A federal complaint filed against the City of San Ramon, its police department and chief, and several of the force's officers last month is one of at least two in 2021 alleging excessive use of force and constitutional violations by San Ramon police officers currently going through federal court.
A complaint filed last month by former Uber driver Ali Badr named the San Ramon Police Department, Police Chief Craig Stevens and several officers, the City of San Ramon and a San Jose-based used car rental company as defendants.
Badr alleges constitutional violations and cites permanent physical and psychological injuries resulting from an incident in December 2020 in San Ramon. Badr, 42, was pulled over by San Ramon police because the rental car he was driving was reported stolen by the rental car company when Badr missed payments.
Badr said he exited the vehicle when asked by the officers and without provocation several officers surrounded him and aimed their firearms at him. Badr said in the complaint that at that point Officer John Cattolico “deployed the police K-9 to attack and bite” him.
Body camera video* obtained by the San Francisco Chronicle on Monday shows Badr screaming while physically restrained by several San Ramon police officers, and bit by a K-9 unit for more than 50 seconds.
(*The video is very graphic. Viewer discretion is advised.)
Badr’s complaint also accuses the city, department and chief of inadequate training in use of force, maintaining a “policy of inaction and an attitude of indifference towards soaring numbers of police officers excessive use of force” and for “Employing and retaining as officers and individuals such as Defendant Cattolico and DOE officers, whom Defendant City of San Ramon … knew or reasonably should have known had dangerous propensities for abusing their authority and for using excessive force.”
A complaint originally filed in March of 2021 and later amended also alleges that the city of San Ramon, the San Ramon Police Department and individual officers including Cattolico, and officer Keith Testerman -- who was also named in Badr's complaint -- were involved in purported misconduct, federal Civil Rights violations and use of excessive force at a Black Lives Matter protest in Walnut Creek in June 2020.
The plaintiff, Joseph Mallot, alleges excessive use of force by police against protesters that evening on numerous fronts, but said in the filing that he was singled out as a young, Black man, as the target of violence from numerous police officers and at least one K-9 unit with the Martinez Police Department, in addition to projectiles and tear gas being dispersed throughout the crowd of protesters.
"Only one protestor that day was attacked by the police in such a violent manner, struck multiple times with rubber bullets, struck with a police baton, taken down by at least three officers and had his flesh torn from biting and scratching by the police K9," the claim continued, in reference to Mallot's alleged attack. The K-9 and handler in this case were from the Martinez Police Department.
The cases for Badr and Mallot are both going through the Northern District of California Court. Mallot's claim is set for a March 7 hearing on a motion from defendants, including the City of San Ramon, Stevens, Cattolico, and other San Ramon officers, to dismiss the case based on Defendants Rule 12(B) 6, which rests on the prosecution's "failure to state a claim upon which relief can be granted." Badr's complaint is set for a case management hearing on March 14.