John Weston Osburn, News Photographer, Sues Oakland Cops for Being Too Aggressive

Categories: Local News
Oakland 12th st. Oakland Riots-thumb-500x375.jpg
This was the start of that protest on July 8, 2010
A news photographer is suing Oakland cops for  allegedly employing their heavy-handed tactics, similar to the complaints we've heard from Occupy Oakland protesters.

The photographer, John Weston Osburn, a longtime member of Indybay Media, was covering a Oscar Grant protest in downtown Oakland on July 8, 2010, when police tackled him and wrongfully detained him, according to a lawsuit filed in Alameda County. The protest was in reaction to the involuntary manslaughter verdict handed down to BART Officer Johannes Mehserle, who shot and killed Grant on New Year's Day 2009.

Osburn was covering the protest for the online news publication when he says he was singled-out by riot police, tackled and injured. Osburn says the cops pointed him out and then went after him, "maliciously and sadistically" twisting his wrists and handcuffing him so tightly he was severely injured, and unable to hold his camera to do his job.

He was charged with attempted arson and detained by the Oakland Police Department for five days, the claim states. Alex Katz, chief of staff of the Oakland City Attorney's Office, told SF Weekly last week that the city has not yet been served with the federal lawsuit, and therefore would not comment.

Calls to Osburn's attorneys went unreturned.

Osburn is suing the City of Oakland, Sgt. B. Ortiz, Officer J. Cunnie, and a Lt. Hamilton. He is seeking punitive damages for unreasonable seizure, and constitutional violations, including denial of due process.

HT/ Courthouse News

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