Significant People's victory in Yuvette Henderson civil case
On Monday, Judge Donna M. Ryu denied the motion for summary judgment filed by the City of Emeryville and Officer Warren Williams in the civil case brought by Yuvette Henderson's family and attorney Dan Siegel of Siegel & Yee in Oakland. This is a significant victory for the family and the people of Emeryville and the surrounding area because it is a step closer to accountability for the officers who murdered Yuvette.
The City of Emeryville attempted to argue that the officer who killed Yuvette - with an AR-15 while she was already down on the ground wounded - had qualified immunity, meaning that he would be shielded from civil liability because he was "just doing his job" as police officer. The problem with that argument is that qualified immunity would have required the officers not to violate the clearly established constitutional rights of Ms. Henderson.
The judge found that:
1) A reasonable jury could find that Williams' use of force was excessive because it was not necessary to protect his life or the lives of others.
2) Yuvette Henderson had a “clearly established” right to not be executed by a police officer while unarmed.
The judge also concluded, “Since the key non-police eyewitness to the entire incident is dead, the court must also carefully consider all the evidence including forensic evidence to determine whether Williams’s account of the event is internally consistent as well as consistent with the other facts.
This is a HUGE win for the people because it means the judge looked at the totality of the evidence, rather than placing extra weight on the word of the police officers. She acknowledged that Yuvette is no longer here to speak for herself and the public has a right to see all the facts of the case.