A man who was brutally beaten on video by police officers has sued in federal court. The beating victim sued Alameda County, the sheriff, and six of the police officers for damages.
The incident occurred in November 2015, when Stanislav Petrov was pulled over on suspicion of driving a stolen car. Petrov then rammed two sheriff’s vehicles in Castro Valley and slightly injured a police officer. He fled on Interstate 580 over the Bay Bridge into San Francisco, traveling 25 miles. He sped through red lights and went the wrong way on one-way streets. He finally ran out of gas and crashed. He then got out of his vehicle and ran.
Two police officers followed him to Clinton Park, where Petrov appeared to surrender, raising his hands. The police then beat him repeatedly with their fists and batons for about 40 seconds. During the beating, Petrov cried “I’m sorry”, “help me”, and “oh my God.” The officers inflicted more than 30 blows on him. He received a concussion, broken bones in both hands, a traumatic brain injury, and deeps cuts on his head. The entire incident was caught on surveillance video.
According to the complaint, during the beating, Petrov did not resist or flee and did not pose an immediate threat to anyone. The complaint also alleges that after he was beaten, officers posed with a picture alongside his beaten body. The lawsuit alleges that officers with the Alameda County Sheriff’s Office have a long running practice of taking “trophy photos” with their victims. The complaint also alleges that the police officers robbed him of his money and a gold chain. Petrov alleges that the police officers gave his gold chain and money to witnesses in order to buy their silence.
After the attack, two of the officers involved destroyed and rewrote their crime report, according to the complaint. They allegedly became aware of the surveillance video and conspired with several officers and supervisors to cover up their behavior. The plaintiff is seeking punitive damages for assault and battery, negligence, personal injuries and civil rights violations. The two officers involved in the beating have been charged with felonies.
Although it’s undeniable that police officers have very stressful jobs that often involve a lot of violence, police officers sometimes abuse their power and must be held accountable. If a police officer engages in improper brutality, the officer can be held responsible for his or her actions. In addition, in some cases the agency that hired and trained the police officer can be held responsible. If the police department did not properly screen its officers before hiring, or if they failed to provide proper training for the officers, the police department can be held liable.
Police brutality cases have been on the rise recently for a number of reasons. One big reason is that more and more incidents are being captured on video with the rise in popularity of smart phones and the increasing numbers of surveillance cameras in use. It’s important that if you have been mistreated by the police, you find an experienced attorney to represent you. Time limits apply, and evidence is likely to disappear the longer the amount of time that passes between when the incident occurred and when you take legal action.
At Liberty Law, Micha Star Liberty and Seth I. Rosenberg believe that if a member of law enforcement steps over the line with a suspect, the injured party should take steps to protect his or her legal rights. If you have been injured by law enforcement, call the Oakland-San Francisco police misconduct attorneys at Liberty law at 510-645-1000 or 415-896-1000. We can help. Call us today to learn more or to schedule a free consultation on your case.