20170125-bc-bpdlawsuit3

The law firm of Chain, Cohn, Stiles is representing Timothy Grismore, left, and Xavier Hines in a claim filed against the City of Bakersfield for injuries and damages they say they suffered when Bakersfield police officers stopped them on Dec. 5, 2016.

Henry A. Barrios/The Californian

The FBI is investigating a case involving two black college students who claimed last year that they were stopped by Bakersfield Police Department officers, roughed up and falsely arrested, BPD Sgt. Ryan Kroeker said.

The two Bakersfield College students, Timothy Grismore, 21, and Xavier Hines, 19, say they were walking on Valhalla Drive behind West High School at about 10:40 p.m. Dec. 5 when two officers in an unmarked patrol car stopped them.

By the end of the interaction, Grismore needed stitches and both were arrested on suspicion of walking in a roadway and resisting arrest, according to a video released on Facebook by the NAACP Bakersfield Chapter.

The FBI investigation was launched in January, said NAACP Bakersfield President Patrick Jackson.

“It’s just a major push of trying to get more people involved in the actions of what’s going on in these types of investigations,” Jackson said. “We definitely are appreciative of the FBI investigating.”

Grismore and Hines' attorney, Neil Gehlawat, said he doesn't think it's at all common for the FBI to conduct investigations like this. Both of his clients have been interviewed by agents, he said. The purpose of the investigation remains unclear. 

"I imagine they would be looking to see if there was any criminal conduct on the part of any of the parties. We're obviously hopeful they'll find some wrongdoing on the part of the officers because we think that all the evidence from that night suggests these officers had no reason to ever apprehend Xavier or Timothy, let alone physically assault them," Gehlawat said. 

BPD launched an administrative investigation into the allegations Jan. 4. About five days later, Kern County District Attorney Lisa Green announced she wouldn’t be pressing charges, saying the officers involved had no right to stop the two men, conduct a search or detain them. Grismore and Hines had broken no laws, she determined.

The administrative investigation, Kroeker said, is ongoing.

​Harold Pierce covers education and health for The Californian. He can be reached at 661-395-7404. Follow him on Twitter @RoldyPierce

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