The San Francisco 49ers' Chris Culliver has been sued by an SUV driver accusing the cornerback of threatening a 15-year-old with brass knuckles and using a racial slur, in the midst of trying to flee the scene of a crash.
Culliver, 25, has already been arrested and pleaded not guilty to hit-and-run and weapons charges in connection with that March 28 collision in San Jose, in which police say he hit a cyclist and then, in trying to flee, the SUV as well.
The SUV driver Marc Santos' family's suit accuses Culliver of assault, battery, intentionally inflicting emotional distress and negligently using his car and brass knuckles. It demands damages and punitive damages.
Attempts to locate a lawyer for Culliver were not immediately successful. A lawyer for Marc Santos and his family, Braid Pezzaglia, told NBC Bay Area he is not yet aware of a defense lawyer in the suit he filed for the Santos family.
A 49ers spokesman declined to comment on the litigation to NBC Bay Area on Friday. Culliver's public relations company, Creative Edge, emailed NBC Bay Area on Friday that "we are not at liberty to have any comment at this time."
The Santos family filed its lawsuit April 15 in Santa Clara County Superior Court.
According to the suit, Culliver was near the Santa Clara County fairgrounds on March 28 when he got into his white Ford Mustang and started doing doughnuts and racing around.
Soon after, he hit a bicyclist near Tully Road and South 7th Street, according to police and to the suit. The cyclist suffered minor injuries.
Culliver tried to flee, the suit claims — striking the Santos family's SUV in the process, their suit says. Santos and his wife Angelica Cortez were in the car with their three children, a 15-year-old, a 4-year-old and a 2-month-old.
Santos called 911 and then followed Culliver to Mekler Drive and Senter Road, where he blocked Culliver's car in a cul-de-sac until police arrived, according to the suit.
According to the suit, that prompted Culliver to lunge in his Mustang toward Santos' family, "holding his hand inside a bag" and pointing it at them "in a manner that suggested he was holding a gun" while shouting "profane and hostile epithets," including a racial slur.
Culliver also took out brass knuckles, the suit claims, and said he would hurt the Santos family if they didn't get out of his way. Police have also said Culliver threatened the witnesses with brass knuckles.
The Santos family, its suit says, fell victim to "violent, reckless, oppressive, malicious, depraved, despicable and morally reprehensible crimes" by Culliver, who by "way of self-centered arrogance, fueled the conscious disregard of the rights or safety of others."
The lawsuit takes personal aim at Culliver's behavior and moralizes about societal values, decrying the "hostile" environment of football where "injury-producing behavior is condoned."
"We live in a civilized society... governed by rules" that demand the "respect for the inherent dignity of mankind," the suit says. "Thus, we do not strike a man down and leave him for dead. Nor do we brandish brass knuckles upon 15-year-old children."