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Alleged gang members sue Ogden city

OGDEN Utah (ABC 4 Utah) - Alleged gang members in Ogden are fighting back, in a court of law. Their attorney is suing Ogden City, police and Weber County for mislabeling them and violating their civil rights.
OGDEN Utah (ABC 4 Utah) - Alleged gang members in Ogden are fighting back, in a court of law.
Their attorney is suing Ogden City, police and Weber County for mislabeling them and violating their civil rights.

One of those named as plaintiff is Troy Rivera. He can now walk freely again in Ogden.
But that wasn't the case the past two years.
Ogden police labeled him a member of the Trece gang. The gang was the target of a controversial city law that placed restrictions on members.

“I am not a gang member at all,” says Rivera. “I think it’s ridiculous they can accuse me of that based on allegations of who I hang out with."

He says Ogden police showed him a picture of himself with members of Trece gang and issued him a legal notice that he couldn't be out past eleven p.m. or hang with Trece gang members.

"They served me with a picture and they said I was in a picture with a couple of gang members and it wasn't even me in the picture," Rivas says "The picture was blurred."

Rivera was jailed for staying out past curfew and then he says his friend James Rivas was caught with him. He says Rivas was labeled a member of Trece gang. Later he says both were jailed for violating curfew.

"It"s a tool to trample people's rights," says attorney Mike Studebaker. "It's a tool for police not to do what they should be doing which is be on the streets."

Studebaker has filed a civil rights lawsuit in federal court against Ogden City, police and the Weber County attorney.

"It's about due process," says Studebaker. "It's about the failure of Weber County and its agents to give people who are accused of being gang members the right to defend themselves that they're not."

Rivera says he never got a chance to dispute the Trece gang label. That's why he's ready to fire back at police in a court of law.

"They've harassed me," he says. "They've come to my home, they've embarrassed me in front of family members. They embarrassed me in front of my kids."

The civil lawsuit was filed in federal court and seeks unspecified damages. Studebaker says he wants it to become a class action lawsuit because there could be more than 400 people affected

A spokesman for the Ogden police department had no comment. And the Weber County attorney did not return calls to ABC4.

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