A tubing trip at the Salt River last year ended with a Phoenix man arrested and bitten by a K-9. Now, the man has filed a multi-million dollar lawsuit against the Maricopa County Sheriff’s Office for excessive force and misconduct. Shane McGough, 27, claims deputies allowed the dog to torture him while he was handcuffed, with the incident captured on camera McGough said it all began as he and his friends were about to leave the Salt River. There was an argument in the parking lot over a car accident, and MCSO deputies got involved. McGough was taken into custody, and later, while he was in a holding cell, bitten by a k-9. “It’s just unfathomable because I was handcuffed, defenseless, pinned down,” said McGough. McGough calls the incident “torture”, and bodycam video of the incident was captured inside a holding cell. Earlier, there was a confrontation between McGough and MCSO deputies. “He grabs my throat, and I’m pinned up against the car there,” said McGough. “It was just a reaction. I didn’t think once I realized I can’t breathe, I reacted and punched him in the face.” The second deputy joined the scuffle, and was seriously injured. McGough was handcuffed and taken into custody. McGough admits he was verbally aggressive, but denies being violent. He ended up taking a plea deal and went to jail for aggravated assault.
“I have taken responsibility on my end. I did six months in jail. I have a felony conviction, but never has the Sheriff’s Office said, ‘we’re sorry. This shouldn’t have happened,'” said McGough. Maricopa County Sheriff Paul Penzone described McGough’s actions as “extremely violent”. He says one deputy suffered a broken leg and broken ribs during the fight with McGough, and may not be able to continue his career as a deputy. “I met with that deputy several times. To see where he is mentally and physically disgusts me,” said Penzone. “I am always set back when we have to use force, but I will defend the force when it’s necessary to use.” McGough claims he graduated from Arizona State University two years ago with a degree in Business Communications. He was fired from his job after the incident, and says his felony conviction is keeping him from working in his career choice. Meanwhile, an internal investigation into the deputies’ use of force is ongoing, and Sheriff Penzone says he will hold deputies accountable, if it’s determined the actions were indeed excessive.
The K9 officer that deployed his K9 filed a report on the incident, which reads in part:
“During the escort, I verbally advised McGough to comply with the deputy and if he fought, he would get bit by the canine. We were able to enter the jail portion of Blue Point and into an open and empty jail cell. While in the cell, McGough continued to resist as Deputy Jackson was attempting to remove the handcuffs, which McGough had slipped to the front of his body from the position previously secured behind his back when he was placed into the patrol vehicle for transport. McGough began lunging at Deputy Jackson and was physically fighting, including kicking Officer K. Fleming from the US Forest Service. The fight went to the ground and I deployed Canine Shadow on a placement bite on McGough’s upper rear portion of his right leg. McGough was still actively resisting and fighting. McGough was also kicking me while the canine was on the bite. The canine bite altered McGough’s behavior and he even stated he would stop fighting if we removed the dog. When it was safe to do so, I removed Canine Shadow from the bite using a tactical out method.”