berkeley copwatch activist files civil rights lawsuit in federal court against city of oakland

At a protest in Oakland on May 1, 2012, after a line of police ordered demonstrators to move, Russell Bates paused to film officers knocking someone down and beating him. One or more officers then hit Bates in the head with a baton and took him to the ground, causing him to lose consciousness. According to yesterday’s San Francisco Chronicle article,

Bates was arrested on suspicion of failing to disperse and spent eight hours at Santa Rita Jail in Dublin before he was released, the complaint said. Prosecutors never charged him with a crime. Bates said he suffered a concussion, post-concussion syndrome and post-traumatic stress disorder.

On Tuesday, Bates filed a lawsuit against the city of Oakland and five police officials related to the incident. Civil rights attorney Rachel Lederman represents Bates in the lawsuit. Bates is a member of Berkeley Copwatch, which coined the term “copwatch” in 1990 and has served as a model for other copwatch groups around the U.S.