Cop Block has always been a staunch supporter of our constitutional rights when dealing with police. I often urge my fellow citizens NOT to talk to police. The following video is a prime example of why.
Back in 2015, Douglas Babbitt was talking on the phone in the driver’s seat of his parked van when a police officer asked if an open beer bottle on the ground near the vehicle’s front passenger door belonged to him. Notice the location of the beer can – it’s located on the ground, outside of the vehicle, on the passenger’s side.
Babbitt was under the impression if he told the truth, that the beer can wasn’t his, and that he didn’t know who left it there, that the police would be satisfied. Unfortunately for Babbitt, that didn’t turn out to be true.
One of the officers on scene, San Leandro Police Officer Michael Olivera, continued to question Babbitt about the beer. Olivera’s own body camera captured the entire incident that shows how the police needlessly escalated the situation that lead to Babbitt’s arrest, and left the 51-year-old Oakland man briefly lying unconscious on the ground.
Babbitt was falsely arrested and charged with resisting a police officer, driving under the influence of alcohol and multiple weapons violations. After watching the arrest video, the Alameda County District Attorney’s Office dismissed all of the charges against Babbitt. In addition to the video, blood tests proved the officers lied when they claimed Babbitt was drunk, had blood shot eyes, and smelled of alcohol.
In July 2015, Babbitt sued San Leandro, Olivera and Officer Alexander Ying in U.S. District Court. The lawsuit alleges that the police officers violated Babbitt’s constitutional rights, used excessive force, unlawfully arrested and falsely imprisoned him.
The reason this case is interesting is we have the whole interaction from start to finish and you can tell how these police departments handle people who are minorities, people who are driving beat-up cars, people who are in impoverished neighborhoods, said Fulvio Cajina, Babbitt’s attorney.
In court documents, the defendants acknowledge using a carotid restraint hold to gain control of Babbitt, but deny the rest of his claims.