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MANSFIELD -- The Mansifeld police department and several of its officers are being sued on allegations they allowed their K-9 police dog to viciously attack a man who says he was down on the ground and posed no threat to police.

The lawsuit, filed by attorney David Malik on behalf of Dion Pigott, described the assault as brutal, unnecessary, gratuitous and excessive.

Pigott says he was celebrating his birthday at the Elms Tavern in Mansfield when the BP gas station about a mile away was robbed. Pigott claims he didn't even match the description of the suspect when he had his run-in with police.

According to the lawsuit, Pigott had been handcuffed, physically restrained and subdued when he heard one of the police officers say to a fellow officer "let's not take him in yet, let's let the dog get him."

The dog, "Astor", allegedly started biting Pigott's legs causing him "conscious and excruciating pain." Pigott says he was diagnosed with multiple bite wounds on both legs. One wound was so large it required surgery under general anesthesia.

Police chief Kenneth Coontz denies all allegations in the lawsuit and says the police reports speak for themselves. He declined further comment.

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