SACRAMENTO (CBS SF) — Oakland-based civil rights attorney John Burris held a news conference at the Del Paso Heights Public Library in Sacramento Monday morning announcing a lawsuit on behalf of a black man beaten by police during an arrest.

Nandi Cain, 24, was punched about 20 times by Anthony Figueroa, a Sacramento police officer, in the course of an April 10 arrest for suspected jaywalking, Burris alleged. Cain was unarmed during the confrontation and suffered a concussion, Burris said.

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Burris is demanding that Figueroa be fired.

Sunday night, Burris filed a federal civil rights lawsuit against the City and County of Sacramento alleging use of excessive force and municipal liability for an alleged pattern of racial profiling, according to Melissa Nold, an attorney with the Burris office.

Cain’s arrest was captured on video by a bystander and went viral nationally, according to Burris. The attorney said police dashcam video “later revealed that Mr. Cain lawfully crossed the intersection at the corner.”

The attorney is also demanding the release of jail surveillance video he says could show Cain was assaulted, humiliated and abused while incarcerated in the Sacramento County Jail.

Burris said the arrest is part of a pattern of Sacramento police disproportionately stopping black men for jaywalking, “and every encounter is a potential disaster for African American men.”

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Cain was walking home from work when Figueroa asked to talk to him without identifying himself as a police officer, Burris said. The officer accused Cain of jaywalking, and Cain tried to tell Figueroa he legally crossed the street, but the officer told him to get on the ground, Burris said.

“There was no effort to try and de-escalate the situation,” said Burris. “The best that we have is an escalation of it, based on the officers own state of mind and his willingness to go hands on under the circumstances, which he should have.”

According to Burris, the officer threw Cain to the ground and punched him in the face repeatedly, and Cain’s head bounced off the concrete. Cain was taken to Sacramento County Jail, where Figueroa and jail employees painfully restrained and stripped him, Burris said.


Cain was released about nine hours after the arrest, around 2 a.m. April 11, Burris said. No charges have been filed against Cain, according to Burris.

A call and email to the Sacramento Police Department were not immediately returned.

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