Baytown Police Department sued by man severely injured by K9 officer in February 2021

Erica Simon Image
Saturday, July 9, 2022
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A man severely hurt by a Baytown K9 officer last year is filing a lawsuit against the department. It happened after he and his girlfriend allegedly committed a minor traffic violat

BAYTOWN, Texas (KTRK) -- Benjamin Benfer was severely hurt by a Baytown K9 officer in 2021 and is now filing a lawsuit against the Baytown Police Department. It happened after he and his girlfriend allegedly committed a minor traffic violation.

February 14, 2021, is a night Benfer said he would never forget. The newly released body camera given to ABC13 by Benfer's attorney shows Benfer on the ground, screaming as a K-9 unit officer bites him.

"This police dog rended his flesh. Bit deep into his arm, requiring many stitches, including even inner stitches around the neck, around the back," attorney Randall Kallinen said.

Officer Barry Calvert said that Benfer ran a red light in his police report, but the dashcam video given to Eyewitness News by Kallinen doesn't appear to show it.

The department reported in 2021 that Benfer pulled away from the officer twice before the dog was deployed.

He and his girlfriend were charged with resisting arrest, but those charges have since been dropped.

"The greatest threat to everyday Americans is a police officer that will bend, shade, break and lie, and place a person in jail on a bogus charge," retired Houston Police Department Sergeant Shelby Stewart said.

Kallinen says Calvert is at the center of a case that he isn't at liberty to discuss. A 2019 lawsuit involving his K9 and Ralphael White resulted in an undisclosed settlement.

Benfer said he still has trouble with his arm a year after that snowy February night.

Now, he and Kallinen want Calvert off the force for good and held accountable for physical and mental pain.

"It was awful. And at this point, it still affects me as I'm doing things I love to do when I'm working, when I'm fishing. When I'm doing my day-to-day life. It still affects me, and I have a feeling it will be for the rest of my life, to be honest with you," Benfer said.

ABC13 did contact BPD about the lawsuit but was told they cannot comment on pending litigation.

We were then referred to the City Attorney's Office and Public Affairs Office. We asked about Officer Calvert's employment status and his disciplinary record. We were told it was being looked into, but we have not heard back since then.

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