Brentwood POA responds to media reports of civil lawsuit against canine officer

Brentwood, CA – Local Bay Area media, KRON and KTVU, have begun reporting on a civil lawsuit filed against one of our members, Officer Ryan Rezentes. National media also began reporting on the story. As has become commonplace in recent years, these outlets abdicated their responsibility to inform the public of the facts of an incident and instead chose to demonize the police and fan the flames of racial discord.

Contrary to media reports, it wasn’t just “shoplifting” and the use of a police K9 had nothing to do with the race of the suspects. .

The lawsuit arises from a crime that was committed on February 10, 2020. The plaintiff, Talmika Bates, who was 24 at the time, and two of his associates allegedly stole more than $10,000 worth of merchandise from a store and then fled in a vehicle. While another Brentwood PD officer was responding to the reported crime, he observed the suspect vehicle at a nearby major intersection and it appeared that the vehicle was attempting to drive through the busy intersection against a red light. This officer placed his police car in front of the suspect vehicle in order to protect other motorists and prevent any further theft. Instead of stopping, the suspect vehicle slammed into the front of the police cruiser to escape, then drove away at high speed. The actions of the suspects not only endangered the police officer who was hit, but also endangered many other citizens on the roadway.

Bates and his associates continued to flee in their vehicle until they collided with a curb and disabled their vehicle, at which time all of the suspects, including Bates, fled the vehicle on foot. Multiple officers, including Officer Rezentes with K9 Marco, as well as a police helicopter, responded to the scene to help search for the suspects. One of the areas excavated was a field with large expanses of nearly impenetrable shrubs and trees. These types of areas are particularly dangerous for police to search, as potentially armed suspects can easily hide inside overgrown vegetation, and police may not see the suspect until they are on top of them. This is one of many scenarios where the use of a police dog helps keep our officers safe.

After nearly an hour of searching, during which not even the helicopter could find the suspects, Officer Rezentes ordered the K9 Marco to search the large patch of overgrown vegetation and the dog located Bates at inside. Police dogs are trained to bite the first part of a suspect’s body they come into contact with, which in Bates’ case was the top of his head. When it became apparent that K9 Marco had located one of the suspects hiding in the vegetation, Officer Rezentes and the other officers ordered Bates out. This is standard security practice, as officers were still unable to see Bates and they could not determine if she was armed. Once Bates was taken into custody, she immediately received medical attention for her injuries.

The Brentwood Police Officers Association believes it is important for the public to have this context regarding Constable Rezentes’ actions and use of K9 Marco. All the details we provided here, and many more, were available in the public records. It appears that these outlets have chosen not to seek this information, and they are trying to defend their actions by stating that they have sought comment from the City of Brentwood and the Brentwood Police Department, knowing full well that none of these entities will only provide feedback on an incident that has ongoing litigation. The media are familiar with public records requests and know that they could have obtained court records from Bates’ criminal case. Since these specific outlets did not, we can only conclude that it was because they had no desire to provide the context we have provided here, and instead would have attempted to sow the division between the police and the community.

The Brentwood Police Officers Association will not comment further on the details of this incident. We are grateful for the support of our community, as our officers do their best to keep everyone safe.

Editor’s note:

Here is our original story of the February 10, 2020 incident. Click here

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