California  |  Civil Rights Law

Legal Question

Asked on: 8/25/03, 4:03 pm

Representation in Police Misconduct Action

After a pretextual traffic stop, two members of the San Jose Police Department arrested me on false charges of assaulting an officer and resisting arrest. The resulting criminal case was dropped four years later. However, during the case, the legality of the pat search was litigated to a finality in my favor. It is known each defendant officer has multiple citizen complaints against him.

I’ve heard my case lacks ''sizzle'' or ''sex appeal.'' I’m white and cannot show severe personal injuries or out of pocket losses, even though I had two attorneys representing me in the criminal case, and spent about 400 hours of my own time fighting it. Nevertheless, I don’t agree the case lacks “sizzle.” Usually, the officers cannot be impeached; it’s their word against the plaintiff’s. Here I believe it can be proven the officers fabricated their reports. This might not “sit well” with a jury. The Bay Area public has had revealed to it the extent to which police will create false facts to “cover” themselves. The message of this case is that since our system ultimately depends on trust, the police must adhere to the truth or no one is safe. An incident like this can happen to anyone, regardless of race, especially when the police lie.

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