Nandi Cain Jr., doesn’t remember much about how he wound up with a concussion, a black eye and a broken nose. But he says it he wouldn’t have any of those injuries if he had not come across a Sacramento cop who said he was jaywalking. Now he says in a federal lawsuit that he was abused by the officer and also while he was in jail after he was arrested.
Cain, an electronics parts salesman, says he was walking home on April 10, when an officer, identified in the lawsuit as Anthony Figueroa, stopped him as he was walking accusing him of jaywalking. In a now-viral police dashcam video, he protested, saying he had looked both ways and tried to signify that he was no threat to the officer before they start to argue. At one point, he can be heard saying, “If you were a real man, you could take your gun away and you could fight me like a real man.” Soon, Figueroa wrestles Cain to the ground and is shown being punched several times. With the help of another officer, he is taken into custody.
But Cain said that while he was in jail, he was repeatedly kneed in the ribs by corrections officers who also used their knees to pin him down while stripping off his clothes, according to the federal lawsuit filed Sunday in Sacramento, which also said he was left alone in a cell without medical attention, food or the ability to make a phone call. He was released after nine hours and no charges were filed.
“I’ve been embarrassed and discriminated against when all I’ve been trying to do is go home from work,” Cain told reporters. His lawyer, John Burris says his only crime was “walking while Black.”
The allegations about Cain’s treatment in the jail “will be investigated accordingly,” a sheriff’s department spokesman, Sgt. Tony Turnbull, said in a statement. “I would like to reiterate that these are only allegations, and before people jump to conclusions, let the investigation speak for itself.”
“Racism is still alive, and you would think, it’s 2017 that it would die, but it still exists,” Cain said. “Now that we brought it to surface, justice will be served and we will make sure that this doesn’t happen to anybody else.”
In a statement released the day after the arrest, the Sacramento Police Department, without mentioning Cain’s name, said the suspect was detained for resisting arrest and had an outstanding misdemeanor warrant from Fresno County, according to the Sacramento Bee, and also had to be restrained while in the police cruiser and was resistant with sheriff’s deputies.
Cain told the Sacramento Bee in a later interview that he never wanted to fight the officer.
“I didn’t say those things as a threat or to fight him or I never threatened him. I never put my fists up to fight him or attacked him or anything,” he said. “I just said if you’ve got a problem then you can take your belt off and your gun off and fight me like a man if that’s what you want to do, but I’m not going to get down on my knees because I didn’t see anything wrong that I did.”