A convicted drug dealer is suing South Australia Police for half a million dollars, claiming he was assaulted by officers during his arrest and that he suffered permanent injuries.

Rhys Aaron Johns was arrested for drug offences by SA Police’s STAR Group at his Parafield Gardens home in January 2021.

His security camera captured video of the incident in his backyard, which appeared to show officers punch him in the face several times.

“There were 19 assaults in total, he got assaulted with fists, he was kneed in the head, he was even hit in the face with a baton,” Mr Johns’s lawyer Andrew Carpenter said.

“He was not posing any threat, he was not causing any danger to the officers, and [at] no time did he ever resist arrest.”

Johns claims the arrest left him with a facial fracture and permanent damage to his left retina.(Supplied)

A statement of claim detailing Mr Johns’s allegations has been lodged with South Australia’s District Court.

In his civil lawsuit, the 32-year-old claims he was left with multiple injuries including a facial fracture and permanent damage to his left retina.

“He’s suffered a 96 per cent loss of vision in his left eye, he needs facial reconstructive surgery,” Mr Carpenter said.

“He’s living with the significant psychological consequences of suffering such vicious assault.”

Lawyer Andrew Carpenter is representing Johns.(ABC News: Briana Fiore)

SA Police declined to comment to ABC News because the matter is before the courts.

But court documents have revealed police have denied any wrongdoing.

“The Respondent denies each of the allegations contained in the Claim and denies that the Applicant is entitled to the relief claimed or to any relief at all,” the Crown Solicitor’s Office, representing the state of South Australia,┬ásaid in its submission.

‘We really lag behind’, Greens say

Last year, Mr Johns was sentenced to five years and six months in jail after pleading guilty to three counts of trafficking in a controlled drug.

The sentence was backdated to his arrest on January 7, 2021, and he remains in jail and will be eligible for parole later this year.

Greens MLC Tammy Franks said the incident was “concerning” and highlighted a need for greater “transparency and accountability when it comes to police behaviour”.

“South Australia’s really out of step,” she said.

“We often aren’t privy to police complaints in the way that you would be if you were a resident in any other part of Australia.

“We really lag behind; we have a bit of a secret state going on when it comes to SAPOL complaints.”

Greens MLC Tammy Franks said the case highlighted a need for greater transparency.(ABC News: Che Chorley)

The matter will return to court next month.

Mr Carpenter said the case was about accountability.

“[Rhys] is going to miss out on work in the future and he’s got a long, arduous recovery ahead,” he said.