Lorenzo Adamson, 43, filed the civil-rights lawsuit in U.S. District Court in Oakland on Tuesday against the city of San Francisco, Police Chief Greg Suhr and officers Brian Stansbury, Daniel Dudley and Christopher O’Brien.
Adamson, an officer at the Bayview Police Station, was on disability leave because of a back injury at the time of the stop in the Bayview district May 30.
Adamson says in the lawsuit that he was pulled over because the license plate on his Honda Accord was not visible.
The lawsuit alleges that instead of asking Adamson for his license and registration, Stansbury asked him whether he was on parole or probation.
As Adamson, who is black, got out of his car and tried to explain that he was a police officer on disability leave, Dudley allegedly began applying a chokehold on him and tackled him to the ground, the lawsuit claims.
The officers allegedly then grabbed Adamson’s police gun, handcuffed him, and held him face-down on the ground until backup officers arrived and identified him as a member of the police force, according to the lawsuit.
The lawsuit alleges that the officers’ treatment caused Adamson severe pain and also aggravated his back injury. Adamson remains on leave.
Adamson’s attorney, John Burris, said shortly after the incident that Adamson had his license plate inside his car but that it wasn’t visible because he had problems mounting it.
Adamson was initially charged with resisting arrest and not displaying a license plate, but all charges were later dropped by the District Attorney’s Office, according to the lawsuit.
Matt Dorsey, a spokesman for the City Attorney’s Office, said, “Our litigation team is reviewing the case. It would be premature for us to comment substantively.”