11 file federal lawsuit against city of Berkeley for injuries during December protests

Eleven individuals who were allegedly injured by police officers during last December’s Black Lives Matter protests filed a civil rights lawsuit against various city entities in federal court Sunday.

Among the plaintiffs are campus senior Nisa Dang, San Francisco Chronicle photographer Sam Wolson and minister Cindy Pincus. The plaintiffs are being represented by various legal counsels from the San Francisco Bay Area Chapter of the National Lawyers Guild, or NLG.

The plaintiffs are suing the city of Berkeley, then-city manager Christine Daniel, Berkeley Police Department Chief Michael Meehan, the city of Hayward and various Berkeley and Hayward police officers for allegedly clubbing, using tear gas and groundlessly arresting individuals, among other claims.

“There have been demonstrations all over the Bay Area as part of the growing nationwide movement for Black Lives, and the NLG had Legal Observers at most of them,” said Rachel Lederman, co-counsel for the plaintiffs and the president of the NLG’s San Francisco Bay Area Chapter, in a press release. “It was Berkeley who responded in the most brutal and unconstitutional manner. To make matters worse, Berkeley made no effort to control the other agencies who responded to its call for mutual aid.”

A press conference was held Monday morning at Old City Hall to announce that the suit had been filed.

“We’re hoping that by litigating Berkeley’s misconduct in federal court, we will be able to achieve more comprehensive changes that will protect the right to protest in Berkeley, birthplace of the Free Speech Movement,” Lederman said.

Staff writer Maxwell Jenkins-Goetz contributed to this report. 

Adrienne Shih is an assistant news editor. Contact her at [email protected] and follow her on Twitter at @adrienneshih.