Nandi Cain, who was beaten by Sacramento Police Officer Nicholas Figueroa after being detained for jaywalking, settled his claims against the city for $550,000 on Friday, according to his lawyer John Burris.
“Mr. Cain has agreed to settle his claims for $550,000, in addition to the City of Sacramento agreeing to implement several important policy changes,” Burris said. ‘This outrageous incident provided a perfect opportunity to implement new, modern policies geared towards long-term reform.’
Stopped for What at Grand Avenue and Cyprus? Under California law pedestrians have the right of way at unmarked crosswalks where there is no signal - they just must exercise care and cannot suddenly walk into the path of a vehicle. Here, the white cop's dashcam reveals that Mr. Cain complied with the law as he did no sudden walking in the road and his walking created no hazards or interfered with traffic. Therefore, he was unlawfully stopped within the meaning of the 4th Amendment - insofar as it is applied to white folks in their system of racism.
21950(a) CVC – Right-of-Way at Crosswalks - The driver of a vehicle shall yield the right-of-way to a pedestrian crossing the roadway within any marked crosswalk or within any unmarked crosswalk at an intersection, except as otherwise provided in this chapter. (b) The provisions of this section shall not relieve a pedestrian from the duty of using due care for his or her safety. No pedestrian shall suddenly leave a curb or other place of safety and walk or run into the path of a vehicle which is so close as to constitute an immediate hazard. No pedestrian shall unnecessarily stop or delay traffic while in a marked or unmarked crosswalk. (c) The provisions of subdivision (b) shall not relieve a driver of a vehicle from the duty of exercising due care for the safety of any pedestrian within any marked crosswalk or within any unmarked crosswalk at an intersection.
The above video was recorded by witness Naomi Montaie. Cain was crossing the street walking home from work when a white Sacramento police officer approached him. In the video Figeuroa orders Cain to stop but he ignores him at first and then stops. Figueroa orders him to get on the ground and again Cain ignores his brusque commands. The cop claims he is stopping him for jaywalking.
“You were jaywalking,” Officer Anthony Figueroa told Cain.
“I looked both ways,” Cain replied. “You’re harassing me. I just got off work. You’re trying to pull me over for nothing.”
The pair exchanged some words just before the cop charged at him. Cain remains motionless as the officer strides forward, grabs him with both hands around the throat and forces him back. The cop pushes Cain to the ground and is seen sitting on his chest and repeatedly punching him in the face as Montaie's car gets closer. Cain is not fighting back [which under California law, a white person could lawfully do - as he has the so-called right to resist an unlawful arrest and may act in self-defense of an officer’s unreasonable use of force - these rules do not apply to non-whites, particularly Black people.]
Montaie said, 'I never witnessed anything like that. He just kept hitting him, and kept hitting him, and I was like, "Oh my God...why you hitting him like that? Why you hitting him like that?"' she told Fox 40.
The officer continues punching Cain as she gets out of the vehicle, then twists the man's arm behind his back and cuffs him as first one, then five more white officers appear on the scene.
Then, after Cain was arrested the 24-year-old was also placed on psychiatric hold and taken to an isolation cell of a county jail, where the officer and other employees beat him repeatedly, stripped his clothes off and made obscene comments. Cain was then left in the cell, where he spent hours without food, medical attention or a chance to make a phone call, the lawsuit says.
Absent from his arrest report was the charge of jaywalking. This cop only charged Cain with suspicion of resisting arrest.
According to Burris, the officer arrested Cain for being black.
“He shouldn’t have been in psychiatric watch,” Burris told The Washington Post. “He shouldn’t have been in the jail in the first place.”
“This is one of the most outrageous unprovoked assaults since Rodney King,” Burris declared at the time. “This is particularly infuriating because Sacramento has a history of disproportionately stopping African Americans for jaywalking, and every encounter is a potential disaster for African American men. This is a prime example of what happens with race-based policing.”
“The big problem is the nature of the stop,” Burris said in an interview on Friday. “Nandi was just minding his own business, then he winds up getting beat, put in jail and he has to hire a lawyer to get him out of it.”
Burris said one of the most important parts of the settlement is the requirement of the department to keep track of the amount of stops due to jaywalking and analyze the data.
“We want to see who is getting stopped and on what basis and see if there is a pattern consistent with one or more officer,” Burris said.
The police department will also have to undertake Implicit Bias and Procedural Justice training and audit the body camera footage to ensure police officers are implementing the training concepts.
The settlement comes at a particularly troublesome time for the Sacramento Police Department, as the community continues to grapple with the shooting death of Stephon Clark.
Clark, a 22-year-old black man, was shot and killed in his grandmother’s backyard on March 18 by two Sacramento police officers. Police were looking for a burglary suspect and said they thought Clark had a gun which turned out to be a cellphone.
Dispatchers told police the burglary suspect was carrying a toolbar.
Clark was shot a total of eight times, six times in the back, according to an independent medical examiner.
Sacramento has since been roiled by a series of protests, with protesters shutting down I-5 and preventing people from entering a Sacramento Kings game on March 22. Protesters also shut down a city council meeting soon after.
On March 31, activist Wanda Cleveland was struck by a Sacramento County Sheriff’s Department vehicle and sent to the hospital. Sacramento County Sheriff Scott Jones blamed paid protesters and outside agitators for the incident and attendant unrest.
The California Highway Patrol is investigating.
California Attorney General Xavier Becerra said his department will help investigate the shooting in an attempt to lend credibility. Clark’s family has expressed skepticism regarding the official narrative surrounding the shooting.
The two police officers involved in the shooting have been placed on administrative leave.
In the Nandi Cain case, the settlement stipulates that Figueroa will not be able to patrol the Del Paso Heights neighborhood, where the incident occurred, until 2020 at the earliest.