Editor's Note: On December 20, 2013, in a plea agreement, Mr. Amanuel pleaded no contest to misdemeanor hit and run. A misdemeanor charge for driving under the influence causing injury was dismissed. Amanuel was sentenced to 10 days in county jail, fined $1,650 and placed on three years probation, according to San Mateo County District Attorney Steve Wagstaffe.
A man has filed suit against three Menlo Park police officers, the department and the city.
The suit, filed in federal court on Nov. 12 by the attorneys for Hiruy Amanuel, alleges that officers Ed Soares, James Luevano and "Officer Jeffries" violated his rights during two traffic stops, one on Jan. 13 and another on Oct. 31.
The complaint alleges that the stops included illegal searches, racist comments and intimidation. Mr. Amanuel, a Menlo Park resident, is represented in the civil action by attorneys Greg Walston and Thomas O'Brien.
Officers Soares and Luevano recognized him from an earlier case and subjected Mr. Amanuel to harassment and threats that left him upset and scared, according to the lawsuit.
Menlo Park Police Cmdr. Dave Bertini said the first stop was recorded via a digital audio recorder, and the second recorded with both video and audio.
The Almanac's research indicates no "Officer Jeffries" works for the police department; Mr. Walston was not immediately available for comment as to whether his client wasn't sure about the name or it was erroneously included in the filing.
Mr. Amanuel currently faces criminal charges in San Mateo County Court in connection with a misdemeanor driving under the influence causing injury and a hit-and-run.
In 2010, he pleaded guilty in federal court to one felony count of using a telephone to facilitate drug trafficking, and was sentenced to 21 months in state prison and one year of supervised probation that ended in 2012, according to court records. Two related charges, of conspiracy to distribute and possession of cocaine with intent to distribute, were dismissed.