HAMMOND | A Griffith man has filed a civil suit in federal court accusing Portage police of having one of their dogs attack him while he was unconscious following a car chase.
Richard Kominski accuses Officer Richard Schmitt of using unreasonable excessive force with his dog.
The suit also targets officers Brian Chelich, Robert Crecelius and Detective Theodore Uzelac for failing to intervene to protect Kominski; Police Chief Troy Williams; along with the city and police department.
No one at the police department could be reached Wednesday for comment.
The suit comes in the wake of Portage police settling a separate federal lawsuit filed by Calumet City resident Dominique Smith, who claimed he too suffered an attack by a police dog.
The new case stems from an incident that occurred Sept. 5, 2014, after police responded to a report of a theft at Town & Country Food Market in Portage and wound up chasing Kominski's vehicle, according to the suit.
The chase came to an end when Schmitt intentionally crashed into Kominski's vehicle at the intersection of Carnation and Crocus streets, leaving Kominski unconscious, the suit claims.
While police saw Kominski unresponsive hunched over the driver's seat with his hands near his stomach, Schmitt opened the vehicle door and released his police dog on Kominski, according to the suit. The dog repeatedly bit Kominski on the head, face and body and the other officers refused to intervene.
Kominski said he was awakened by the bites and held the dog back. He said Schmitt assured him he would call off the dog if he let go of the animal, but Schmitt released the dog on him a second time instead.
Kominski claims to have suffered physical injuries and emotional distress, permanent disfigurement and medical expenses.
Smith's suit also targeted Schmitt, claiming he complied with the officer's orders on Feb. 5, 2014, in the parking lot at 1st Source Bank, 6043 Central Ave., but Schmitt still allowed a dog to bite his eye, face and head.
The Portage Police Department denied the accuracy of Smith’s version of events. Earlier reports stated Smith swung and tried to hit the K-9, Chuckie, when he grabbed him by the back of his coat during an attempt to flee the scene.