officers for civil rights violations, including unlawful imprisonment, false arrest, improper search and seizure, and failure to provide medical treatment. In an interlocutory appeal, the Ninth Circuit held the police officers were not entitled to qualified immunity for their conduct. See: Rogers v. City of Kennewick, 205 Fed.Appx. 491 (9th Cir. 2006) (unpublished).

At trial in May 2007, a federal jury determined that Rogers’ Fourth Amendment rights against unreasonable seizure had been violated, and awarded him $1.05 million in compensatory and punitive damages. The award was approximately two-and-a-half times an earlier settlement offer made by the City of Kennewick’s insurance agency. An appeal is pending. See: Rogers v. City of Kennewick, U.S.D.C. (ED Wash.), Case No. 2:04-cv-05028-EFS.

It was later determined that the suspect the police had been chasing, which resulted in the K-9 attack on Rogers, was not a hardened criminal but had been operating a motor scooter without a helmet or headlights and had fled when police tried to pull him over. That suspect was Gary Hilliard, a Benton County jail guard. Hillard was later fired after sexually explicit pictures of children were found on his personal computer; he served three months in jail.

Two of the police officers involved in this incident, as well as the K-9 dog, left the police force between 2003 and 2006. One of the officers, Ryan Bonnalie, was reportedly fired in 2005 after threatening a 63-year-old Meals on Wheels volunteer with a handgun during an off-duty road rage incident.

Sources: Tri City Herald,,

As a digital subscriber to Prison Legal News, you can access full text and downloads for this and other premium content.

Subscribe today

Already a subscriber? Login

Related legal cases

Rogers v. City of Kennewick

Rogers v. City of Kennewick