Suit filed over alleged police dog attack

A Costa Mesa man has sued the Newport Beach Police Department, alleging that a police dog mauled him after officers released the animal near a garage where the claimant was sleeping.

Usyel Ocampo Roman, 34, seeks yet-to-be-determined damages and payment to cover medical bills and other expenses related to the incident.

A lawyer for Ocampo Roman filed the complaint in Orange County Superior Court on Oct. 10.

Ocampo Roman was asleep in his friend's garage on Coolidge Avenue in Costa Mesa when Newport Beach police were assisting in a search for suspects nearby about 3 a.m. March 17, according to the lawsuit.

The garage door was left ajar to let air in while Ocampo Roman slept.

The dog allegedly bolted into the garage, where it "bit, clawed and scratched" Ocampo Roman.

Ocampo Roman suffered "severe cuts and wounds to his left and right arms, bruises on his left and right arms, and severe pain to his left and right arms," according to the complaint.

The lawsuit blames the department and other unnamed defendants for entering the garage without permission, and alleges negligence on the defendants' behalf for not taking the proper precautions to prevent the dog from attacking.

Newport Beach City Attorney Aaron Harp said he couldn't yet respond to the lawsuit because he hasn't had time to review the facts of the case.

The city previously denied a claim for damages in May, according to the lawsuit.

Ocampo Roman is now requesting a jury trial.

The Newport Beach police spokeswoman was unavailable Wednesday to explain why Newport Beach police were in the area in March.

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