The Plaintiff, a demonstrator involved in the Occupy Oakland protest movement, alleged that in the early morning hours of November 3, 2011, he was wrongfully beaten and imprisoned by two Oakland police officers, in the presence and with the approval of their supervising Sergeant. The Plaintiff ...
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The Plaintiff, a demonstrator involved in the Occupy Oakland protest movement, alleged that in the early morning hours of November 3, 2011, he was wrongfully beaten and imprisoned by two Oakland police officers, in the presence and with the approval of their supervising Sergeant. The Plaintiff alleged that the day prior he had participated, with several thousand other individuals, in a protest against recent police brutality and for economic justice. After the protest he went for dinner, and when walking home after midnight he encountered a police line obstructing his path. The Plaintiff, an Army veteran of the war in Afghanistan, alleged that he questioned and criticized the officers' actions, and that in retaliation to his criticism two of the officers brutally beat him with clubs, sprayed painful chemicals in his face, and then arrested him. The beating caused lacerations to his spleen and internal bleeding, but rather than taking the Plaintiff to a hospital, the police detained him in handcuffs at various locations near Oakland City Hall and then later transferred him to the Alameda County Jail. He was not taken to a hospital until approximately 18 hours after his arrest, after a friend paid his bail. He alleges that while detained his pleas for help were mocked or ignored by jail personal, including the jail medical staff. When he was taken to the hospital, his internal bleeding was discovered. The medical staff had to permanently cut off blood flow to his spleen, leaving him with a non-functioning organ. He was kept in intensive care for five days.
The Plaintiff filed the lawsuit on November 29, 2012 in the United States District Court for the Northern District of California. The suit was filed against the officers individually and in their official capacities, against other unknown individuals involved in his detention, and against the City of Oakland. The suit was filed under 42 U.S.C. § 1983, which allows individuals to sue for damages and other relief for State violations of constitutional or other federally guaranteed rights under color of State law. He alleged that the police's actions violated his First Amendment right to free speech, his Fourteenth Amendment rights to equal protection and due process, and the Fourth Amendment ban on unreasonable searches and seizures, as well as his rights to be free from excessive and arbitrary force, to personal liberty, and to freedom of movement. He also alleged analogous violations of California constitutional and statutory law, and a California statute requiring that certain misdemeanor plaintiffs be cited and released rather than jailed. Other allegations included assault and battery, false imprisonment, and negligence.
Plaintiff sought compensatory, statutory, and punitive and exemplary damages, attorneys' fees and legal costs, and further relief as deemed appropriate by the court.
He filed an amended complaint on January 7, 2013, which appears to be substantially the same as his first complaint, expect with a paragraph describing the injury to his spleen in more specific terms.
As of the time of this writing, July 9, 2013, the parties appear to be pursuing a settlement.
The case is ongoing.Alex Colbert-Taylor - 07/09/2013