OAKLAND — An attorney known for representing victims of alleged police misconduct is filing his own lawsuit against the City of Oakland, saying police officers held him at gunpoint and illegally searched his car during a 2017 traffic stop.
Adante Pointer, a lawyer in the office of famed Oakland civil rights attorney John L. Burris, has led several high-profile lawsuits over fatal police shootings and other officer-involved deaths other around the Bay Area.
But a complaint filed Thursday in federal court claims Pointer was himself the victim of misconduct by Oakland Police Department officers, whom he claims held him at gunpoint and illegally searched his car in a 2017 traffic stop.
Attempts to get comments from the Oakland Police Department Saturday were unsuccessful.
Pointer alleges he had been driving down East 14th Street in San Leandro around 7 p.m. on the night of Dec. 26, 2017, according to his complaint, when Oakland police officers pulled him over. Pointer “was not committing any crime or infraction,” attorneys from the Burris law office wrote.
His lawsuit alleges what happened next as a harrowing encounter in which multiple officers held Pointer at gunpoint while “screaming profanities and conflicting commands,” alternately telling him not to move and to get out of the car.
The officers eventually handcuffed Pointer and detained him in the back of a squad car, his complaint states, then “unlawfully search the passenger compartment and trunk of his car.” Pointer was later released when the search — which he said was a violation of his Fourth Amendment rights — did not turn up anything illegal.
Pointer said the officers, none of whom are named in the lawsuit, told him his car matched the description of a vehicle from which someone either brandished or fired a rifle earlier that day.
According to the complaint, an Internal Affairs investigation conducted by Oakland police found the officers “unlawfully searched Mr. Pointer’s trunk (and) failed to accurately report the incident in their police reports, in addition to other officer misconduct,” but did not result in any discipline for the officers involved.
Neither the Oakland city attorney’s office nor Oakland police could be reached Saturday for a response to the lawsuit, or comment on the outcome of the internal affairs investigation.
Pointer’s suit seeks unspecified damages. It also asks a judge to require that the department train officers in conducting high-risk traffic stops and institute a policy requiring officers to be disciplined if they conduct illegal searches.
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