Breaking News: Santa Clara Pays $6.7 million to Woman Injured During Police Arrest

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.



  1. Who pays the $6.7 Million? The insurance company or the City?
    Over the next 10-20 years will the insurance skyrocket if it’s paid by the insurance company?
    (ie, the insurance company will recoup all of their payout and more from the City?

    Can you tell us who voted for and who voted against?

    The $6.7 Million seems way out of whack! I understand $67,000. I doubt I’d understand $670k.
    But it’s beyond insame to pay out $6.7 Million for a broken ankle. Don’t cities pay this or less
    if they get killed? I do not understand this at all.

    Are we missing important details? I can’t imagine what would make this settlement likely
    with a judge and jury.

  2. $6.7M for a broken ankle - what will Santa Clara have to pay for the 24yo Jesus Montes that they shot to death?!? says:

    $6.7 Million for a broken ankle?

    What will Santa Clara have to pay for the SCPD officer that shot and killed Jesus Montes in March
    (instead of deescalating the situation).

    Was this not only excessive force but outright stupidity from the SCPD officer?
    Was he indeed on the other side of a wall from the victim, who had a knife?

    Weren’t there other solutions that could have been employed before using deadly force?

    What training do police officers receive on dealing with people suffering from depression, mental illness, etc.

    What did the body cam show?

    Here is Jesus Montes in the news:

    First article:

    Article about the lawsuit:

  3. This is a HUGE black mark against the Santa Clara police department. It used to be one of the best in the area. But since Mike Sellers took over, morale, training, and leadership has gone into the toilet.

  4. Wrong again Mr. Haugh! The 5-2 vote was reported at the end of the last council meeting by Mr. Doyle. Still also waiting for the Breaking News about the fines from the FPPC on Watanabe. But I guess you would only report that if Kolstad, Mahan or Caserta were fined. Typical of you Mr. Haugh, misrepresenting facts and cherry picking news that fits your toxic and divisive narrative.

    Truly you are the epitome of FAKE NEWS. Let’s see if you allow this through moderation!

  5. Report the facts. The vote was 5-2 NOT unanimous decision to pay $6.7 million dollars by our Council!

    • This was voted on in closed session and that vote has yet to be made public. I didn’t report that the council closed session vote was unanimous … please tell me where I said that …

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