A Bay Area man is suing Pittsburg police for alleged civil rights violations during a 2022 mental health crisis incident

OAKLAND, Calif. (KGO) — Ashton Porter’s attorney filed a lawsuit this week claiming members of the Pittsburg Police Department violated his civil rights.

That lawsuit stems from an incident in February 2022 when Porter locked himself in a Hampton Inn hotel room while experiencing a mental health crisis. Porter refused to leave the room and officers used gas and pepper spray to get him out. When he left the room, officers shot him.

“They are abandoning the trust that the community has placed in them,” said Adante Pointer, Ashton’s attorney. “Instead, they deployed escalation and lethal force and essentially terrorized a man and his family.”

RESOURCES: Get help for mental health issues

Porter’s family had just moved to Georgia, but they were having trouble with the move.

“I’ve been going through a really tough time,” Porter said. “Dealing with some things in Georgia that influenced me tremendously”

His lawyer shared police body camera footage of that incident.

It first showed a county crisis response worker trying to help Porter. Porter still didn’t come out. The police intervened to persuade him to surrender. They used a battering ram to break down the door. He still didn’t leave and then the police started using gas and spray.

“I called for help,” Porter said. “I explained to them that I didn’t really understand what was going on at the time, and that I just wanted time to get some sleep and try to clear my head in any way I could.”

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A Bay Area couple has filed a lawsuit against authorities in Marin County, claiming an officer attacked a man who was having a seizure.

The Contra Costa District Attorney’s Office charged Porter with several counts of assault on a police officer and one count of trespassing and refusing to leave. The district attorney’s office says the court referred him for mental health treatment.

“I went to therapy,” Porter said. “This has been tough for me and my family.”

We have contacted the Pittsburg Police Department and are waiting to hear back.

Porter’s family thought they were going to lose him.

“I felt like it was our fault for calling the police and we shouldn’t have done that,” said Natalia Metts, Porter’s daughter. “Who should we call if the police don’t do the right thing?”

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