<strong>Minami Tamaki LLP and Szeto-Wong Law Win Judgment in Civil Rights Lawsuit Alleging Sutter County Delayed Hate Crime Investigation</strong>

Minami Tamaki LLP and Szeto-Wong Law Win Judgment in Civil Rights Lawsuit Alleging Sutter County Delayed Hate Crime Investigation

See coverage of this case in the Sacramento Bee and ABC10 Sacramento

Minami Tamaki LLP is pleased to announce a judgment for its client Rouble Claire in a civil lawsuit against Sutter County and two sheriff’s deputies.

Mr. Claire, a first-generation Sikh American whose family has called Sutter, California, home since 1973, alleged that the Sutter County sheriff’s office failed to adequately investigate a pair of racist hate crimes he experienced in 2021.

On May 11, 2021, a woman confronted Mr. Claire in the parking lot of a local store. The woman shouted at Mr. Claire, including calling him a “f—— Hindu.”  The woman then sped towards Mr. Claire in her car, only swerving away at the last moment.  Mr. Claire called 911 and waited for the Sheriff’s Office to report to the scene, but no one arrived at the scene, so Mr. Claire returned to his home.

Later that same day, an associate of the woman who threatened Mr. Claire in the parking lot went to his house and wrote “Sand N—–” in chalk on the street and on his driveway, and called him “N—–.”  Mr. Claire again called law enforcement to report this incident, but the Sheriff’s Office failed to make any arrests, failed to further investigate, and failed to even prepare a report of the two incidents that day. 

One deputy who responded to the chalking incident poured water on the chalking in an attempt to wash away the evidence of the racial slurs before taking photos of the scene.

Over the next several months, Mr. Claire continued to contact the Sheriff’s Office about these disturbing incidents, but the Sheriff’s Office refused to take action.  Mr. Claire sought the assistance of the Sikh Coalition, which continued to follow up with the Sheriff’s Office.  The Sheriff’s Office finally prepared a police report that recommended criminal charges against the woman who threatened Ms. Claire in the parking lot.  However, the Sutter County District Attorney’s Office (the “District Attorney”) declined to press charges.  The District Attorney’s office cited the amount of time that had elapsed between the incidents and the preparation of the report recommending charges as a reason not to prosecute the matter, despite the fact that this delay was due to the Sheriff’s Office’s months-long delay in investigating this matter and recommending charges. 

On May 9, 2022, Minami Tamaki LLP and Szeto-Wong Law filed a lawsuit in the Eastern District of California against Sutter County, two officers of the Sutter County Sheriff’s Office, and the two women who Mr. Claire harassed him.

Mr. Claire and his legal team secured an offer of judgment from Sutter County and the Sheriff’s deputies as to Mr. Claire’s claims that they violated his rights, which the court entered in his favor.

“This judgment reflects the unavoidable fact that Sutter County’s institutions failed our client,” Szeto-Wong and Tamura-Sato said in a joint statement Monday. “No one should have to experience hateful words or conduct – nor should they go months without an adequate investigation or have their legitimate concerns belittled and ignored when the safety of them and their family is at risk.”

The case is Claire v. County of Sutter, et al., 22-cv-00780-WBS-AC, Eastern District of California.

See coverage of this case in the Sacramento Bee and ABC10 Sacramento.

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