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Court rejects civil-rights claims in suit against Belvedere

A U.S. District Court has dismissed federal civil-rights claims brought by the owners of downtown Tiburon boutique Yema against Belvedere over a police incident there in 2020. But the attorney for the couple, who alleges the stop was racially motivated, said they’ll appeal and continue to pursue the remaining state claims the court declined to rule on.

Mill Valley attorney David Anderson represents Tiburon residents Yema Khalif and Hawi Awash, who declined to comment. In an interview last week, Anderson said Judge Yvonne Gonzalez Rogers, of the Northern District Court in San Francisco, “made several mistakes” in her May 31 ruling and that he’s considering the next steps.

He said it was “difficult to understand” because Gonzalez Rogers had strongly encouraged a settlement in the case, with a conference already scheduled for June 27 that has now been canceled.

“This ruling … is inconsistent with (Gonzalez Rogers’) statements to both attorneys,” Anderson said, “based upon her understanding of the case and the fact that Tiburon has settled with my client and agreed to make significant changes in police practicing and many other important reforms to lessen the practices that clearly were discriminatory and racist.”

Belvedere Mayor Jim Lynch praised the ruling as “perfectly consistent” with the findings of an outside investigation, the results of which were sealed and never made public.

“The independent investigation report found that the neither the city nor Officer (Jeremy) Clark, nor the Police Department did anything or failed to do anything in connection with this event that give rise to a legal cause of action,” he said. “We are pleased to see the federal court order.”

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