John Burris

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John Leonard Burris (born May 8, 1945)[1][2] is an American civil rights attorney, based in Oakland, California, known for his work in police brutality cases representing plaintiffs. The John Burris law firm practices employment, criminal defense, DUI, personal injury, and landlord tenant law.

John Burris practice grew notably when he represented Rodney King in his civil rights lawsuit against the Los Angeles Police Department and won $3.8 million dollars against the LAPD. [3]. Since then, Burris has represented plaintiffs in a number of high-profile lawsuits against police departments across the state of California including the "Oakland Riders" case which settled for $10.9 million where a gang of Oakland officers were found to be planting evidence on citizens, which caused the federal government to investigate and oversee the Oakland Police Department to this day.[4]

Recently, John Burris represented Celeste Guap in her cases against Northern California Police Departments for a number of officers exploiting and having sex with her while she was underage.[5] Mr. Burris won a $989,000 settlement for Ms. Guap against the Oakland Police Department whose officers also face criminal charges for their sexual misconduct with a minor.[6]

Mr. Burris won a $11.3 million dollar judgment at trial against the San Jose Police Department, after an officer shot Hung Lam in the back causing him to become paralyzed.[7]

John Burris also represented Oscar Grant's mother in her lawsuit against Bart Police which settled for $1.3 million, where Bay Area Rapid Transit Officer Mehserle infamously shot 22-year-old in the back while he was handcuffed on the Fruitvale BART train platform in Oakland, California on New Year's Day in 2009.[8] The facts of the case were later depicted in the movie "Fruitvale Station" starring Michael B. Jordan, which won multiple film awards.[9]

Mr. Burris also represents Mario Woods' mother in her case against the San Francisco Police Department where a group of officers were captured on video shooting her son, Mario Woods, on December 2, 2015 that caused large protests throughout the Bay Area and ultimately resulted in the resignation of the SFPD Chief of Police Greg Suhr.[10]

Burris also has represented notable clients such as Tupac Shakur,[11] Latrell Sprewell, [12] Gary Payton [13] Keyshawn Johnson[14] and Barry Bonds. [14]

Early life and education[edit]

Burris was born in May 1945 in Vallejo, California. He graduated from Vallejo High School in 1963.[15][16] He attended Solano Community College in the mid-1960s and later earned a bachelor's degree in accounting from Golden Gate University.[15] Burris graduated from UC Berkeley School of Law in 1973 with a Juris Doctor degree, worked for the Chicago law firm Jenner & Block immediately after law school, and became a member of the California Bar in 1976.[1][17]

Career[edit]

Burris's work in police brutality cases began in 1979 when he was an investigator in the district attorney's office working on the case of the killing of 14-year-old Melvin Black.[18] Burris's 1999 book, Blue vs. Black, is about the problem of police brutality against African-Americans.

Burris "has earned millions of dollars" in filing hundreds of police brutality and high-profile lawsuits, including a $3.8 million verdict for Rodney King and a $42,000 settlement in a suit brought on behalf of Tupac Shakur.[4]

Rodney King Civil Trial[edit]

John Burris practice grew notably when he represented Rodney King in his civil rights lawsuit against the Los Angeles Police Department and won $3.8 million dollars against the LAPD

Oakland Riders Case[edit]

Burris has represented plaintiffs in a number of high-profile lawsuits against police departments across the state of California including the "Oakland Riders" case which settled for $10.9 million where a gang of Oakland officers were found to be planting evidence on citizens, which caused the federal government to investigate and oversee the Oakland Police Department to this day.[4]

Oscar Grant Case[edit]

John Burris also represented Oscar Grant's mother in her lawsuit against Bart Police which settled for $1.3 million, where Bay Area Rapid Transit Officer Mehserle infamously shot 22-year-old in the back while he was handcuffed on the Fruitvale BART train platform in Oakland, California on New Year's Day in 2009.[8] The facts of the case were later depicted in the movie "Fruitvale Station" starring Michael B. Jordan, which won multiple film awards.[9]

