Federal complaints alleging excessive use of force – including an allegedly crippling attack by a police dog on an unresisting subject – have been lodged against the City of San Ramon and its police department.
Two complaints, one filed by a former gig worker who ran afoul of police after he fell behind on a lease payment for a vehicle he used for work, the other a demonstrator at a Black Lives Matter protest in Walnut Creek – are making their way through federal court and gaining press attention this week.
Both complaints allege excessive force by San Ramon PD officers in separate encounters in 2020, as well as unsettling use of a police canine during the traffic stop and arrest of Uber driver Ali Badr – whose arm was badly mauled by a police dog after he was pulled over for allegedly driving a stolen car.
Attorneys for Badr allege deprivations of his constitutional rights as well as lasting physical and psychological impairments stemming from their client’s arrest in San Ramon in December 2020. On that night Badr, 42, was pulled over because the rental car he was driving had been reported stolen by the rental car company Badr was leasing from when he fell behind on a payment.
The Oakland man said he exited the vehicle when asked by officers and was complying with commands to walk back to them when Officer John Cattolico “deployed the police K-9 to attack and bite” him which – according to body camera video released to news outlets – the dog did, latching onto Badr’s right arm and inflicting deep wounds.
Badr, who can reportedly be heard asking officers what he’d done as the dog continued to bite his arm for approximately 50 seconds before it was called off, suffered permanent injuries. His suit also names the leasing company which reported his vehicle as stolen.
A complaint stemming from a second, separate incident in 2020 also names San Ramon police officers as defendants. In it, plaintiff Joseph Mallot maintains he was singled out for assault by officers including Cattolico and officer Keith Testerman – who was also named in Ali Badr’s suit – as well as by a Martinez PD canine team during a Black Lives Matter demonstration in Walnut Creek.
Mallot, who is black, alleges he was singled out by officers that day because of his race and subjected to multiple hits by rubber bullets, a blow from a police baton and attack by the Martinez K9.