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East Liverpool sued over bite by K-9

LISBON — A Wellsville man is suing after he reportedly was bitten last March by East Liverpool K-9 Nero.

The civil lawsuit was filed in Common Pleas Court Wednesday against the dog’s handler, Patrolman Chris Green, as well as Chief John Lane and the city.

According to the lawsuit, Kent Manninen on March 26, 2020 was visiting friends near Sophia Street in East Liverpool, when Green allegedly allowed K-9 Nero to run down the street, jump on him, attack, bite, injure and assault him without just cause. There was no police business reason or criminal suspicion that would have justified the dog to bite Manninen, according to the lawsuit.

The lawsuit claims the dog was not properly controlled or trained. Additionally, it further alleges Lane came to the scene and refused to help Manninen with his injuries until he signed a paper stating he would not sue the police department. The lawsuit accused Lane and the department of attempting to cover up what happened and deprive Manninen of his rights to bring a civil suit.

A copy of what Manninen wrote on an East Liverpool Police Department statement form is included with the lawsuit.

“I do not wish to write a statement or cause anyone to get into trouble. I do not wish to pursue any issue w/what happened or pursue any lawsuit with the E.L.P.D.”

Lane, who also signed the statement, described what happened was an accidental bite when contacted Thursday. He denied the claims that he ever kept Manninen from getting medical care, stating he would never do that. Lane also said he did ask Manninen to provide a statement about what happened.

He declined to comment further, noting it is pending litigation and has been turned over to the city Law Director Charles Payne.

The city of East Liverpool is named in the lawsuit, which states city officials should have known Nero had a history of biting and known Green was unable to control him. It claims the city and department failed to investigate prior dog attacks by Nero.

The lawsuit seeks in excess of the minimal jurisdictional limits to cover the physical injuries, emotional distress and damages, as well as the legal fees of the attorneys. The lawsuit was filed by Vincent S. Gurrera and Christopher C. Amato.

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