As violent protests are rocking the nation (and the world) over the tragic death of George Floyd, a California woman has filed a police brutality lawsuit against the City of San Leandro. She says police “stomped” her after she left the hospital which caused her to miscarry and lose her baby. She was still in her hospital clothes at the time of the brutal assault.
Although the media is focused on George Floyd, there are thousands of other stories of police brutality that need to be told. In this post we share a story from last summer that is just coming to light.
According to her complaint, Emerald “Emily” Black was leaving the Alta Bates Summit medical Center in Berkeley, California in the early morning hours of June 7, 2019. She had just learned that her pregnancy was considered high risk meaning she had to be especially careful to avoid having a miscarriage.
Black was being driven by her fiancé when they were pulled over by the San Leandro Police Department, allegedly for expired registration tags. Black was in the passenger seat. Police ordered everyone from the car. Ms. Black told the officers she was pregnant and wanted to remain seated. At that point she was “yanked” from the car. In her words, “officers yanked Ms.
Black from the car, stomped on her stomach, piled on top of her and arrested her. Furthermore, they refused to allow Ms. Black to put on shoes.”
She was not charged with any criminal wrongdoing.
Shortly after the brutal assault Emily Black suffered a miscarriage.
Her lawsuit was just filed last week. We don’t know yet what the police department or officers involved have to say. San Leandro’s deputy city manager previously told reporters, “Based on our review of the allegations, the city has determined that they are without merit. As a result, the City has denied a claim for damages and plans to vigorously defend the lawsuit. Given the pending litigation, the City is not able to offer additional statements regarding this matter at this time.”
This incident is very similar to the incident that occurred in 2016 when a couple were stopped by BART police in San Francisco. In that incident Andrea Appleton’s boyfriend was stopped by police because he resembled a suspect sought by police. Both suspects were pinned to the ground and handcuffed. A day later Appleton suffered a miscarriage. Like the George Floyd murder, that incident was caught on camera and went viral.
Appleton was never charged with any wrongdoing. Her boyfriend Michael Smith was arrested but was never convicted by a jury.
Black Sues Police for Civil Rights Violations and Police Brutality
In California, victims of civil rights violations typically make a demand on the city or agency before filing a lawsuit. As noted above, the City of San Leandro Police Department denies all wrongdoing. The officers were never charged criminally with any wrongdoing. On May 25th, Emily Black filed her lawsuit seeking monetary damages.
She says that officers used excessive force. We agree. Emily was unarmed, not fighting and had committed no crime. Unless bodycam footage shows something incredibly different, we have no idea why officers felt the need to drag a visibly pregnant woman in hospital clothes out of a car and onto her stomach on the pavement. It makes no sense.
In our justice system everyone has the right to a trial. That includes the officers although we can’t imagine a jury finding the officers’ actions were reasonable.
Emily also claims the officers violated California’s Tom Bane Civil Rights Act. That law protects people from threats or intimidation and for attempts to interfere with someone’s state or federal constitutional rights. The law provides for triple damages and attorney’s fees.
Her lawsuit claims the officers violated her rights in multiple ways including:
- Threatening her in the absence of any threat or any justification whatsoever;
- Using deliberately reckless and provocative tactics to apprehend her in violation of generally accepted law enforcement training and standards, and in violation of her civil rights;
- Using force in the absence of any threat or need for such force;
- Threatening violence ‘with the apparent ability to carry out such threats, in violation of Civ. Code § 52.1(j)”;
- Using excessive, unreasonable and unjustified force;
- False imprisonment;
- False arrest
- Failing to intervene to stop, prevent, or report the unlawful seizure and use of excessive and unreasonable force by other officers.
The last point deserves special mention. Do you remember the George Floyd video showing three other officers standing idly by while Officer Derek Chavin suffocates Mr. Floyd? We believe that other officers have a duty to intervene if they see another officer violating the law or someone’s civil rights. There were several officers present when one of the officers decided to drag her out of the vehicle. Why didn’t any of the officers intervene?
An officer’s duty is to the public he or she serves. That duty is not only violated when an officers assaults a civilian, it is also violated when nearby officers fail to act while another officer breaks the law.
Emily says she suffered not only the loss of her unborn child but also from other physical injuries, embarrassment, humiliation and emotional distress.
Emily Black is African American. The department is mostly white. The officers have yet to be identified as no one was arrested that night. We hope bodycam footage will identify all those involved and shed light on what happened.
Are You the Victim Of Police Brutality?
When cops violate your civil rights by engaging in unjustified violence, brutality, or excessive force, you can seek compensation under state and federal statutes. Whether or not you are guilty of any crime, you have rights. And police are never justified in using excessive force.
Numerous police departments have a dark past with a record number of police brutality claims and a history of letting the culprits go free. If the media reports about former Minneapolis Police Officer Derek Chauvin are true, he had as many as 18 prior complaints of excessive force.
Our team of renowned attorneys are devoted to protecting civil rights nationwide. With a record of successful verdicts and large settlements, we are willing to take on dirty and brutal cops anywhere in the United States. Our top-tier attorneys and investigators have been featured on national media and have secured some of the highest settlements in civil rights cases. Our team includes former police officers and prosecutors, who know the system inside out.
We know the majority of cops are decent, but we are relentless in pursuing those who aren't. If you or a loved one has been shot, tasered, beaten, or sexually assaulted by law enforcement officers or jail personnel, you have a right to truth, justice, and a financial remedy.
If you have been the victim of police brutality, contact us today. Finding an attorney who can fight for your civil rights can not only help you get compensation, but also benefit your entire community. To learn more Connect Online or call us at 866-836-4684.
*Cases considered anywhere in the United States. If we can’t help, we may know someone who can. We consider cases where victims died, suffered significant injuries or were sexually assaulted.