It’s been almost two years since the Maricopa County Sheriff’s Office determined one of its deputies did nothing wrong by allowing his K9 to maul a handcuffed man for more than three minutes inside a jail cell.
But it’s only now that we are learning of the decision because the agency made no attempt to go public with it. However, there is very little credibility in a case when cops investigate themselves so we should not be surprised.
Nevertheless, a lawsuit against the Maricopa County Sheriff’s Office is still pending which will probably result in a payout if it goes before a reasonable jury.
After all, it was Shane McGough’s words more than his actions that prompted a deputy to sic his dog on him.
McGouogh had been arrested earlier that day for trying to stop a deputy from searching his friend’s car without probable cause after an afternoon of tubing down a river.
The deputies were also upset that one of them ended up with a broken leg while trying to arrest McGough during the initial interaction whose attorney describes as a “freak accident.”
Once they had him in a jail cell, McGough continued to question why he had been arrested when U.S. Forest Service officer Kelly Fleming briefly wrapped her hands around his neck after accusing him of kicking her (which is not caught on video).
“Bitch, f_ck you,” McGough says. “F_ck you and your stank-ass p_ssy.”
That was when the deputies threw him on the jail cell floor, allowing the dog to bite him for more than three minutes.
The incident took place July 15, 2017 after McGough and friends spent a day tubing down the Salt River east of Phoenix.
At one point, the group of friends got into a verbal argument with a taxi driver who accused them of striking his car with their car which drew the attention of a pair of deputies.
One of the deputies opened the door to McGough’s friend’s car, spotting a gun in the side pocket of the door – which is legal in Arizona – prompting McGough to intervene, telling him he had no right to search the car.
That led to deputies pouncing on McGough, resulting in Maricopa County sheriff’s deputy David Crissinger breaking his leg. Then once they had him in the jail cell, they had trouble removing the handcuffs because a key broke inside one of the cuffs. Eventually, they used bolt cutters but only after they allowed the dog to attack him for three long minutes.
According to the Phoenix New Times:
According to MCSO incident reports, Deputy Michael Finney opened the driver-side door of a truck owned by McGough’s friend and saw a handgun in the map pocket of the door. McGough stepped in between Finney and the truck, stating that the deputy had no right to be search the vehicle, deputies claim. Finney then tried to arrest McGough. In response, the reports state, McGough hit deputies before he was tackled. Deputy David Crissinger, broke his leg during the takedown. McGough’s attorney contends that the injury was a “freak accident.” (Crissinger filed a lawsuit against McGough in June 2018 that is still proceeding in county court.)
McGough was handcuffed and detained in the back of a patrol car and driven to the Lake Patrol substation. Deputies claimed that while in transit, McGough moved his cuffed hands to the front of his body — a move that officers would later cite as a justification for the dog attack. At the facility, McGough was walked to a holding cell while repeatedly asking officers why he was being detained. Eversole, the K9 handler, followed close behind and brought the dog, Shadow, into the cell.
Body camera footage of the incident shows Deputy Alden Jackson trying to unlock McGough’s handcuffs. McGough appeared to try and stand up, but was pushed back down while Eversole unsuccessfully tried to order Shadow to bite McGough. Kelly Fleming, a U.S. Forest Service Officer who was in the holding cell, grabbed McGough by the throat and told him to “calm down,” prompting McGough to respond, “Bitch, fuck you.”
Deputies claimed in reports that McGough was “fighting,” trying to use his handcuffs as a weapon, and had kicked officers. McGough’s lawsuit characterizes these claims as lies.
McGough was charged with four counts of assaulting an officer and four counts of aggravated assault. He ended up pleading guilty to aggravated assault on an officer, serving six months in jail.
Shaun Eversole, the deputy who sicced the dog on McGough, has since been promoted to sergeant. Crissinger, the deputy whose leg was broken, has filed his own lawsuit against McGough which is still pending in county court.