A San Joaquin County Superior Court Judge ruled that there was no probable cause for police Officer Robert Johnson to arrest a then-16-year-old Joseph Lee Green on suspicion of trespassing and resisting nine years ago as he left a convenience store.
The incident occurred when then 16-year-old Green stopped at a gas station convenience store on Feb. 17, 2011, to buy candy for his 5-year-old sister while his mother filled the car up with gas. Green tried to pay for the candy with a damaged bill, which the clerk wouldn’t take. Plainclothes Stockton police Officer Robert Johnson, who was grabbing water with his partner Officer Robert Wong, was waiting in line behind Green.
The store’s surveillance cameras captured a violent altercation between Green and Johnson that played out over the next ten minutes, video that was played over and over again in court last week. The video appears to contradict information in Johnson’s police report on the incident and parts of his sworn testimony in the civil case.
Green’s suit charged the city of Stockton, the Police Department, Johnson and Officer Bobby Wong as defendants charged with illegal arrest, assault and battery, negligence and violation of civil rights because Green is black.
The 16-part verdict went against Johnson on every count on which he was named.
In several unanimous votes, the jury decided that Green was entitled to past damages of $255,000 and future damages of $155,000, or total damages of $430,000. In addition, for the Bane Act violation Johnson was penalized an additional $280,000. Awarding Green a total of $710,000.