CLOVIS, Calif. (KSEE/KGPE) – Clovis police say their K9 policy is keeping them in the clear from the incoming lawsuit filed by a Fresno man alleging the use of excessive force. 

Nearly a year ago, on May 3, 2021, Jamal Jones was stopped by Clovis police just before midnight on Ashlan and Willow avenues. Clovis police say Jones had tinted windows and an expired car registration.

Once they ran his information, police say they noticed he had prior arrests for resisting arrest as well as weapons and kidnapping charges. They also say he had a gang-related tattoo. 

At one point during the stop, officers noticed a gun tucked by the car’s seat. Officers then told Jones not to move, as seen in bodycam video from the incident. 

“Do not reach for it,” said an officer in the bodycam footage. “You are going to get shot if you reach for it. You understand?”

The bodycam video then shows the officer’s grabbing the gun and then forcing Jones from the car.

The video then shows officers tasing Jones multiple times, but he’s still not in handcuffs. 

“You reach for it you are going to get shot,” said one of the officers in the video.

“I am not reaching for anything — what are you talking about,” said Jones in the bodycam video. 

Once Jones is on the ground, the bodycam video shows an officer going back to the police car, an bringing back a police K9, and warning Jones that the dog is about to bite. 

“You’re going to get bit,” the officer said in the video. 

Jones’s lawyers say police didn’t have the right to pull him over in the first place claiming that the stop was racially motivated. 

“He had no reasonable suspicion that Mr. Jones had committed a crime or was going to commit a crime, but we really know what this is. He was Black,” James Bryant, one of Jones’s attorneys said. 

At the hospital, Jones says the officers made racial comments to him, which Clovis police deny. 

“Some of the statements that were made today were completely inaccurate,” Chief Curt Flemming said during a press conference.

After reviewing the traffic stop, Flemming said the officers followed department procedures. The Clovis police policy manual details dozens of pages of excessive force and K9 use policies, including one that says K9s can be used if “the individual is physically resisting or threatening to resist arrest and the use of a canine reasonably appears to be necessary to overcome such resistance.” 

“He’s still fighting, he’s actually getting up at this point — trying to run away. We still have not searched him, we don’t know if there is additional weapons on this person. All of this going on as they have three to four officers on him, the K9 engaged and he’s still trying to get away.”  Flemming said.

But his lawyers argue against that point. 

“He’s on the ground, complying at all times. There is no reason to get the canine to now come, ripping the flesh from Mr. Jones’ leg,” attorney Rodney Diggs said. 

Photos show the extent of his injuries following the attack. Jones says he now needs a cane to walk.  

Jones’s lawsuit is alleging emotional damages and financial damages as he says he’s not able to work although he says the outcome could have been worse. 

“I thought I was going to lose my life that night,” Jones said Thursday after the news conference.