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Parents of Dolores Park hill bomb teens file civil rights claim

Excerpt from Mission Local. Read the story here.

The parents of teenagers caught in the July Dolores Park “hill bomb” mass arrests filed a claim against San Francisco on Monday alleging that police officials violated their childrens’ constitutional rights.

The claim, a precursor to a lawsuit or lawsuits, lays out the teenagers’ version of events the night of July 8, when 117 skateboarders and spectators were arrested by San Francisco police officers shutting down the hill bomb. The informal event takes place yearly at Dolores Park and involves skaters racing downhill. Several serious injuries and one death have occurred at the hill bomb in recent years.

The claim filed Monday by attorney Rachel Lederman details the accounts of four teenagers who said they were simply in the wrong place at the wrong time that night.

The claim, which details a litany of constitutional violations, gives the city 45 days to resolve the case outside of court. But the four named plaintiffs’ lawyer, Lederman, said she does not expect a resolution and is preparing for state and federal civil rights lawsuits.

“I do expect that we will be filing a federal civil rights lawsuit,” she said, “and we will be asking for other kinds of relief in addition to money.”

Lederman said that, besides an unknown amount of damages, her clients will ask that the teenagers’ arrest records be “sealed and destroyed” and that a federal court issue a “finding of exoneration,” in case the arrests are ever resurfaced during job screenings, for instance. 

She said the suits would also seek reforms to city and police department policy “to prevent this from happening again,” but said the specific reforms would depend on information unearthed during the lawsuits’ discovery.