Two months after SFPD raided his video shoot in Bayview Hunter's Point, Bay Area hip hop artist Yung Lott is suing the police and the City of San Francisco for civil rights violations, The San Francisco Chronicle reports:
The lawsuit accuses both uniformed and plainclothes officers of harassing and handcuffing a group of “innocent African American men who were recording and performing a music video” near a playground on Kiska Road on March 8.
“Without probable cause or a search warrant, SFPD officers subjected each and every member of the group to an unreasonable search, seizure, arrest, conspiracy to arrest and humiliation at gunpoint,” the suit says.
The incident, in which Yung Lott and about 20 other black men were detained, searched, and photographed by SFPD while filming a rap video in a park, went viral thanks to video footage that circulated on YouTube. At the time, SFPD claimed that the searches were justified due to the fact that a man with a concealed gun walked into the crowd. SFPD told SF Weekly that officers had the right to search all the other men around the suspect with the gun for “officer safety reasons.”
But in the suit, Yung Lott and his co-plaintiffs suggest that police, who had already observed the man with the gun, should never have allowed him to walk into the video shoot. Per the Chronicle:
The officers “negligently, willfully and/or recklessly allowed Taj Williams to enter the group of musicians with a loaded gun,” the suit says. A footnote in the complaint adds, “On information and belief, SFPD officers would not have allowed a perpetrator that they perceived to be armed with a loaded handgun enter a group of innocent white civilians (for instance, executives at a Google convention).”
The suit says police subjected the group taking part in the music video to a “dangerous condition in order to manufacture cause to conduct a search of the entire group.”