Breaking News: Santa Clara Pays $6.7 million to Woman Injured During Police Arrest
By Robert Haugh
Santa Clara police officers arrested a teenager last April, but in the process allegedly injured her mother when they broke down the door of her Rose Garden home. The $6.7 million settlement for their actions is believed to be the largest settlement in the Santa Clara police department’s history.
“Although there was significant disagreement about the extent of the injury, there was no dispute that the plaintiff sustained a broken ankle in the course of the entry to the plaintiff’s home without a warrant,’’ Interim City Attorney Brian Doyle said in the City’s press release. “The city’s insurer determined that the most prudent course of action was for it to pay an amount that would result in settlement.”
Police Chief Mike Sellers who has presided over a department that has had major problems over the last few years suggests that he does not agree with this decision. “If this case were brought to court, we would have provided evidence and testimony demonstrating that our officers’ actions were fully within the law and in accordance with accepted police practices,” said Sellers in the City’s statement. “It’s disappointing to not have that opportunity. I fully support the police officers who acted in good faith to arrest this arsonist wanted on felony charges.”
The injured woman, Danielle Burfine (named Danielle Harmon last year), would not open the door for officers. Her attorney claimed that they did not have a warrant to enter the home when they arrested her 15-year-old daughter for arson fire at Santa Clara High School’s snack shack in April, 2016, that forced the evacuation of more than 1,800 students and faculty and caused $350,000 damage.
You can watch the officer’s body cam video of the arrest and injury. It was released by Burfine’s attorney, Michael Haddad and posted on YouTube.
BREAKING: The City Council will meet to discuss this case again in an executive session today (Thursday, September 28) at 3:30 p.m. It was quickly scheduled yesterday and no notice was sent on e-Notify, the system that City Clerk Rod Diridon, Jr. uses to notify the public about council meetings. Councilwoman Teresa O’Neill and Councilman Pat Kolstad will have to call in from the Northern California Power Agency Conference meeting in Napa.