Excerpt from Mercury News. Read the entire article here.
An excessive force lawsuit against the San Jose Police Department and the city over officers’ violent tactics to break up downtown crowds protesting the police killing of George Floyd three years ago — which elicited national notoriety and condemnation — will proceed to trial after a federal judge’s ruling Thursday.
Among the five plaintiffs whose claims of First and Fourth Amendment violations were approved to go forward is Michael Acosta, a man who lived downtown and was passively watching the protests that started in late May 2020 when an officer shot him in the face with a hard foam projectile, causing him to lose an eye.
Rachel Lederman, senior counsel for the Partnership for Civil Justice Fund and part of the plaintiffs’ legal team, said “we are very pleased we will be able to get this case in front of a jury.” She also lauded Hamilton’s decision to allow the plaintiffs to put the city and police department’s policies and practices on trial with what is known as a Monell claim.
“It’s the city’s policies that are to blame in the fact that officers were allowed to use the weapons in this indiscriminate manner, causing hundreds of injuries,” Lederman said. “These are dangerous weapons that should never be used in a crowd situation. It’s a sure thing that the wrong person will be hit in the wrong part of the body. Officers had minimal to no training with the weapons, and no practice using weapons with moving targets or in a crowd.”