Talmika Bates, a 26-year-old woman, found herself in a difficult situation when she was accused of robbing an Ulta Beauty Supply store along with two other women. The women had taken nearly $10,000 worth of cosmetics, which led the police to chase them down. When the police arrived on the scene, they released a police dog named Marco to prevent Bates from fleeing. Unfortunately, the dog went out of control and attacked Bates viciously, tearing her scalp from her head.
As a result of the disfiguration caused by the police dog attack, Bates filed a lawsuit against the Bay Area police for their excessive force. The lawsuit alleges that the officers allowed the dog to continue attacking Bates, who was only guilty of shoplifting, for several minutes before finally separating the dog’s jaws from her skull. The incident occurred on February 10, 20220, and left Bates severely injured.
After the robbery, Bates and the other women fled in a car, which the police later stopped. The suspects then tried to escape on foot, which was when the police unleashed Marco to catch Bates. The dog mauled Bates for several minutes before Brentwood Police Officer Ryan Rezentes ordered Marco to stop. The dog ignored two commands, which meant that Rezentes had to physically remove him from Bates’s head, tearing her scalp off in the process.
In a graphic video of the arrest, Bates is heard saying, “My whole brain is bleeding.” Bates claims that the police officers did not inform her that they had released a K-9 unit to find her while she was hiding in the bushes. Instead, they allowed the dog to attack her for several minutes while they waited. Bates’s attorney, Patrick Buelna, alleges that the police officers had no sympathy for Bates during the attack and ignored her cries for help.
In an interview with the New York Post, Buelna stated, “Talmika says she still has nightmares of the dog grinding and chewing on her head. She says that she felt like she was going to die that day and really did not believe she’d live to tell her story but is alive and thankful. She had to have her scalp surgically reattached to her head. She suffers severe depression and remains traumatized from the mauling.”
Court documents reveal that Officers Rezentes and Lou yelled at Bates to stand up, despite the impossibility of the task due to the open wounds on her head. Eventually, Officer Lou helped Bates to her feet and handcuffed her. The officers then berated Bates for running from the police, as if the dog’s attack was an appropriate punishment for her crimes.
The incident raises questions about the use of police dogs and the excessive force used by law enforcement officers. The lawsuit seeks to hold the police accountable for their actions and to prevent similar incidents from happening in the future. As Bates continues to recover from her injuries, she hopes that justice will be served and that no one else will have to endure the trauma she experienced.
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