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Two excessive use of force complaints filed against San Ramon, PD, chief and officers

Most recent complaint from man seriously injured by K-9; previous complaint stems from 2020 protest

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.

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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.

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(*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.

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"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.

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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.

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Two excessive use of force complaints filed against San Ramon, PD, chief and officers

Most recent complaint from man seriously injured by K-9; previous complaint stems from 2020 protest

by / Danville San Ramon

Uploaded: Wed, Jan 5, 2022, 6:42 pm

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.

Comments

Anne Cavazos
Registered user
San Ramon
on Jan 6, 2022 at 7:44 am
Anne Cavazos, San Ramon
Registered user
on Jan 6, 2022 at 7:44 am

I saw the article and police cam footage in the SF Chronicle regarding Badr's treatment by SRPD. Awful! Shame on those police officers.
All the police departments involved in the Mallot incident need to release the body cam footage of the incident before asking for the case to be dismissed. Sure, go ahead. See what the judge says when you don't provide the evidence and then have the case dismissed for no evidence.
Police Chief Craig Stevens needs to be fired. There are bad eggs in the SRPD and he protects them.
As San Ramon citizens with our own police force, we deserve to have a much better police chief and police officers.


Jennifer
Registered user
Danville
on Jan 7, 2022 at 1:39 pm
Jennifer, Danville
Registered user
on Jan 7, 2022 at 1:39 pm

He should've made his payments on time, or turned the car in. Rental car companies will report the car stolen if you fall behind, and rightfully so.


Malcolm Hex
Registered user
San Ramon
on Jan 8, 2022 at 10:57 am
Malcolm Hex, San Ramon
Registered user
on Jan 8, 2022 at 10:57 am

@ Anne Cavazos,

There are a number of things you need to take into consideration from from the perspective of a law enforcement officer regarding this tragic event.

This incident was considered a felony car stop. Felony car stops are considered high risk - especially at night. The police have no idea when making a car stop if the suspect has weapons. This isn’t any different than responding to a domestic violence call - both are just as dangerous.

If you go back and watch the video, San Ramon Police told Mr. Badr to exit the vehicle he was driving. After Mr. Badr exited the vehicle, he placed both hands on the top of the car. Mr. Badr was told to stay in place. However, he decided not to.

For some reason, Mr. Badr took his hands off the vehicle and turned towards the the open door of the driver’s side of the car. In other words, his back was to SRPD. It appeared that Mr. Badr was attempting to get back in the vehicle (to get a gun? drive away?). Sadly, Mr. Badr was only attempting to get his shoes on.

As tragic as the incident was, SRPD had to make a split second decision. Fortunately, SRPD made the right call and used a canine instead of a firearm.

By the way, check out the plethora of felony car stop videos on YouTube. You might get a different perspective on the incident from a law enforcement point of view.




Tsai Lent
Registered user
San Ramon
on Jan 10, 2022 at 10:13 am
Tsai Lent, San Ramon
Registered user
on Jan 10, 2022 at 10:13 am

Video shows SRPD watched for 12+ seconds while the suspect repeatedly reached back inside his car to retrieve items (footwear) prior to complying.

After the suspect complied and then dropped his hands (not reaching inside the car or making any other threatening motions), SRPD escalated in < 2 seconds, without any change in warning.

It's very reasonable for LEO's to be worried about a possible weapon (when is the last time you heard law enforcement unions advocating for stricter gun control policies to protect their members), but risk was highest with the repeated reaches back into the vehicle, when they did not escalate.

It's also perfectly reasonable for a person who is being confronted by multiple armed LEO's yelling different things from different directions to be bewildered and completely unaware of why they are being confronted.

It's not clear from the video who was more scared, the officers or the suspect, but I suspect that SR will be seeking out of court settlement because letting this go to a jury will be a guaranteed loss.

As expensive as it is, training a new K-9 handler is less expensive than the legal costs for this fiasco. It's also unclear that the multiple LEO yell-fest did anything but exacerbate the situation. Not sure who trained these LEO's, but let's hope that Santa brought additional training (and a bulk supply of Depends) to the SRPD for Christmas because this is an excellent example of how NOT to communicate clearly.

There is more than one change need to avoid these situations in the future. Chief among them is changing state law to differentiate between car payment that is 4 days late and a car stolen off the street.

The taxpayers of San Ramon will foot the bill for another episode where LEO's playing as if in a movie instead of real-life. If Mayor Hudson and the rest of the City Council don't start to address the repeated issues with SRPD's excessive responses, I will be looking for new representation in the next election.


Malcolm Hex
Registered user
San Ramon
on Jan 10, 2022 at 10:37 pm
Malcolm Hex, San Ramon
Registered user
on Jan 10, 2022 at 10:37 pm

Thai said the following:

Video shows SRPD watched for 12+ seconds while the suspect repeatedly reached back inside his car to retrieve items (footwear) prior to complying.

One big problem with your statement: The suspect never complied. As I stated in my last post, the suspect took his hands off the top of the car and turned his back on SRPD. In fact, you also stated that the suspect REPEATEDLY reached back in the car. How was SRPD to know he wasn’t reaching for a firearm?

But here is another hole in your argument. You stated the following:

“It's also perfectly reasonable for a person who is being confronted by multiple armed LEO's yelling different things from different directions to be bewildered and completely unaware of why they are being confronted.”

Really? Have you been in that situation? I have. When I was 17, I was walking near my home when five patrol cars circled my friend and I. The officers exited there vehicle and pointed their firearms at us.

The officers yelled at us from different directions and told us to put our hands on a nearby car. We later found out that we fit the description of two burglary suspects in the area. We were released without further incident.

Bottom line: I complied with a lawful order and did what I was told - unlike the person in this article. And keep in mind I was a 17 year old teenager at the time - much less mature than the driver in this story.



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