fred hampton jr. and three other activists sue oakland and emeryville over police misconduct

Fred Hampton Jr. is a resident of Chicago, where his father was killed execution-style by police on December 4, 1969. Chicago police also killed Mark Clark, another Black Panther Party leader, during the same December 1969 raid. Hampton Jr.’s mother, Deborah Johnson, was present and eight and a half months pregnant with him when the raid occurred.

On January 21 of this year, Hampton Jr. was visiting Oakland to speak out and participate in protests against killings by the Oakland Police Department. Emeryville police officers followed the vehicle in which he was riding with three other activists. Emeryville officers then stopped the four in the parking lot of a Target store, ordered them out of the vehicle at gunpoint, and handcuffed them.

As they exited the vehicle, an officer slammed one of the activists against a squad car while twisting her arm, causing a torn ligament in her elbow. An ambulance transported her to a nearby hospital for treatment. In addition, prior to asking for his name or checking his identification, an officer asked Hampton whether he was still at the “same address” in Chicago.

Oakland and Emeryville officers held the four in the parking lot for almost three hours, apparently in retaliation for their well-known activism. In response, they sued Oakland and Emeryville last week in federal court. They are represented by Oakland attorney Dan Siegel, who wrote the following in an October 2012 CounterPunch article:

Some of us have been involved in struggles for justice for the victims of police abuse since 1973, when 14-year-old Tyrone Guyton died after he was shot in the back by three Emeryville police detectives. Little has changed in the last 40 years. Young men of color die at the hands of the police. In a minority of cases their families recover monetary damages. Individual officers are rarely held accountable.