Editor's Note: In July, 2015 an out of court settlement was reached relating to the lawsuit described in the story below. On Dec. 12, 2013, in a plea agreement, Hiruy Amanuel pleaded no contest to the misdemeanor hit and run charge referenced in the article. The misdemeanor charge for drinking under the influence causing injury was dismissed. Amanuel was sentenced to 10 days in county jail, fined $1,650 and placed on three years probation, according to San Mateo County District Attorney Steve Wagstaffe.
Menlo Park resident Hiruy Amanuel has filed a lawsuit against the City of Menlo Park and three Menlo Park police officers because of the officers' alleged handling of two incidents involving Amanuel earlier this year.
The suit, filed in federal court on Nov. 12, alleges that officers Ed Soares, James Luevano and "Officer Jeffries" violated Amanuel's civil rights during two traffic stops, one on Jan. 13 and another on Oct. 13.
The complaint alleges that the stops included illegal searches, racist comments and intimidation. Amanuel is represented in the civil action by attorneys Greg Walston and Thomas O'Brien.
Officers Soares and Luevano recognized him from an earlier case and subjected Amanuel to harassment and threats that left him upset and scared, according to the lawsuit.
Menlo Park Police Cmdr. Dave Bertini said the first stop was recorded via a digital audio recorder, and the second recorded with both video and audio.
The Almanac's research indicates no "Officer Jeffries" works for the police department; Mr. Walston was not immediately available for comment as to whether his client wasn't sure about the name or it was erroneously included in the filing.
Mr. Amanuel is currently facing misdemeanor charges in San Mateo County Superior Court for driving under the influence causing injury and hit-and-run.
In 2010, Amanuel pleaded guilty in federal court to one felony count of using a telephone to facilitate drug trafficking, and was sentenced to 21 months in prison and one year of supervised probation that ended in 2012, according to court records. Two related charges, of conspiracy to distribute and possession of cocaine with intent to distribute, were dismissed in the plea deal.