Former CSUB students file lawsuit against officers


The Runner Staff


A claim for personal injuries has been filed against the city of Bakersfield and Bakersfield Police officers by two Bakersfield College students who were detained and attacked by officers on Dec. 6, 2016.

Former CSU Bakersfield students Timothy Grismore and Xavier Hines talked about their experience leading to their arrest in a video posted on the NAACP Bakersfield Facebook page.

Grismore and Hines said they were taking a break from studying for finals to go get Taco Bell when the officers stopped them, attacked them and arrested them near the 1100 block of Valhalla Drive.

According to the report, they were charged with a traffic safety infraction.

From left to right: BC students Timothy Grismore and Xavier Hines sit with attorney Neil K. Gehlawat and NAACP Bakersfield President Patrick Jackson as they answer questions during a press conference at Chain Cohn Stiles in downtown Bakersfield Wednesday, Jan. 25.
Photo by Esteban Ramirez/The Runner

The civil lawsuit states one officer ordered Hines to get down to the ground by pointing his taser at him. The other officer began to search Grismore.

Grismore then asked why he was being searched and the lawsuit states the officer responded by throwing him to the ground and elbowing him on the chin.

The civil lawsuit also states another officer struck Grismore with a baton several times while on the ground.

Grismore received five stitches in his mouth as a result of the incident.

Hines said it is very frustrating because it makes them feel like it can happen to anyone anywhere.

“We have never committed a crime or even put in handcuffs or arrested before, so this happening for the first time and the way it did happen, it did affect us in the big way,” said Hines.

The claim does not specify a dollar amount for economic damages, non-economic damages, punitive damages, statutory damages and attorney fees.

Both students and representatives attended a city council meeting on Wednesday, Jan. 26 where Grismore and Hines spoke about their incident and how concerned they are about the officers still on duty.

“At first we were kind of scared and confused and we were still shocked in some kind of way because it seems surreal,” said Grismore, who is a business and public administration major. “Our charges were dropped and stuff like that so we’re feeling better. We still feel paranoid at certain times.”

The district attorney’s office has come out to say they will not pursue charges against Grismore or Hines.

According to attorney Neil K. Gehlawat from Chain Cohn Stiles, BPD started an internal investigation on the officers but as far as he knows the officers have not been placed on paid-administrative leave.

“We are hopeful that the new chief [Lyle Martin] will take this very seriously and will seriously investigate the complaints and take action against the officers who did what they did against Xavier and Timothy,” Gehlawat said.

Grismore and Hines said because of this incident, they aren’t able to do certain things they used to do on a daily basis.

“It was traumatizing,” said Hines, who is a mechanical engineering major. “It’s a lot of stuff we used to do on a daily basis that we don’t do anymore because of that situation. We’re just trying to keep our heads up right now and stay positive.”

Bakersfield citizen and reverend Ralph Anthony said he hopes the city council will look at this as a problem for everyone and tries to solve it.

“For it to take place, is not human,” Anthony said. “To correct it, is real human. It will make sense for an intelligent people that one or develop a community that Bakersfield has been and will be.”

Grismore and Hines said he wants to see change in how they handle certain situations.

“We don’t want this to happen anybody else out here, not just here anywhere else,” Hines said. “We feel like this shouldn’t happen just because you are walking down the street late at night and because of the color of your skin you get pulled over by the officers. The situation escalates, just something that shouldn’t happen.”


Photo courtesy of  NAACP Bakersfield Facebook page