East Bay News

Pair run over during protest suing BART, OPD

Monday, November 12, 2012

Two pedestrians who were struck by a car the night of a massive Occupy protest in Oakland last year are suing. They've filed a federal civil rights suit against BART and Oakland police.

Lawyers for Lance Laverdure and Margaret So say it's been a full year since the incident and that neither BART nor Oakland police have done anything about it. The suit says police violated the First Amendment rights of the two by their inaction to what they say was an outright attack on their clients who were out there supporting the demonstration.

Asked what goes through his mind when he thinks about that moment in time, Lance Laverdure says, "Just, staring off, like what the hell is going on? It's confusing. It's depressing. It's disturbing." He still gets emotional when he's asked about the night of November 2, 2011, the night he and his friend Margaret So were hit by a car during a massive Occupy protest. What really fuels his anxiety is the fact that he has yet to get justice. He says it makes him feel "like half a human being."

Cell phone video of the incident was widely circulated in social media and seen on newscasts. That night, several hundred people were walking down Broadway at 11th. A Mercedes tried to cross the intersection. "There was everyone, men, women and children. I could have sworn I saw some kid on his dad's shoulders," Laverdure recalled. The car nudged Laverdure who was directly in its path. He then banged on the hood. "I slapped on his hood like, 'What's going on?' And that that point, he decided that was the wrong answer so he cruised through me."

The driver hit the gas throwing Laverdure and Margaret So in the air. BART police responded. The angry crowd wanted an arrest. Instead, officers released the car and driver further aggravating the crowd. Laverdure sustained a lacerated liver and an injured foot. So's ankle was broken in three places. Both had surgeries and are still in therapy.

BART said later that they got the driver's name and witness accounts and then passed the information onto Oakland police who said they had launched an investigation, but attorneys for the two say they've heard nothing from them after repeated requests for answers. "They won't tell us. They won't act. They won't tell us, 'Yes, we're doing it. This is what we've done. This is how we're proceeding and yes, charges will be filed,'" Laverdure's attorney Carla Minnard told ABC7 News.

"Under normal, circumstances, if somebody hit somebody, they go to jail. So, what was it about this situation that was so different that two people could be injured and run down on the street, suffered serious injuries, have to be hospitalized, have surgeries, and nobody needs to be arrested?" So's attorney Pamela Price asked.

BART declined to comment saying they have yet to see the lawsuit. Oakland police referred ABC7 News to the city attorney but a call to the spokesman's cell phone was not returned.

(Copyright ©2014 KGO-TV. All Rights Reserved.)

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Tags:
oakland, occupy oakland, OPD, crime, vandalism, protest, BART, lawsuit, east bay news, vic lee
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