Earlier this month, Nandi Cain Jr. was beaten and slammed for allegedly jaywalking while on his way home from work. And according to a new lawsuit, the abuse for “walking while Black” didn’t stop there.
When Cain, 24, arrived at the City of Sacramento Jail he was placed in isolation (despite having no history of mental illness and stating he was not suicidal), where he was beaten and humiliated by several officers, according to the lawsuit. Among the officers involved in the attack was Anthony Figueroa, the arresting officer who was not initially identified publicly.
According to the lawsuit, “The men repeatedly kneed Mr. Cain in the ribs and used their knees to pin his body against the floor, while forcefully stripping his clothes off. At no point did any of the men permit Mr. Cain the dignity of removing his own clothes.”
“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 suit adds. “After robbing Mr. Cain of his manhood and basic human dignity, the men left him alone in his cell, without medical attention, food or the opportunity to make a phone call.”
The lawsuit states that Cain was left in isolation to “further penalize him for the crime of walking while Black.”
Cain was released at 2:00 AM, after spending nine hours in jail, and was not charged with any crime. Figueroa has been placed on administrative leave.
The lawsuit names the City and County of Sacramento, Figueroa and numerous other unidentified police personnel.
“This is one of the most outrageous unprovoked assaults since Rodney King,” said John Burris, an attorney for Cain. “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 confrontation that ended in Cain’s arrest left Cain with a broken nose and a concussion. Despite his injuries, a nurse at the jail who has not been identified “apparently medically cleared the concussed man without any concern for his obvious injuries,” according to the lawsuit. “In fact, the nurse failed to request a physician exam Mr. Cain or order an x-ray or cat scan for the battered and bruised man.”
“I thought I was going to be like the next Trayvon Martin,” Nandi Cain Jr. said after the incident. Meanwhile, the Justice Department calls for less police reform.
At a news conference this week Cain said, “I’m here to get justice and to make sure that justice is served. I also want to make sure that this doesn’t happen to anyone else.”
“Racism is still alive,” he added. “And you would think, it’s 2017, that it would die. But it still exists.”
“We believe this officer should be terminated immediately,” said Burris, who also called for the department to look into its use of force.
Adante Pointer, another attorney for Cain, said, “This is a man who was going home from work, was taken to jail, thrown on the ground, restrained by several men — by several sheriff’s department deputies, as well as Officer Figueroa — stripped of his clothes, forcibly had his clothes ripped off of his person.”
Tony Turnbull, a spokesman for the Sacramento sheriff, said of the lawsuit, “I want to reiterate at this time that these are only allegations, and before people jump to conclusions, let the investigation take its course.”
Video footage from a cell phone and police dash cams documented the incident leading up to Cain’s arrest. Cain was on his way home from work when Figueroa approached him and accused him of jaywalking. Cain told Figueroa he had looked both ways before crossing. Figueroa threatened to take Cain “to the ground.”
“I don’t have nothing,” Cain repeats several times while removing his jacket. Figueroa continues ordering Cain on the ground.
“If you a real man you could take your gun away and you could fight me like a real man,” Cain says.
At this point the officer shoves Cain, pins him on the ground and begins attacking him, punching him over and over.
Sacramento Mayor Darrell Steinberg previously called Figueroa’s actions “extremely disturbing.”
Just after the incident Cain told NBC News affiliate KCRA he had feared for his life during the attack.
“I thought I was going to be like the next Trayvon Martin,” he said. “I thought, as soon as they got me on the ground and they start putting my arms in different positions. I felt like they were going to draw a gun out and shoot me in my back or try to break my arms off or something.”