SAN FRANCISCO (KCBS) — A man filed a lawsuit on Tuesday against the San Francisco police department after he was arrested for riding his bicycle with his infant son strapped to his chest. The suit also claims that officers forcibly took the child to Child Protective Services.
The lawsuit, according to the San Francisco Chronicle, states that the incident happened in a bike lane on Eighth and Harrison streets where bicyclist Takuro Hashitaka was riding, with his 10-month-old son in a Baby Bjorn carrier, to a Trader Joe’s two blocks from his home on Dec. 13.
Besides the carrier, Hashitaka said his son was further secured by a sweatshirt that had been modified.
In the suit, Hashitaka states that a police car came close up behind him and pulled him over.
He told officers he wasn’t aware of helmet laws for babies and that he asked the officer “what the authority was for this,” according the suit.
Hashitaka said that the officers grabbed his wrists, telling him he was being arrested and that CPS would take his son. Later, he said, other officers arrived and took him to the ground and choked him until he lost consciousness—twice.
He said that police never contacted his wife despite his pleas and that the “terrified” baby was taken to CPS. His wife, he said, was never told.
While the California vehicle code requires that all children wear bike helmets and are properly restrained in their own seat or in a trailer towed by a bike, Hashitaka’s attorney, Rachel Lederman, said that “has nothing to do with whether the baby should be taken to Child Protective Services, not given to his mother or why the father would be choked until he passed out, twice, and taken to jail.”
The suit seeks unspecified damages.
The police department is not commenting on the suit and Matt Dorsey for the City Attorney Dennis Herrera, told the Chronicle that he couldn’t discuss the suit because he had not yet seen it.
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