County settles suit after jailers sic dog on man

The county did not admit liability in settling the lawsuit.

Posted: Oct 31, 2018 7:44 AM

ST. HELENS, Ore. (AP) - Columbia County's insurance provider will pay $251,000 to settle a lawsuit filed by a former inmate who claimed jail deputies turned their police dog on him in retaliation for calling one of them a disparaging name.

The Oregonian/OregonLive reports that video shows a Columbia County sheriff's employee opening 48-year-old Christopher Bartlett's cell door and sending in the dog, a Belgian Malinois. Bartlett is seen falling to the ground as the dog sinks its teeth into him.

Bartlett's lawyer Jacob Johnstun said he doesn't think deputies at the jail in St. Helens truly wanted to transfer Bartlett as they had said about the incident on Aug. 1, 2017.

Chief Deputy Steve Salle said Tuesday that the county "in no way admits liability" and that the insurance company decided to settle as "a business decision."

Salle says the dog was used because of physical and verbal resistance from Bartlett.

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