Parish: DeSoto

Police Department: DeSoto Parish Sheriff’s Department

The American Civil Liberties Union of Louisiana, alongside Nickelson Law PLLC and Covington & Burling LLP, is now representing Jason Hinson—a man who was seriously injured by a police canine during his apprehension and arrest by the DeSoto Parish Sheriff’s Office. 

The complaint, which was filed pro se, accused the officer who deployed the police canine, then-Corporal Kyle Martin, of using excessive force in violation of Mr. Hinson’s Fourth and Eighth Amendment rights. It sought monetary damages for the physical injuries endured, including pain and loss of function in his right arm. The case came before the Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit in 2021 after Corporal Martin appealed the district court’s denial of his motion for summary judgment. 

The Fifth Circuit opinion states that, in February 2016, DeSoto Parish Sheriff’s deputies possessed a warrant for Mr. Hinson’s arrest and sought out his location. Deputies spotted Mr. Hinson’s vehicle and began pursuing him. According to the opinion, Mr. Hinson pulled over and fled on foot into a wooded area. Corporal Martin pulled up behind Mr. Hinson and deployed the police canine “Rex” without warning, taking him off leash and permitting Rex to take off after Mr. Hinson. According to Mr. Hinson’s arguments before the Fifth Circuit, after approximately 200 yards, Rex bit Mr. Hinson on the wrist, taking him to the ground. 

Mr. Hinson declared that he immediately ceased any attempts to escape or resist; nevertheless, Corporal Martin did not issue commands to Rex to release Mr. Hinson, and instead allowed Rex to continue biting Mr. Hinson.

According to Mr. Hinson, officers kicked him in the ribs and cursed at him while he was apprehended and on the ground. Mr. Hinson argued that he pleaded with the defendant to issue commands to Rex to release him, but the defendant only did so once additional officers later arrived on scene. The Fifth Circuit determined that while Mr. Hinson failed to state a violation of his Eighth Amendment rights, he did not fail to state a violation of his Fourth Amendment rights, since a jury could reasonably conclude that “ordering Rex to continue biting Hinson after he was subdued and kicking him after he was handcuffed, constituted excessive force.” 

On June 2, 2023, the court ordered dismissal of the action as the parties reached a settlement. 

The defendant in this case was:

  • Kyle Martin, Lieutenant of the DeSoto Parish Police Department

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