In 2013, Najee Rivera caught the media’s attention when he filed a police brutality case. He recently passed away as a result of gunshot wounds he recently sustained. It’s believed that Rivera was shot when he participated in a street fight. He was brought to Temple University Hospital where he spent 15 days before succumbing to his injuries.
The shooting does not appear to be related to the personal injury and police brutality claim filed by Rivera where he named two California police officers as the defendant. In the lawsuit, Rivera claimed that he was riding his scooter when he was pulled over for a traffic violation. Things quickly escalated and according to Rivera, he was dragged from his scooter and beaten by the two officers. He claims he did nothing to provoke such behavior. The officers have stated that their actions were justified and claim that Rivera argued when he was pulled over.
The entire incident was captured on a video and the images even horrified California District Attorney Seth Williams. He took a few moments to describe the footage. “One of them actually reached out of the window and clubbed Rivera in the head. After the beating, they handcuffed Rivera, who was still on the ground, and for several minutes they kept him there while he was bleeding and they were standing on him with foot on back. Another officer had arrived at the scene and thought that Mr. Rivera had been shot because there was so much blood on the ground.”
As a result of the attack, Rivera had to be treated for a fractured orbital bone and multiple facial lacerations.
This is one case where the video footage wasn’t provided by a dashboard camera mounted on the squad car Rivera’s girlfriend actually went to each business in the area until she located a business who had a security camera that recorded the entire incident. Not only did the camera show the brutality of the beatdown, but also served to discredit a portion of the officer’s story.
Despite the video evidence, when the trial was heard by a jury, the two officers were aquitted of the legal charges that had been brought against them.
The news surprised Drew Warren managing partner of a top personal injury firm with an office headquartered in California. “I can’t help wondering if Rivera had survived and been able to testify, if maybe the criminal trial would have ended differently. I also feel that this is a good time to remind the public that just because a person has passed away, it doesn’t mean that it’s too late to file a personal injury claim in California. Close kin, such as parents, children, and spouses are entitled to file a personal injury claim on behalf of a loved one who can’t.”