News

Lawsuit filed against Menlo Park police officers

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.

Comments

Posted by Local Dave, a resident of Menlo Park: Downtown
on Dec 13, 2013 at 7:40 pm

So, for 'balanced journalism' are you going to detail previous disciplinary charges and allegations against the officers?


Posted by Holly L., a resident of Menlo Park: Linfield Oaks
on Dec 14, 2013 at 8:29 am

Local Dave:

Are you referring to this 2011 incident in which allegations of misconduct were made against Sgt. Soares?

Web Link

Also, the Palo Alto Daily Post reported on this federal harassment suit first, way back on November 27, 2013 in a front page story,

"Police Accused of Harassment in Federal Suit" by Jeramy Gordon.

The Post had a disturbing detail that the Almanac does NOT have.

From the Post:

" The suit claims that Soares then interrogated Amanuel's brother about a future criminal trial in which the brother had been subpoenaed to testify.

Amanuel claims Soares threatened to toss them both in jail if the brother 'did not testify differently than he had testified at the preliminary hearing in the case.'"

This kind of incident in which someone alleges that they have been threatened by police is nothing new. Inmates from San Mateo County have been complaining about this for years.


Posted by menlo park resident, a resident of Menlo Park: Belle Haven
on Dec 15, 2013 at 6:44 pm

I know Amanuel for years. He has victimized people too long. I live on Carlton. He needs to be in prison.I know those officers too. They protect us from drug dealers like Amanuel. Keep arresting Amanuel! He'll go away soon enough! God bless the police
.


If you were a member and logged in you could track comments from this story.

Post a comment

Posting an item on Town Square is simple and requires no registration. Just complete this form and hit "submit" and your topic will appear online. Please be respectful and truthful in your postings so Town Square will continue to be a thoughtful gathering place for sharing community information and opinion. All postings are subject to our TERMS OF USE, and may be deleted if deemed inappropriate by our staff.

We prefer that you use your real name, but you may use any "member" name you wish.

Name: *

Select your neighborhood or school community: * Not sure?

Comment: *

Verification code: *
Enter the verification code exactly as shown, using capital and lowercase letters, in the multi-colored box.

*Required Fields

Gourmet hot dogs, sausage food truck coming to the Peninsula
By Elena Kadvany | 5 comments | 2,594 views

Allowing Unauthorized Immigrants to Learn and Earn Legally Will Help the Economy
By Steve Levy | 29 comments | 2,062 views

All This Arguing . . .
By Chandrama Anderson | 0 comments | 1,239 views

Finding mentors in would-be bosses
By Jessica T | 0 comments | 1,238 views

Menlo Park's Youthful Future
By Paul Bendix | 5 comments | 1,222 views