Stephen Ellison

Hayward Settles With Man Claiming Officers' Racial Profiling

An unarmed East Bay man says he was stopped not once but twice by police on the same day because of the color of his skin.

The man took the city of Hayward to court and won.

Marketri Cyrus said he wasn’t doing anything wrong when Hayward officers tackled him and gave him a concussion. He said the officers' own body camera video backs up his claim that it was all because of his race.

"I could have been another story on the news – another guy getting shot," Cyrus said.

Cyrus sued the city of Hayward and settled for an undisclosed amount.

Cyrus said he’s alive today because he kept calm in the early morning of July 28, 2017. Cyrus and a friend were at a 7-Eleven in Hayward when two police officers walked up to them and asked for identification.

"You got any ID on you?" the officer is heard saying in the video.

But before the officers approach Cyrus and his friend, one of the officers is heard telling his colleague this: "I came here just to get a drink, and the whole damn building is surrounded by these BMs with hoodies and backpacks!"

"BM" is an abbreviation for black male in police jargon.

"My appearance," Cyrus said. "That was enough for them to be like, 'Oh, he’s this guy, he’s doing this.'"

The police officer tells Cyrus and his friend there’s been a robbery in the area, and the two look like the suspects. Cyrus declines to give them his ID and leaves the store.

With the incident behind him, Cyrus said he started walking home and called his mother, telling her that police mistook him for a robbery suspect. Someone must have overheard because that person called 911 and told police this: "They’re having a conversation about robbing somebody and making a move."

Police then walked up to Cyrus again, but this time they tackled and cuffed him. In the video, Cyrus asks why he’s being detained.

"This was not the right time to ask questions," the officer says.

Cyrus said the officers ran his record and found nothing.

"They were all surprised because they were judging me off my image!" he said.

The officers still took him into custody for resisting arrest, a charge that was later dropped.

A city spokesperson said Hayward officers acted lawfully, and there’s been no change in police training when it comes to stopping people on the street.

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