Lubber Net

Bank Of America

"I saw him talking on the phone and staring at me," Shinnick said. "A few minutes later, four SFPD officers came into the bank. They didn't say a thing. They just kicked my legs apart and handcuffed me behind my back."

The police report for Shinnick's arrest says he was taken into custody "for the safety of the bank employees as well as the bank customers."

Shinnick said he was never read his rights. He said he was instructed by one of the cops to keep his mouth shut and not say anything. Shinnick said he remained handcuffed in the bank lobby for about 45 minutes while the police spoke with BofA workers.

"As people were coming in to do their banking, I was in plain view of everyone," he recalled. "I was absolutely mortified."

Shinnick was taken to Central Station on Vallejo Street, according to the police report. He said he was taken by van about an hour and a half later to the Hall of Justice on Bryant Street.

At the Hall of Justice, Shinnick said, he was finally allowed to call his parents after almost five hours in custody. He said he was photographed and fingerprinted, and then strip-searched and given an orange jumpsuit to wear.

"I was so humiliated, it was beyond belief," he recalled. "It was an absolute, living nightmare. I felt like I was going to be one of those people who gets caught in the system and has no way of getting out."

Shinnick said he was placed in a cell with about a dozen other inmates, mostly drug dealers and drug users.

"It was a small cell," he said. "One guy was unconscious underneath the one toilet that was there for all of us to use. There was only one bed to sit on. I sat on the ground."

Shinnick was finally released around 11:30 p.m., after his father paid $4,500 of $45,000 in bail. Within 24 hours, the district attorney's office dropped all charges against Shinnick.

In July, a San Francisco Superior Court judge ruled that Shinnick was innocent by "findings of fact" -- a decision that essentially erases all record of the case.

But by this time, Shinnick said, he'd spent about $14,000 clearing his name. He wanted that money back and he felt BofA should pay it.

BofA felt otherwise. Earlier this month, a bank vice president, William Minnes, wrote to Shinnick's lawyer to say that "Bank of America can certainly understand that your client is angry at the bank."

However, he said, BofA has no legal liability in the case because of the 2004 Supreme Court ruling. Minnes warned that "litigation would not prove financially beneficial" to Shinnick.

Minnes declined to comment when reached by phone this week.

Page last modified on November 20, 2006, at 11:44 PM
Last edited by belva.
Originally by belva.