The Bane Act is an important California civil rights statute, but its scope has been in question for a while, ever since the same appellate court decided it was inapplicable in cases of negligent overdetention in county jail. But Bender v. County of Los Angeles clarified that the Bane Act civil rights statute does apply where a police officer arrests someone without probable cause and then on top of that engages in police brutality and beats the person up.
The Bane Act case arose out of a wrongful arrest in the Antelope Valley where a sheriff's deputy arrested a college student/apartment complex manager without reason, used racial epithets, kicked him in the arms and ribs, pepper sprayed him in the face when he was handcuffed, and crushed his eyeglasses. The police brutality victim in the case, Mr. Bender, was beaten bloody, rendered unconscious, denied immediate medical care, and forced to suffer humiliations and indignities in jail.
It’s difficult to fully comprehend the defendants’ argument, but apparently they tried to claim that no Fourth Amendment violation was covered by the Bane Act civil rights statute unless another constitutional right was violated as well.
The court didn't buy it. "Here," the court wrote, "there clearly was a showing of coercion separate and apart from the coercion inherent in an unlawful arrest. Deputy Sorrow wrongfully detained and arrested plaintiff, because he had no probable cause to believe plaintiff had committed any crime. But, in addition, Deputy Sorrow deliberately and unnecessarily beat and pepper-sprayed the unresisting, already handcuffed plaintiff. That conduct was not the coercion that is inherent in a wrongful arrest."