A woman named Salamika Bates, 26, was labeled a suspect after she and two other women robbed an Ulta Beauty Supply store of nearly $9,000 worth of cosmetics. Police responded to the scene and deployed a police dog on Bates in an attempt to capture her. However, the dog went insane and mauled the young woman “for several minutes,” eventually ripping off her scalp before police officers had to physically pry the dog’s jaws away from Bates’s head.

Bates has sued the Bay Area Police in California for excessive force because of the dog attack, which disfigured her. The complaint states that police officers failed to prevent the German shepherd from ripping off Bates’ head after it began mauling her, allowing the canine, named Marco, to do so. On February 10th, 2020, Bates was twenty-four years old and had committed shoplifting rather than a violent offense when he was attacked by a police dog in San Mateo County.

The following morning, police were paged about a robbery at a beauty supply store. The robbers fled in a vehicle and were eventually stopped by cops. The suspects then ran away on foot, which was when the cops dispatched Marco to maul Bates.

For several minutes, the police let Marco’s dog maul Bates before Brentwood Police Officer Ryan Rezentes ordered him to desist. The dog ignored two orders, so Rezentes was forced to walk over and physically remove the canine from his grasp on Bates’ head. When cops removed the dog from her grip, Bates’ scalp came off in pieces.

“My whole brain is bleeding,” Bates shouts out in the graphic video recorded at the time of the arrest.

The lawsuit claims that Officer Rezentes and other cops were negligent in not informing Bates that they deployed a K-9 unit to look for her while she was hiding in the bushes. For minutes, the dog was allowed to maul her as police merely waited.

According to Bates’ attorney, Patrick Buelna, the police had no empathy for her during the assault and disregarded her cries for assistance as they informed her that she “should not have run.” Adante Pointiner is representing Bates in partnership with Buelna. In a discussion with The New York Post, Buelna addressed how police used excessive force in this instance.

“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.”

Meanwhile, court papers shed light on the attack’s grisly aftermath.

“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.”