John L. Burris

Oakland, CA

John L. Burris is a San Francisco Bay Area civil rights attorney specializing in police misconduct, employment related discrimination and criminal cases. Burris began his legal career as a general litigator at Jenner and Block in Chicago and later became a prosecutor at the Cook County State's Attorney Office. Burris represented 119 plaintiffs against the City of Oakland in a case known as the “Riders.” The “Riders” were four rogue Oakland Police Department (OPD) officers who engaged in a wide range of police misconduct. The "Riders" case settled for $10.9 million. The case resulted in an important Consent Decree that places the OPD under a court monitor for five years. Burris' notable clients have included Rodney King, Tupac Shakur, D’Wayne Wiggins, NBA Basketball stars Gary Payton and Jason Kidd, actor Delroy Lindo and many public officials and employees. He has also litigated numerous police cases that have influenced policy regarding the use of canines, deadly force, treatment of the mentally impaired, hog-tying, pepper spray, etc. Additionally, Burris is the author of BLUE VS. BLACK, Let’s End the Conflict Between Cops and Minorities. Born and raised in Vallejo, California, Burris obtained a Bachelor of Science in Accounting from Golden Gate University, a Masters in Business Administration from U.C. Berkeley Graduate School of Business and a law degree from Berkeley’s Boalt Hall in 1973. He is married to North Carolina Central Law Professor, Cheryl Burris; between them they have nine children. To learn more, see