Lawsuit filed over police action in Berkeley protest

As the one-year anniversary of a controversial Black Lives Matter protest in Berkeley approaches, there is now a federal lawsuit pending against the city for the actions of its officers on that early December night.

On a cold Monday morning near the Berkeley Police Department, thoughts went back to the heated situation protesters had with police last December 6th.

One woman who works an attorney for the city of Berkeley was also a protestor that night. She says she was victimized by police.

"And I am telling everyone to continue to stay peaceful. And people are maintaining. An officer pushes out of formation forward with his baton, and strikes me very hard in the middle of the back," said plaintiff Moni Law.

Attorneys and several plaintiffs announced on Monday morning they have filed the lawsuit against the police department alleging police brutality.

"We want the Berkeley Police Department to develop policies so that incidents like this don't happen again," said attorney Jim Chanin.

The protest was one in which several businesses, including a Radio Shack and a Trader Joe's were vandalized. But it was also one in which the attorneys say Berkeley Police -- and to a lesser extent Hayward Police -- overreacted.

Rasheed Shabazz was working as a journalist, covering the protest when he says he too was assaulted.

"The same police officer who had batoned me in the chest, he later struck me in the knee," he said.

Minister Cindy Pincus from the First Unitarian Universalist Society in San Francisco says she was also assaulted.

"As we were retreating, once police became unreasonably violent, I had stopped to help someone up off the street, and as I stooped down, an officer struck me on the back of the head," she said. Pincus added it took three staples to close the wound.

Neither the city attorney nor the police department would talk with us regarding the lawsuit, saying they don't comment on pending litigation.