A Nevada attorney who was acquitted of a misdemeanor obstruction charge in March has sued the Metropolitan Police Department in U.S. District Court, claiming violation of constitutional rights, false arrest and negligence.
The lawsuit, filed Wednesday by Cal Potter, names attorney Stephen Stubbs, who often represents motorcycle clubs, and Kevin Desmairas as plaintiffs. It seeks at least $75,000 from the department and police Lt. Yasenia Yatomi. The lawsuit also accuses the department of “long-standing policy of intentional harassment toward motorcycle clubs.”
Police spokesman and officer Larry Hadfield said his department doesn’t comment on litigation, and that therefore Yatomi would also not comment.
The lawsuit centers on a Nov. 14, 2013, Bikers for Christ motorcycle rally at Arville Street and Spring Mountain Road. Desmairas had driven his motorcycle in the parking lot near the intersection when police drove up and said they wanted to question him about a traffic violation, Stubbs said in an interview Thursday.
Stubbs, and the lawsuit, said Desmairas asked Stubbs to stand by as his attorney during the questioning. He added that the first pair of officers the pair talked to allowed this, but Yatomi arrived and told him to leave. Stubbs refused and was arrested. The lawsuit says ordering Stubbs to leave would deprive Desmairas of his constitutional rights.
Stubbs was tried for obstruction and acquitted in March. He said a video of the incident, posted on YouTube, contradicted Yatomi’s accounting of the incident and aided his acquittal.
Potter said the lawsuit will seek compensation to Stubbs for damage to reputation, loss of business and emotional distress. Potter said Thursday that proving those allegations could push the damages into “the seven figures.”
The Associated Press reported that Stubbs is representing members of biker groups in a federal civil rights complaint alleging harassment by Las Vegas and other area police. The lawsuit, filed in June 2012, is pending in U.S. District Court in Las Vegas. Biker group represented in the lawsuit include the Stray Cats, Bandidos, Mongols and Vagos.
That lawsuit, the AP added, was filed a day after a meeting of Mongols national leaders in Boulder City was monitored by hundreds of local and state police and federal agents.