A federal judge ruled that police officers in Antioch who dragged a man from a car and beat him until he was unconscious must face charges that their actions caused the victim’s mother severe emotional distress. The man, who was 22 years old when the incident occurred, was sleeping in the passenger seat of his mother’s car in April 2014 while he waited for her to finish getting ready for a visit to the hospital.
The man alleges that without warning two police officers from Antioch ripped him from the car and beat him until he was unconscious. One of the officers allegedly slammed his body against the side of the car, handcuffed him, and then slammed him down onto the pavement, face and head first. The officer then began punching him around the head, face, and body. The man also claims that the officer repeatedly hit him with a metal police flashlight with blows to the genital area. The pain caused the man to lose consciousness.
When the man regained consciousness, he says that he suffered more pain as officers pulled on his legs and wrists. The pulling caused a great deal of pain in one of his wrists, which had recently undergone surgery for repair to an artery. He began screaming about his wrist and the pain, and one of the officers allegedly told him to “shut up” and stop resisting.
The man’s mother came outside when she heard him screaming. She saw her son on the ground being beaten and bleeding. The officers told her to go back inside the house. She claims that she told the officers she needed a cane, but they shouted at her to go back inside, which caused her to fall and hurt herself.
The man and his mother sued the officers, the Antioch Police Department, and the city of Antioch for a violation of their Constitutional rights, assault, battery, and negligent infliction of emotional distress. They also alleged that the City was negligent in failing to equip its officers with body cameras. They claimed that police misconduct is highly predictable when police officers are not required to wear body cameras.
The judge ruled that the City was not legally required to issue body cameras to its officers. The judge did find, however, that the mother could continue with her claims of emotional distress, which occurred when she saw her son lying on the ground being beaten by officers. Although the defendants claimed that they were immune under state law for negligent infliction of emotional distress, the judge ruled that those laws do not insulate them from the effects their actions had on the man’s mother.
Police officers in the San Francisco Bay area have extremely difficult jobs, even under the best of circumstances. Their jobs involve violence, and in most cases the use of force by an officer is necessary and justified. In some cases, however, police officers do abuse their power. If that happens, the police officers and their employers can be held legally liable. Wrongful actions on the part of the police may include the use of excessive force, shootings, false imprisonment, and similar actions.
If you have been the victim of police violence, and you believe that the police were not justified in the use of that violence, you may be entitled to damages. If you are in the San Francisco area, call Micha Star Liberty, San Francisco police misconduct attorney, at 415-896-1000 or 510-645-1000. She works with clients throughout the San Francisco area, and can provide you with a free consultation on your case. Call today to learn more.