Man allegedly beaten by police sues city over 2013 incident

A man arrested by plainclothes officers in the Mission in 2013, and whose suspected rough treatment sparked a brawl between officers and bystanders that was captured on camera, has filed a civil-rights lawsuit in federal court alleging he was the victim of police brutality.

According to the suit, which was filed Dec. 23 in U.S. District Court, the Nov. 15, 2013, incident began when three plainclothes officers followed D'Paris Williams, 20 at the time, to the Valencia Gardens public-housing complex in the Mission where he lives.

The three officers — Gregory Skaug, Milen Banegas and Theodore Polovina — reportedly followed Williams to his house because he had been riding his bike on the sidewalk.

After apologizing to the officers, Williams was asked to come outside. When Williams recognized the men as police, he said they had no right to order him out of the home, the lawsuit states. That is when the officers allegedly tried and succeeded in forcing him outside of his house.

Once Williams was outside, according to the suit, the three officers allegedly punched him and threw him to the ground. This continued until Williams briefly lost consciousness, and when he awoke, the officers were choking him, the suit charges.

“The … officers punched … [Williams] in the face and in the back of his neck over five times, causing him to black out for a few seconds,” alleges the lawsuit. “When … [Williams] gained consciousness, the … officers were choking him.”

The injuries Williams sustained prevented him from eating for several days, noted the suit.

After being taken to San Francisco General Hospital, Williams was booked into County Jail for resisting arrest, assault with force and riding a bicycle on the sidewalk. But the charges were soon dropped pending an investigation.

At the time, a police spokesman said the officers were justified in their actions. The three officers, members of the Violence Reduction Team, first confronted Williams at 3:40 p.m. for allegedly riding on the sidewalk. But police said Williams refused to stop, even after being shown a badge. Police said that is when Williams was followed to the residence and officers detained him.

The lawsuit was filed by the law office of John Burris, who represented the family of Oscar Grant III, an unarmed man killed by a BART officer on New Year's Day 2009.

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