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A Florida sheriff's office K-9 bit this grandfather. He wouldn’t let go.

He was bitten while lying face-down on the ground.

TAMPA, Fla. — Editor's Note: There are images and videos in this story with strong language or graphic content that is not bleeped or blurred. Audience discretion is advised. 

This story is the latest installment in our YouTube series, "What's Brewing,” investigative reporter Jenna Bourne's series of deep dives. Click here to check out the series and subscribe to our YouTube channel: The Deeper Dive. 

A grandfather who was bitten by a Pinellas County Sheriff’s Office K-9 while complying, face-down and spread-eagle on the ground, is sharing his story for the first time. 

Last month, 10 Investigates showed you cases we uncovered across the country of police K-9s disobeying their handlers – disobeying commands not to bite someone, refusing to let go of a bite, or both. 

We’ve now learned that the day after our story came out, the Pinellas County Sheriff’s Office and Largo grandfather Alan Martin agreed to a settlement.  

It was the bite that sparked our nationwide investigation. 

Martin said a guy he knows offered him $10 for a ride to the Waffle House in Largo on March 3, 2021. 

That’s where deputies surrounded his truck. 

“I was already down,” Martin told 10 Investigates. “You see that I got right on the ground. Because I know I ain’t done nothing. I ain’t done nothing wrong. All I know is I’m giving a man a ride for $10.” 

What happened next was caught on multiple deputies’ body cameras. 

“Get on the ground, facedown,” a deputy shouted at Martin, after he got out of his truck. 

“OK, OK,” said Martin, laying facedown, spread-eagle on the asphalt. 

“Bingo, down! No!” K-9 handler Claudio Dimundo can be heard yelling in the body camera videos.  

Disobeying his handler’s commands to stop, K-9 Bingo bit Martin on the head. 

Then the leg. Then the shoe. 

“Damn it!” Dimundo shouted as he tried to get Bingo’s jaws off Martin, falling to the ground in the process. 

“Why is he biting me? Why is he biting me?” Martin shouted. “I ain’t done nothing!”

Dimundo struggled to get Bingo to release the bite, ultimately forcing what’s called a break stick into the dog’s mouth and yanking off Martin’s sneaker.  

The K-9 handler’s body camera showed that Bingo didn’t let go of Martin’s shoe until he got back in the car. 

“That’s where he got me on the leg. Right here. Bam,” said Martin, showing 10 Investigates the jeans he was wearing that night. “Brand new. I just had bought them. First time wearing them. And the dog got me. Tore them up for me.” 

Martin looked down at the dark denim. The largest tear, on the shin of the right leg, was sewn up with red thread. 

Credit: 10 Tampa Bay
Alan Martin shows his torn jeans sewed back up after he was bitten by a law enforcement K-9.

“I love these jeans. But I just hate that he destroyed my jeans. Look at that. I sewed that. And I can’t sew,” he said. “And that reminds me of that dog. Every time I wear these jeans, I be thinking about that dog. And I have nightmares sometimes about that dog…That dog chasing me. Chasing me. And he’s biting me.” 

On top of the nightmares, Martin says that night left him with thousands of dollars in medical bills and a fear of dogs.

“I don’t never want a dog,” he said. “I wouldn’t care what kind of dog it is. It could be a poodle. I don’t want no dog… My little grandbaby, she keeps asking me for a dog.” 

Martin wasn’t the guy deputies came to the Waffle House to arrest.      

They were after the passenger in his truck, after what they say was an undercover drug buy. 

“You see we’re not in regular uniforms, right?” an undercover sergeant can be heard asking Martin in his body cam recording after the bite. 

“Yeah,” said Martin, lying on the ground, waiting for paramedics to arrive.  

“Alright, so there’s a lot more to it, right?” said the sergeant. 

“Yeah,” said Martin. 

“Don’t be ****ing stupid,” said the sergeant. 

“What happened?” said Martin. 

“Alright? Don’t be dumb. Don’t be dumb. Just don’t be dumb,” said the sergeant. 

Eight months after the bite, Martin has scars from K-9 Bingo’s teeth on his head and leg. 

Credit: Pinellas County Sheriff’s Office
On March 3, 2021, Alan Martin was complying with Pinellas County Sheriff’s Office deputies when K-9 Bingo bit him, disobeying his handler’s commands to stop.

He said he kept his hands behind his head while the dog was biting him because he was afraid of getting shot. 

“I’m Black, ain’t I? Yeah, I’m scared of getting shot,” said Martin. 

Martin said he was also scared of getting hit with a TASER because he has a pacemaker. With all the shouting, he said he couldn’t tell that to the deputies who had him at gunpoint. 

“Well, it’s terrible. It’s a bad situation that shouldn’t have happened,” Pinellas County Sheriff Bob Gualtieri told 10 Investigates on Oct. 28.  

Credit: 10 Tampa Bay
Pinellas County Sheriff Bob Gualtieri is interviewed by 10 Tampa Bay investigative reporter Jenna Bourne.

We asked the sheriff if any retraining happened after the March 3 bite. 

“What’s there to retrain on? Put the dog on a lead when the dog comes out of a car and you don’t have this problem,” said Gualtieri. “Don’t make it more than what it is.”  

10 Investigates reporter Jenna Bourne pointed out that the problem wasn’t just that K-9 Bingo did not have a lead attached; the dog also wouldn’t release the bite. 

“The dog is not a robot. The dog is not mechanical. The dog is a living being,” responded Gualtieri. “The dogs don’t always listen. They listen the majority of the time or we wouldn’t put them out there.” 

The sheriff’s office and Martin agreed to a $35,000 settlement on Nov. 18, the day after our investigation Disobedient came out. 

Deputy Claudio Dimundo and K-9 Bingo are still out on the street together. 

Dimundo got a written reprimand. 

You can check out our previous story on police K-9 disobedience, where we take a deeper dive into why some police dogs disobey and uncover that no one is keeping track of how often it happens.

Check out more from 'What's Brewing?'

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