A lawsuit has been filed in federal court in Denver, alleging that Castle Rock police allowed a handcuffed man to be bitten in the groin by a police K9 during a stolen car investigation.

According to the lawsuit, on May 27, 2021, Castle Rock police officers were searching for suspects involved in a stolen car case. Officer Joseph Gondeck, who had a K9 named Maverick assigned to him, deployed the dog to search for suspects using scent. Two Hispanic men matching the suspects’ description were located about a mile away from the abandoned car and were held at gunpoint. Carlos Gonzales Del Hoyo was subsequently arrested and placed on the curb with his hands bound behind his back.

The lawsuit alleges that Del Hoyo did not resist arrest, and Officer Gondeck released Maverick from his vehicle without commanding the dog to stand down. Maverick allegedly targeted Del Hoyo’s groin area and bit down, continuing the bite for a duration of two minutes. The lawsuit further claims that Officer Gondeck attempted to remove the dog only after two verbal commands failed to result in the dog releasing its bite. It also asserts that other Castle Rock Police Department officers present at the scene did not intervene or provide assistance to Del Hoyo.

The lawsuit includes two counts of excessive force and two counts of state-created danger. It was filed on Thursday.

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