In a federal lawsuit filed Sunday, two weeks after the incident, Nandi Cain claims the arresting officer who was captured on cellphone video punching him in the middle of a residential street continued to beat and humiliate him later that night in an isolation cell.
“Apparently not satisfied by just stripping, abusing and humiliating Mr. Cain, the men began to call him a ‘bitch’ and said that he was ‘crying like a bitch,’ in addition to telling Mr. Cain that his naked body ‘stank,’” the lawsuit against the city and Sacramento County states.
Cain, 24, says he was targeted and assaulted by Sacramento police while walking home from work on April 10 for “the crime of walking while black.” He was unarmed, and spent nine hours in jail before being released without charges.
The incident quickly went viral after a bystander captured it on cellphone video. The video shows the officer rushing and tackling Cain and continuing to punch him in the face before placing him in a police cruiser.
The police dashcam video was released the next day and Sacramento Mayor Darrell Steinberg called the officer’s conduct disturbing.
With scrutiny spiking following the video releases, the Sacramento Police Department condemned the incident and said it would criminally investigate the officer’s actions.
Police have since released information about jaywalking citations in 2016, revealing that blacks were ticketed more times than whites, Hispanics and East Indians combined, despite making up only 14 percent of Sacramento’s population.
“The Sacramento Police Department holds itself to the highest professional standard and the actions that were observed are not indicative of the dedicated women and men who work for the department,” the department said in a statement.
While the department has not released the name of the arresting officer, the lawsuit says Sacramento police Officer Anthony Figueroa abused Cain and refused to call an ambulance. Figueroa and Doe officers are also named as defendants.
Police did not immediately respond to an email request for comment Monday evening.
The lawsuit accuses Figueroa of following the “longstanding” Sacramento Police Department tradition of using racial profiling to disproportionately search and harass black men. Cain seeks punitive damages for constitutional violations.
The department claims that Cain challenged the officer to fight and disobeyed commands, and that he was arrested for resisting and on an outstanding misdemeanor warrant from Fresno County.
Cain acknowledges in the lawsuit that he took off his jacket before making a “rhetorical” comment about fighting the officer. He says he told the officer that if he wanted to pick a fight he should “at least be a man and remove his duty belt and fight fairly,” but says he never actually resisted arrest.
Cain is represented by Oakland-based civil rights attorney John Burris, who settled another highly publicized wrongful death lawsuit against the city in February for $719,000.
That 2016 incident involved Sacramento Police officers killing a homeless black man who was running from police on a busy boulevard. Dashcam video showed a Sacramento police officer saying “fuck this guy” moments before officers shot and killed Joseph Mann. The Sacramento County District Attorney’s Office declined to press charges against the officers.