Cedar Rapids mother sues city seeking records, alleges police dog attacked her 13-year-old son

Published: Nov. 30, 2020 at 5:04 PM CST
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CEDAR RAPIDS, Iowa (KCRG) — A Cedar Rapids woman is suing the city of Cedar Rapids for all records related to an alleged August incident involving a police dog that injured her 13-year-old Black son.

TonyaMarie Adams filed the lawsuit in Linn County District Court on Tuesday, November 24, under Iowa Code Chapter 22 which governs open records rules in the state. Adams is seeking an order to compel the city to release the records related to this incident, including any body camera or cruiser audio or video, as well as attorney’s fees and costs. According to the lawsuit, the city has resisted providing many of the records sought, outside of incident and calls for service reports, citing an “ongoing investigation and prosecution of other individuals.”

The suit alleges that a Cedar Rapids Police Department K-9 unit was used against her son in the backyard of one of his friend’s homes at night on either late August 11 or early on August 12, apparently mistaking him for other suspects that officers were seeking. Officers allegedly told medical personnel at UnityPoint Health-St. Luke’s Hospital that the boy was “in a car that was involved in a pursuit which resulted in a foot pursuit.”

The boy was not charged with any crimes, according to the lawsuit. Adams claimed that her son was “attacked arrested, and threatened...merely because he was a young black male in the wrong place at the wrong time,” in the filing.

The incident resulted in bites or scratches to the boy’s arms and shoulders seen in photographs filed with the district court.

Adams’ son was sleeping in the friend’s backyard at the time of the incident due to a mixup in communication during the aftermath of the August 10 derecho, according to the Associated Press.

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