South City faces accusations of wrongful eviction and abuse of police power in a lawsuit filed Friday from former tenants of 415 Grand Ave.
Former residents Jackiejo Lopez and Edward Miller were evicted from a loft within the building at 415 Grand Ave. on March 5. South San Francisco Police officers took part in the eviction process, according to the lawsuit.
The law wasn't followed and put both Miller and Lopez into a homeless situation, Miller said, adding that this effort was in hopes of keeping a similar situation from happening to residents or small businesses.
South San Francisco is not the property owner, making the issue between the tenant and owner, said City Attorney Steve Mattas.
Miller, on the other hand, argued the police are part of the city and therefore an extension of it. There is a process for evictions, which can include the sheriff, but not local police, he argued.
Miller and Lopez are suing the city and the police department along with a few specific officers. The $10 million complaint for damages alleges wrongful deprivation of property, abuse of police power, impairment of contract, police eviction and wrongful eviction.
Miller said the lawsuit is an example of a larger string of harassment from the city related to the property. Specifically, he pointed to a 2011 lawsuit against the South San Francisco Redevelopment Agency which is still making its way through the courts. In it, Dalal Metwally Living Trust, Omar Bahnasy and Bassamat Bahnasy alleges the city's RDA harassed the property owners and businesses at 415-417 Grand Ave. through multiple code enforcement citations and not issuing business licenses while planning to purchase the property.
At the time, Mattas said the code enforcement issues were legitimate. The city was in talks to buy the property which have since ended voluntarily by both sides.
Heather Murtagh can be reached by email: firstname.lastname@example.org or by phone: (650) 344-5200 ext. 105.