Uber driver mauled by police dog after missing car payment

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Uber driver mauled by police dog after missing car payment

Disturbing video captured the moment a police dog in California mauled an Uber driver who had fallen behind on payments for his rental car, according to a report.

Ali Badr, a 42-year-old Egyptian immigrant, was stopped by police in San Ramon in December 2020 after a rental company reported his vehicle stolen, the San Francisco Chronicle reported.

Dashboard and body camera footage obtained by the newspaper show police releasing their dog on the unarmed, barefoot and unresisting driver without warning seconds after they pulled him over.

The video shows officers — with their weapons drawn — ordering Badr out of the car as they take cover. He then steps out of the car and drops his shoes to the ground and they order him to put his hands in the air.

“All of them are talking to me at one time,” the driver told the paper. “They’re yelling at me, and all of them have guns out. I did what they say exactly.”

One officer then releases the dog — about 10 seconds after Badr emerged from the car. The German shepherd and Belgian Malinois mix tears into the man’s arm.

“What I did? What I did?” the driver screams in agony as the canine, named Dexter, bites violently into his right arm for almost a minute as the cops went to handcuff him.

Ali Badr police dog attack
Dashcam video shows the dog being unleashed on Badr.
San Ramon Police Department via Matthew Haley

“I never do nothing,” Badr yells. “I never in my life do anything.”

Badr, who required several surgeries after being mangled, was never charged and last month filed a lawsuit claiming he was left with “severe physical and psychological injuries” after the attack, the Chronicle reported.

He alleges “extensive and permanent damage to his arm and hand” causing “significant scarring,” adding that he has trouble sleeping, sees a therapist and takes medication due to the trauma.  

The Oakland resident is suing the city of San Ramon, the police chief, dog handler John Cattolico and six other cops for excessive force, assault and battery, and violation of civil rights.

Ali Badr police attack
Badr’s right arm was badly damaged.
Courtesy of Ali Badr

He also claimed he was treated differently because he is from North Africa and was perceived to be Muslim, according to the Chronicle.

Badr, who was a social worker in Egypt before immigrating in 2009, drove for Uber and Lyft, but began delivering for DoorDash when the pandemic hit, the outlet reported.

When he could no longer afford payments on his own car, he decided to rent one in August 2020 through HyreCar, a rental company that caters to gig workers. The vehicle belonged to rideshare startup CarMommy, the Chronicle said.

As his four-month rental agreement neared the end, Badr told the paper that he fell behind on his payments by a couple of days — but informed the company that he would make them soon.

“I had been paying everything on time,” he told the paper.

But CarMommy CEO John Blomeke reported the Toyota Camry as stolen to the San Jose Police Department, which shared its license plate with other agencies.

Matthew Haley, Badr’s attorney, told the Chronicle that his client’s rental agreement contained language that allowed the car to be reported stolen if he fell behind on payments.

Ali Badr’s right arm police dog attack
Badr required several surgeries after being injured.
Courtesy of Ali Badr

Badr also is suing CarMommy, Blomeke and HyreCar.

“The beginning of the process is this calling in of a stolen car that everybody knew wasn’t stolen,” Haley told the Chronicle.

He said the police dog attack “was absolutely, positively uncalled for.”

“This is the nicest guy you will ever meet in your life. Hardworking Uber driver in the middle of the pandemic just trying to make ends meet, and this is what befalls him,” Haley said.

“It’s stunning. It’s hard to watch that video,” he added.

The Chronicle said its messages seeking comment from HyreCar, CarMommy, Blomeke, K-9 handler Cattolico and San Ramon’s city attorney were not returned.

San Ramon Police Chief Craig Stevens told the paper that his department conducted an internal probe into the incident, but he declined to answer other questions.

“The San Ramon PD does a Use of Force review on all cases where any force was used, in order to ensure that it aligns with policy,” Stevens told the Chronicle in an email.

Ali Badr police dog attack
Badr claimed he was left with “severe physical and psychological injuries” after the attack.
San Ramon Police Department via Matthew Haley

“As this incident is the subject of civil litigation, that is all the information I can give you at this time,” he added.

It was unclear whether any of the officers involved in Badr’s traffic stop have been disciplined. 

Badr said neither San Ramon police nor the Contra Costa County DA’s Office reached out to him after the incident.

Police recommended charging the driver with felony vehicle theft and a misdemeanor count of resisting arrest — despite the footage showing he did not resist.

A DA rep told the paper that the office declined to file charges against Badr because of “lack of sufficient evidence and interest of justice.”

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