by Lee Housekeeper
Sacramento – Attorney John Burris and his law firm have been retained to represent Nandi Cain, the 24-year-old African American man who, according to Burris, is the “most recent victim of racial profiling by Sacramento Police Department.” Burris said that, “Mr. Cain’s only real crime was ‘walking while Black.’” The victim, Nandi Cain. explains that this ordeal made him feel “degraded, less than a man, ashamed, depressed and humiliated.”
Burris intends to “demand the immediate release of Sacramento County Jail surveillance videos depicting Mr. Cain’s abuse inside the Sacramento County Jail and expedient and public termination of Officer Figueroa.”
On April 10, 2017, Mr. Cain was walking home from work when he heard a car screech to a halt. A man rushed up behind Mr. Cain and asked him, “Can I talk to you?” Mr. Cain declined the voluntary request and proceeded to walk down the street. Mr. Cain eventually turned around and realized the person harassing him was Anthony Figueroa, an aggressive City of Sacramento police officer, who accosted the innocent man with his hand on the grip of his gun.
Up to this point, Officer Figueroa had not identified himself as a police officer and Mr. Cain had not turned around to see him. Mr. Cain inquired about the officer’s probable cause for detention, causing the officer’s aggression and anger to intensify.
After being falsely accused of jaywalking, Mr. Cain attempted to tell the officer he lawfully crossed the street, but Officer Figueroa demanded that Mr. Cain get on the ground. According to Mr. Cain, the officer was “gripping his gun” as soon as Mr. Cain turned towards him with his hands up, which caused him to be afraid he “would be the next Trayvon Martin.”
Mr. Cain believed Officer Figueroa was acting outside of policy and seeking an unwarranted violent confrontation, after falsely claiming that Mr. Cain was jaywalking. Mr. Cain took off his jacket and showed the officer his hands, to demonstrate that he was unarmed. A neighbor of Mr. Cain’s drove by and he explained to the neighbor that the officer was harassing him.
Burris said that, “Mr. Cain’s only real crime was ‘walking while Black.’” The victim, Nandi Cain. explains that this ordeal made him feel “degraded, less than a man, ashamed, depressed and humiliated.”
After a brief verbal exchange, Officer Figueroa grabbed Mr. Cain by the throat, threw him to the ground and repeatedly battered Mr. Cain about the face and head, while his head bounced off the concrete. Mr. Cain was unarmed, posed no threat to the officer and did not even resist once he was being attacked.
“This is one of the most outrageous unprovoked assaults since Rodney King,” Burris declared. “This is particularly infuriating because Sacramento has a history of disproportionately stopping African Americans for jaywalking, and every encounter is a potential disaster for African American men. This is a prime example of what happens with race based policing.”
The incident was caught on bystander cellphone video and immediately went viral, sparking outrage coast to coast.
However, Mr. Cain’s terrifying ordeal was nowhere near over when the cameras stopped rolling. After being beaten into a concussion, Mr. Cain was placed in a patrol car, where he finally broke down kicking and crying from the overwhelming abuse and degradation. Mr. Cain was then placed into a leg restraint.
When Mr. Cain arrived at the jail, Officer Figueroa took him inside and began processing him into the jail. Once inside, Officer Figueroa asked Mr. Cain if he was suicidal. Mr. Cain assumed the officer was continuing his pattern of abuse and harassment and remarked, “I don’t know.” Officer Figueroa continued to repeat the question and Mr. Cain told him, “No.”
A yet-to-be-identified Sacramento County Jail nurse was brought to the intake area and apparently medically cleared the concussed man without any concern for his obvious injuries. In fact, the nurse failed to request a physician exam for Mr. Cain or order an x-ray or cat scan for the battered and bruised man. Instead, the nurse simply asked Mr. Cain if he was suicidal to which he promptly replied, “No.”
Nevertheless, despite having repeatedly indicated that he was not suicidal and despite having no history of mental illness, Officer Figueroa insisted that Mr. Cain be placed in isolation – a suicide watch cell to further penalize him for the crime of walking while Black.
As Officer Figueroa and one yet-to-be-identified Sacramento County Jail employee walked Mr. Cain to the isolation cell, Officer Figueroa painfully contorted Mr. Cain’s left arm. Once the three men arrived at the cell, Mr. Cain was taken into the cell and told to get down on his knees.
Despite having repeatedly indicated that he was not suicidal and despite having no history of mental illness, Officer Figueroa insisted that Mr. Cain be placed in isolation – a suicide watch cell to further penalize him for the crime of walking while Black.
Mr. Cain fully complied and got down on his knees, with one hand on his head, while Officer Figueroa maintained his tight grip on Mr. Cain’s left arm. Then Officer Figueroa told Mr. Cain to lie down on the ground. Mr. Cain complied and lay with his face and body on the concrete floor. Despite Mr. Cain’s full and total compliance, Officer Figueroa called several yet-to-be-identified Sacramento County Jail employees to the cell.
Once the jail employees arrived at the cell, they joined Officer Figueroa and attacked Mr. Cain. The men repeatedly kneed Mr. Cain in the ribs and used their knees to pin his body against the floor, while forcefully stripping his clothes off. At no point did any of the men permit Mr. Cain the dignity of removing his own clothes.
Mr. Cain attempted to maintain his composure and did not want to move, out of fear that he would be hurt even worse. Nevertheless, the men continued to forcefully pin Mr. Cain’s body against the floor. Although his body was wracked with pain he initially did not cry out as he feared the sadistic group of men would intensify the abuse. When Mr. Cain could not withstand the agony any longer, he cried out.
The men maintained their grip on Mr. Cain, who was lying on the ground nude and frozen with fear. He was frightened that his sadistic attackers were preparing to sexually assault him. He clenched his buttocks muscles with all his might, in a feeble attempt to prevent an anticipated sexual assault.
Finally, after Mr. Cain was emasculated, naked and sobbing on the floor, the men released their grip. Apparently not satisfied by just stripping, abusing and humiliating Mr. Cain, the men began to call him a “bitch” and said that he was “crying like a bitch,” in addition to telling Mr. Cain that his naked body ‘stank.’ After robbing Mr. Cain of his manhood and basic human dignity, the men left him alone in his cell, without medical attention, food or the opportunity to make a phone call.
“This is one of the most outrageous unprovoked assaults since Rodney King,” Burris declared. “This is a prime example of what happens with race based policing.”
On April 11, 2017, at approximately 2:00 a.m., nine hours after the beginning of his terrifying ordeal, Mr. Cain was unceremoniously released from jail. He was forced to wander the streets of Sacramento looking for a way to get home until he found a 24-hour business which permitted him to use the phone to summon a ride.
No charges were filed against Mr. Cain.
Dash camera video later revealed that Mr. Cain lawfully crossed the intersection at the corner.
John Burris says: “This officer’s outrageous conduct is unfortunately typical of the degrading, inhumane and unconstitutional treatment African American men have historically experienced at the hands of law enforcement officers in Sacramento. The only distinction is that this incident is on video and Mr. Cain is alive to tell the story.”
Mr. Cain feels that “all the involved officers should be fired” and that he “hopes no one ever has to go through anything like this again.”
Burris has filed a federal lawsuit for Nandi Cane.
Sacramento police have released the dashcam video of the violent arrest of Nandi Cain Jr. on April 10 in Del Paso Heights, which is juxtaposed here with the bystander’s cellphone video.