Gig Driver Mauled by K-9 After Missing Car Rental Payments

(Associated Press) A gig driver badly mauled by a police dog is suing a San Francisco area suburb, alleging use of excessive force and violation of civil rights when police stopped him in December 2020 after he had missed car rental payments.

Dashboard and body-camera videos obtained by the San Francisco Chronicle show an unresisting Ali Badr wailing in pain, his arm in the teeth of an aggressive San Ramon police dog for more than a minute as officers tried to cuff him.

“I never do nothing,” Badr yelled to officers, the videos show. “I never in my life do anything.”

Badr, a 42-year-old resident of Oakland, has driven for Uber and Lyft and started delivering food for DoorDash when the pandemic hit, the news outlet reported. Forced to give up his own car due to declining income, he agreed to rent a Toyota Camry owned by startup CarMommy, which caters to gig workers, according to the lawsuit.

He told The Chronicle that he fell behind on payments, but told the company he would pay them shortly. It was something he had done before, he said. But CarMommy CEO and cofounder John Blomeke had reported the car stolen, said Matthew Haley, Badr’s attorney, resulting in the car’s license plate number being listed in a state Department of Justice database shared among agencies.

Badr was driving to work at a gas station when the plate triggered one of the city’s license plate readers, alerting police of a vehicle reported as stolen. Officers in a half-dozen cars pulled him over, guns drawn and dog barking. He ended up being rushed to the hospital for surgery.

San Ramon Police Chief Craig Stevens told the news outlet in an email that the department conducted an internal investigation into the arrest of Badr, but declined to answer other questions citing the lawsuit.

Badr filed a federal lawsuit last month against the city of San Ramon, its police chief, and several police officers. He is also suing CarMommy, Blomeke, and HyreCar Inc. of Los Angeles, which brokered the rental.

HyreCar, San Ramon’s city attorney, CarMommy and Blomeke did not return messages from the Chronicle seeking comment.