SAN FRANCISCO (CN) – Five men who were held along with a 22-year-old black man who was shot to death by a Bay Area Rapid Transit District police officer say they were falsely arrested after the shooting. The men say that though they were unarmed and had committed no crime, they were subjected to “four painful hours in handcuffs” at BART headquarters where they sat “mourning the senseless shooting of their friend,” Oscar Grant III.
The five men sued BART, its police chief, general manager, and six BART officers in Federal Court. The plaintiffs are Michael Greer, 22; Carlos Reyes, 21; Fernando Anicete Jr., 20; Jack Bryson, 21, and his 19-year-old brother, Nigel Bryson.
The men say they were riding the BART train home on New Year’s Eve 2008 when an “altercation” broke out. Officers met the train when it arrived at the station, but “all was peaceful when the train arrived at the Fruitvale BART station,” according to the complaint.
The men claim they were all forcibly detained along with Grant, who told his girlfriend on his cell phone moments before he was shot, “Baby, the police are beating us for no reason.”
The men say they were “shocked beyond belief” at the shooting. They seek punitive damages for constitutional violations.
They are represented by John Burris, who also represents Grant’s mother, Wanda Johnson, and his girlfriend, Sophina Mesa, in a separate suit against BART. Proceedings in their wrongful death action are scheduled to commence on Monday, Oct. 19, before U.S. District Judge Marilyn Hall Patel.