SAN JOSE (CBS SF) – Attorneys representing several protesters who took part in demonstrations after the death of George Floyd sued the city of San Jose for brutal treatment by local police officers.
The lawsuit, which was filed on behalf of the San Jose / Silicon Valley NAACP, the San Jose Peace and Justice Center, and several protesters and observers, states that the plaintiffs “have faced brutal and racially-targeted repression by the city of San Jose During the protests last May.
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The violence perpetrated against the demonstrators during the four days of the demonstrations violated the plaintiffs’ initial rights of amendment, according to the 72-page lawsuit.
“The actions of the San Jose Police Department command personnel who were involved are
inexcusable and justifiable consequences. Their actions set a dangerous precedent set by the racist, xenophobic and adverse sentiment in our society towards blacks, ”said Rev. Jethroe Moore II, President of the NAACP of San Jose / Silicon Valley.
The lawsuit named San Jose Mayor Sam Liccardo, former police chief Eddie Garcia and several San Jose police officers as defendants.
In their lawsuit, plaintiffs identified cases of police attacks on demonstrators that resulted in serious injuries, including shooting with rubber bullets, throwing lightning grenades and beating with batons. The lead plaintiff, 49-year-old photographer Michael Acosta, said he lost an eye due to the police’s response to the protests.
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“I was just out and about when I happened upon the protest and decided to do so
Document a historic event in my downtown San Jose. At the time I was photographing the protest one block from my house, I could never have done it
I imagined that I would be shot in the face and end up losing my eye, ”said Acosta.
Examples of police violence cited in the lawsuit include officers shoving and shooting a disabled woman in the chest and an Iranian participant exposed to “anti-Muslim psychological torture and harassment”.
“SJPD shot two people in the eyes and at least four others in the groin on May 29,” said Rachel Lederman, the plaintiffs’ chief attorney. “Whether you call them ‘foam bullets’, ‘sponge bullets’ or ‘bean bags’, the fact is that all of these so-called ‘less lethal’ projectiles are very dangerous.”
Plaintiffs are represented by the San Francisco Bay Area Civil Rights Advisory Committee and civil rights attorneys Rachel Lederman, James B. Chanin, and R. Michael Flynn.
San Jose police and city officials declined to comment on the lawsuit on Thursday.
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To learn more about the lawsuit, download it here.