A man who allegedly stole a vehicle earlier this year is now suing the state for $2 million after a police dog tore off portions of his face.
The Phoenix New Times reported that on January 17, 2019, Carlos Balli, 29 was driving a stolen Honda Civic when he was spotted by Arizona DPS officer. During the course of the police pursuit, Balli got out of the vehicle and fled on foot through a residential neighborhood. DPS Detective Brad Martin released, Storm, a police dog on Balli because he refused to comply with officer commands. Storm bit Balli
Balli’s civil rights attorney argues that video footage obtained from a police helicopter that also responded to the incident shows that Balli complied and got onto the ground before the dog bit Balli on his hands and face for approximately 32 seconds. Body camera footage shows Balli screaming as the officer repeatedly tells him to get on his face. Officers immediately call for an ambulance that does not arrive until 13 minutes later.
Balli was transported to the hospital with severe injuries to his face; his nose had been completely torn away from his face. He underwent surgery immediately where doctors attempted to repair the horrific damage that the police dog did to him. Balli will bear the scar from the attack for life.
Balli pleaded guilty in court to the charges of auto theft, fleeing from police and possession of methamphetamine on June 27th. The sentencing date has been set for July 29th. Balli faces a maximum sentence of 12 years in prison.
Balli is alleging that he suffered not only great bodily injury but also mental and emotional injuries after K-9 officer, Storm, mauled him.
What happened to Balli is not the first time that a lawsuit has been filed after an incident with the same police dog. Storm was also being handled by Detective Martin when he bit Carlos Castro in March of 2017. Castro also filed a federal complaint regarding a massive injury to his right leg received from the same dog and his handler.