A California woman has sued police in the Bay Area for allegedly using excessive force after part of her scalp was ripped off by a K-9 that mauled her ‘for several minutes’ until an officer had to physically remove its jaw from her head, following a robbery at an Ulta beauty shop.
Talmika Bates, 26, claims she was traumatized by a German Shepherd named Marco after it went after her and chewed on her scalp during a shoplifting arrest on February 10, 2020, according to the lawsuit filed Tuesday.
Bates, who was 24 at the time of the incident, was on the lam after she robbed about $10,000 worth of cosmetic products from an Ulta Beauty Supply store, along with two other women. The suspects fled the scene by car and ran out of the vehicle after police had chased and attempted to stop them.
Brentwood Police Officer Ryan Rezentes had to pull the police dog away from Bates’ head after it didn’t obey commands at least twice, according to reports.
The moment was recorded by officers’ body-worn cameras and released by Bates’ attorneys. In the footage, Bates can be seen hiding in a field among some bushes before police respond to her screaming after they unleashed a K-9 to find her.
After finding her and biting her head, Marco finally lets go and Bates was assisted by officers to get out of the bushes. Her skull was partially red as parts of it no longer had any scalp on it and her hair was also torn off.
‘My whole brain is bleeding,’ a shocked Bates says in the graphic video.
The lawsuit cites Rezentes and other officers from the incident as responsible for not warning Bates of the K-9 being unleashed to find her in the bushes.
WARNING: GRAPHIC CONTENT
WARNING GRAPHIC: Marco, the K-9 that tore Talmika Bates’s scalp (pictured), had maul her ‘for several minutes’ after being unleashed by Brentwood police
WARNING GRAPHIC: Body-cam footage from the incident shows a police dog ripping off Talmika Bates’s scalp (left and right) after she was hiding in a bush in an attempt to not be found by police, who wanted to arrest her for shoplifting
WARNING GRAPHIC: Bates said she needed reattachment surgery following the K9 incident
Brentwood Police Department officer Ryan Rezentes is pictured with Marco, the German Sheppard who reportedly refused to listen to commands at least twice before he was taken off the victim by Rezentes
Patrick Buelna, one of Bates’ two lawyers along with Adante Pointiner, told the New York Post that the police officers’ only response to her client’s cries for help and medical assistance was that she ‘should not have run.’
‘Talmika says she still has nightmares of the dog grinding and chewing on her head,’ Buelna said.
‘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.’
‘Officers Rezentes and Lou yelled at Ms. Bates to stand up, an impossible task, as leaves and twigs scraped against her open head wounds,’ according to a court document.
‘Eventually, Officer Lou helped Ms. Bates to her feet and placed her in handcuffs. The Officers berated Ms. Bates for running from police as if getting her head bit and mauled by a vicious canine was a lawful and appropriate punishment for her crimes.’
Bates’ defense also accused Rezentes of covering up details of the incident after he wrote in a police report that no reinforcements came through, which Rezentes said made him ponder whether or not to physically remove the dog off of Bates.
The attorneys said footage showed another officer reassuring Rezentes that he would not shoot the dog while it was chewing on Bates’ scalp.
‘Officer Rezentes failed to mention that Marco was out of control,’ the lawsuit reads.
Bates said she was traumatized by the incident, and that she frequently suffers from headaches, anxiety and often recollects the moment the dog was grinding her scalp in her sleep
Bates, along with civil rights attorney Adante Pointiner, said that police officers’ only response to her client’s cries for help and medical assistance was that she ‘should not have run’
After her arrest, Bates was taken to a local hospital, where surgeons stitched her scalp back.
Since the incident two years ago, Bates says she frequently suffers from headaches, anxiety and often recollects the moment the dog was grinding her scalp in her sleep.
‘My whole brain almost fell out,’ Bates told KTVU. ‘I’m supposed to be dead right now, not alive, and I’m just thankful.
‘I feel ugly,’ she added. ‘I get miserable I get depressed. I’m not happy with myself. I don’t even feel cute.’
Bates pleaded guilty to felony grand theft last year and spent 120 days in jail, court records show. She is on probation for a year. Her restitution amount has not yet been reset, according to The Contra Costa County District Attorney’s Office.
Meanwhile, Marco, the German Shephard, still featured on Brentwood Police’s K-9 Unit page, is described as intelligent, very social and ‘would for you to say hi should you see him out and about with Officer Rezentes.’
The Brentwood Police Department has yet to respond to DailyMail.com’s request for comment.
Prior to her arrest, Bates had stolen cosmetic products worth an estimated $10,000 from an Ulta beauty shop (pictured)
Stolen cosmetic merchandise was found inside of the victim’s vehicle, following her arrest
In 2020, Bates along with two other women, stole beauty products from a local Ulta store in Brentwood, California