Lawsuit: African-American Brothers Beaten, Arrested by Cops After Being Accused of Burglarizing Their Own Home

A pair of federal lawsuits filed in Sacramento, California, this week accuses Rancho Cordova Police of excessive force, false arrest and other offenses in the violent take down of two brothers in front of their home last year.

The complaints, which also name Sacramento County and the officers as defendants, alleges the brothers were beaten, choked, arrested and carted off to jail after a neighbor mistook them for burglars, the Sacramento Bee reports.

Carlos and Thomas Williams
Brothers Carlos and Thomas Williams say police used excessive force after a neighbor accused them of burglarizing Carlos’ own home. (Photo: CBS Sacramento)

Twins Carlos and Thomas Williams contend they’re the victims of police brutality and believe the incident, at least in part, stems from the fact that they’re African-American.

The pair were arrested the night of March 23, 2019, as Carlos was showing his brother a water drain he installed on his new home. That’s when they were confronted by a couple who demanded to know “what the f—k” they were doing on the property, then accused them of trying to burglarize the place.

“Basically, because I didn’t fit the description of maybe what should be in this neighborhood,” Carlos told local station CBS 13.

The couple dialed 911, and within moments the Williams brothers were surrounded by police.

“The police officers arrived at the scene and immediately drew their guns, screamed profanities at the brothers, placed one brother in a chokehold, and beat them both into unconsciousness,” Thomas Williams’ complaint alleges. “The brothers attempted to convince officers they were residents, but the officers did not care.”

The cops searched both brothers and seized Carlos’ wallet, which contained a driver’s license listing his current address “and made it plainly obvious to the arresting officers that Carlos wasn’t burglarizing his own home.”

“Carlos confirmed yet again to arresting officers he lived at the dispatched address,” the lawsuit adds, noting that a neighbor named Oraciso Galvan also confirmed to police that Carlos lived at the home.

Still, the siblings were arrested and jailed on charges of felony assault and resisting arrest, according to the complaint. Prosecutors ultimately declined to file charges.

Their troubles didn’t end there, however. Since the incident, the Williams brothers claim they’ve been the target of a “coordinated intimidation campaign” by the police and Sacramento County Sheriff’s Department, which operates Rancho Cordova PD under contract with the city, according to the Sacramento Bee.

The sheriff’s department said officers followed standard protocol in the incident.

“This can be a very violent thing having a residential burglary,” Deputy Rod Grassmann told CBS 13 at the time, adding, “People who commit residential burglaries have weapons, so it would be reasonable that deputies would respond that way.”

Grassmann also claimed the men were combative and ignored deputies’ commands, saying they had to ask multiple times for one brother to “take your hand out of pocket.”  

Thomas Williams, whose lawsuit notes that he’s both an educator and an entrepreneur, denies this, however, and further accuses police of violating his and his brother’s civil and constitutional rights in the arrest.

Atlanta Black Star reached out to the Sacramento County Sheriff’s Department for comment and is awaiting response.

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