Barry Bonds[edit]

John Burris represented Barry Bonds. [14]

Mario Woods[edit]

Mr. Burris also represents Mario Woods' mother in her case against the San Francisco Police Department where a group of officers were captured on video shooting her son, Mario Woods, on December 2, 2015 that caused large protests throughout the Bay Area and ultimately resulted in the resignation of the SFPD Chief of Police Greg Suhr.[10]

Celeste Guap[edit]

Recently, John Burris represented Celeste Guap in her cases against Northern California Police Departments for a number of officers exploiting and having sex with her while she was underage.[5] Mr. Burris won a $989,000 settlement for Ms. Guap against the Oakland Police Department whose officers also face criminal charges for their sexual misconduct with a minor.[6]

In re Brandon T.[edit]

In 1996, Burris defended pro bono Brandon T., a six-year-old Richmond, California boy accused of and prosecuted for attempted murder of an infant, in a crime that made national news.[19][20]

Personal life[edit]

Burris has been married three times and lives in Oakland Hills, Oakland, California. As of 2008, Burris has fathered five children.[16][21] He is married to Cheryl Amana-Burris, his third wife, a law professor at North Carolina Central University.[18][21]

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b http://pview.findlaw.com/view/2867972_1?channel=LP
  2. ^ Family Tree Legends John L. Burris
  3. ^ http://www.abajournal.com/news/article/civil_right_lawyer_reflects_on_former_client_rodney_king_who_died_sunday_at
  4. ^ a b c Elias, Paul (2009-01-27). "Civil Rights Lawyer Takes on Grant Shooting". Associated Press. Retrieved 2009-02-04. 
  5. ^ a b "Oakland Agrees To $989,000 Settlement In Police Sex Scandal Case". 2017-05-31. Retrieved 2018-03-23. 
  6. ^ a b "Oakland Agrees To $989,000 Settlement In Police Sex Scandal Case". 2017-05-31. Retrieved 2018-03-23. 
  7. ^ "Jury awards $11.3 million to San Jose man shot in the back by officer". The Mercury News. 2015-12-21. Retrieved 2018-03-23. 
  8. ^ a b "BART strikes $1.3 million settlement with Oscar Grant's mother". Oakland North. Retrieved 2018-03-23. 
  9. ^ a b Scott, A. O. (2013-07-11). "'Fruitvale Station' Is Based on the Story of Oscar Grant III". The New York Times. ISSN 0362-4331. Retrieved 2018-03-23. 
  10. ^ a b "SF Police Chief Greg Suhr Resigns Amid Racial Tensions". NBC Bay Area. Retrieved 2018-03-23. 
  11. ^ http://sfist.com/2016/05/25/john_burris_profile_mario_woods.php
  12. ^ https://www.sfgate.com/bayarea/article/Sprewell-Pleads-Not-Guilty-in-Accident-3009771.php
  13. ^ https://mynewsla.com/crime/2017/07/18/money-grab-rejected-as-jury-clears-ex-laker-star-in-alleged-assault/
  14. ^ a b c https://www.eastbaytimes.com/2008/02/24/famous-lawyer-after-a-better-world/
  15. ^ a b http://www.timesheraldonline.com/ci_17033757
  16. ^ a b http://www.insidebayarea.com/ci_8366079?source=rss
  17. ^ http://members.calbar.ca.gov/search/member_detail.aspx?x=69888
  18. ^ a b Sam Whiting (2005-06-05). "Oakland's Johnnie Cochran". San Francisco Chronicle. Retrieved 2009-01-10. 
  19. ^ Knapp, Don (1998-08-28). "Very young killers create quandary for legal system". CNN.com. CNN. Retrieved 2009-02-08. 
  20. ^ "The Littlest Criminal". Frontline. 1997-05-13. Retrieved 2009-02-08. 
  21. ^ a b "Archived copy". Archived from the original on 2014-01-08. Retrieved 2014-01-08. 

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