OAKLAND — A pair of Occupy Oakland protesters who were hit by a car as they marched in the middle of a downtown street last year have filed a federal civil rights lawsuit against the city and BART.
Margaret So and Lance Laverdure claim their rights were violated because neither the Oakland nor BART police departments pursued a criminal case against Jan Carrigg, the driver of a car that hit them.
Instead, the protesters' lawsuit claims, officers representing the police departments helped conceal a crime by allowing Carrigg and his passenger Sara Abu-Nasser, to leave the scene of the alleged crime without any formal investigation.
"Despite the fact that a felony was committed in the presence of dozens of witnesses -- many of whom filmed the incident -- and despite the fact they had the suspects and other critical evidence at the scene within their control, defendants who appeared to be BART police, cleared a path for Carrigg and Abu-Nasser to leave the scene of the felony crime," the lawsuit states. "Defendants' actions aided and abetted the assault and battery ... and facilitated the concealment of a crime and the destruction of critical evidence."
The lawsuit, filed by attorneys Pamela Price and Simona Farrise, seeks monetary damages in excess of $250,000 for mental and emotional distress and unspecified punitive damages.
The lawsuit claims that So and Laverdure sustained critical injuries that will cause them to be disabled for life both physically and emotionally.
Johnna Watson, spokeswoman for the Oakland Police Department referred questions to the City Attorney's Office. A spokesman in that office could not be reached for comment.
Alicia Trost, spokeswoman for BART, declined to comment saying the agency has yet to see the lawsuit.