SAN FRANCISCO (CN) – San Francisco police illegally arrested four black men who were filming a rap video, the men claim in Federal Court.
Brian MacArthur, Dante Andry, Joseph McGowan and Arthur Stern Jr. claim police racially targeted their group of nearly 20 black men working on the video in the Bayview neighborhood. Seven individual officers are named as defendants, along with the city and county and the police department.
MacArthur was filming a video for Stern, a rap artist known as Yung Lott during the May 16, 2013 fracas.
“Without probable cause or a search warrant, SFPD officers subjected each and every member of the group to an unreasonable search, seizure, arrest, conspiracy to arrest and humiliation at gunpoint,” the plaintiffs claim.
Police said the incident was prompted by an armed man walking into the crowd where the video was being made.
Officers ordered the man out of the crowd and arrested him for carrying a concealed and loaded firearm, police said in a statement after the incident.
“As officers responded to the scene, the group of men were all detained for officer safety reasons,” police said in the statement.
But plaintiffs claim the officers could have kept the man from entering the group, but let him do so to justify a search. They claim police confiscated the possessions of all the men at the video shoot.
The officers did not identify themselves as police, but “simply pointed guns and yelled commands to the African American males, as is the custom and policy within the SFPD,” the complaint states.
That “created a scenario where if these young African American men had moved out of innocent fear, the SFPD officers would have gunned down the entire group,” the complaint adds.
The plaintiffs say they were detained for about two hours, though an SFPD Certificate of Release forms say they were released after a one-minute detention.
One other man was arrested for drug possession for sale, police said.
The plaintiffs seek punitive damages for civil rights violations, conspiracy, negligence, assault and malicious prosecution. They are represented by Joel Siegal, who could not be reached after business hours Friday.
The SFPD declined to comment on pending litigation.
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