County settles suit with man allegedly stripped, verbally abused in jail after jaywalking

A man who was punched by a Sacramento police officer during a jaywalking stop, then allegedly stripped and verbally abused by Sheriff’s Deputies in jail, has settled a lawsuit with the County of Sacramento for an undisclosed sum for the part of the incident that took place in lockup.

Sacramento County Counsel Robyn Truitt Drivon said the county had agreed to a five-figure settlement “for an amount considered within the cost of litigation,” but that the allegation of excessive force remains “disputed.”

Claims against the City of Sacramento for the arresting officer’s actions remain ongoing.

The settlement stems from mistreatment Nandi Cain, Jr., 24, alleges he received inside the Sacramento County Main Jail after an April 10 incident in which Sacramento police officer Anthony Figueroa punched Cain about 20 times after attempting to stop him for an alleged jaywalking infraction in Del Paso Heights.

Cain was subsequently booked in the Main Jail downtown. The suit alleges he wasn’t given medical care for a concussion and broken nose, but placed on a psychiatric hold that prompted multiple officers to hold him face down on the floor of an “isolation cell” and forcibly strip him while using “their knees to pin his body against the floor.”

The sheriff’s deputies allegedly called Cain a “b----” and told him he was “crying like a b----” in addition to telling him he “stank,” according to the suit.

After the deputies stripped him, Cain was left in the cell until charges were dropped and he was released nine hours after the incident began.

Cain told The Bee at the time of the incident that the experience left him feeling “degraded. Less-than. Shamed. Depressed. Humiliated. … All I could do was just pray.”

Cain was walking home from work when the incident began after he crossed Grand Avenue at Cypress Street, a four-way intersection with sidewalks on all sides. Pedestrian advocates later said crossing at the location was legal and not considered jaywalking.

Figueroa pulled up behind Cain and ordered him to stop. Cain verbally challenged the premise of the stop, and Figueroa ordered him to the ground. The verbal exchange escalated, ending when the officer grabbed Cain, threw him to the ground and repeatedly punched him.

Figueroa is currently on paid administrative leave and an internal investigation of the incident remains ongoing, according to department spokeswoman Linda Matthew.

The jaywalking stop was witnessed and filmed by a local community activist and the video quickly went viral. The police department responded by releasing dashcam video of the incident that showed Figueroa punching Cain. City leaders quickly voiced concerns over the officer’s actions.

A subsequent investigation by The Bee found that black men in the District 2 area around Del Paso Heights are issued jaywalking citations at significantly higher rates than those of other races. Sacramento police issued 233 tickets for jaywalking in 2016 in the police district that includes the area around the Cain incident – nearly triple the number handed out in the entire rest of the city.

Black people received 111 of those citations, nearly 50 percent, but account for about 15 percent of the area’s residents. The equivalent of 12 citations were issued to every 1,000 black residents in District 2 last year, more than five times the issuance rate for non-blacks, city and census figures show.

Civil rights attorney John Burris, whose office represents Cain, said the city suit focuses in part on that disparity.

“The major issue here is with the jaywalking,” Burris said. “We hope to bring about some significant change, reform, as it relates to African Americans being stopped at disproportionally high rates.”

Anita Chabria: 916-321-1049, @chabriaa

Bee reporter Philip Reese contributed to this report.

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