OAKLAND -- A man who claims he was illegally arrested and detained during an Oakland Police Department open house event last year filed a federal civil rights lawsuit against the city.
Rickey Clay, also known as Bakari Olatunji, claims he attended a May 4, 2012, open house at police headquarters with the hopes of spotting then-police Chief Howard Jordan to serve him with a subpoena.
Clay is a member of Uhuru House, a group that seeks to defend the human rights of African-Americans but which also once held a rally in support of a man who killed four Oakland police officers.
Clay's attorney, Yolanda Huang, said in the lawsuit that Clay attended the police open house with a large group of Uhuru House members and was initially denied entry into the event.
However, once let inside, the lawsuit states, Clay was simply walking around "at a leisurely pace" when two officers grabbed him, pulled his arms behind his back and dragged him outside.
Once outside, the lawsuit claims, Clay was told he was being arrested for two misdemeanors: resisting an executive officer and resisting a police officer. Clay was taken to Santa Rita Jail and forced to post bail at $2,500.
In addition to the false arrest and detention, the lawsuit claims the police department engaged in a cover-up as officers fabricated police reports to justify Clay's arrest.
The fabricated reports, the lawsuit claims, describe Clay as being disruptive to the open house. The reports said that Clay grabbed a microphone being used by a youth orchestra and prevented the group from playing their instruments, the lawsuit claims.
The lawsuit also claims that police officers fabricated Clay's demeanor during the event describing him as being angry and making nonverbal threats including balling his hands into fists.
The Alameda County District Attorney's Office filed charges against Clay but dismissed those on the eve of a trial, the lawsuit states.
Huang said in the lawsuit that the case was dismissed after the police department failed to provide either her or prosecutors a video officers recorded that detailed what happened during the event.
Clay, a registered nurse, is seeking monetary damages for loss of income and asking a federal judge to ensure the police department does not violate others civil rights.
Neither city officials nor Huang returned calls seeking comment.