Former Oakland cop going to trial to fight 116 civil suits filed against him

The Associated Press
Friday June 28, 2002

SAN FRANCISCO — A trial date has been set in federal court for the 116 civil suits filed against four former Oakland police officers known as “The Riders.” 

U.S. District Judge Thelton Henderson on Wednesday selected Jan. 14 as the date where a representative sample of five to 20 cases will be presented, said attorney Jim Chanin, who’s representing many of the plaintiffs 

He said he had hoped to avoid court by reaching a settlement, but he is not optimistic that will happen. A final effort between both sides will be attempted Monday. 

“There’s a stated desire to settle, but when it actually comes down to the nitty gritty of negotiations, it doesn’t look like it,” Chanin said. 

Jury selection for the criminal trial already is underway in Alameda County Superior Court. 

Clarence “Chuck” Mabanag, Jude Siapno and Matthew Hornung allegedly beat suspects, filed false police reports and obstructed justice. All were fired after a rookie, Mabanag’s trainee, turned them in. A fourth officer and the alleged ringleader of the group, Frank Vazquez, is believed to have fled to Mexico.