Arevalo, who was 23 years old at the time of the arrest, is one of two residents who have recently filed complaints against the department, alleging excessive force. In November, the City Council approved a $572,500 settlement over the February 2018 arrest of Gustavo Alvarez at Buena Vista Mobile Home Park. The Santa Clara County District Attorney's Office is now considering filing charges against one of the arresting officers, retired Sgt. Wayne Benitez, who was seen in that video slamming an already handcuffed Alvarez into the hood of a car.
On Wednesday, Arevalo's attorney Cody Salfen, who had also represented Alvarez, filed a lawsuit in the U.S. District Court, Northern District of California, alleging that the police department unfairly targeted Arevalo, violated his civil rights, and attempted to concoct a criminal case against him by falsifying the police report from the incident. It also claims that the Happy Donuts arrest is emblematic of the department's pattern of "violence, dishonesty and savagery."
"People's lives are not only at risk, people are being severely and critically injured for no reason, all under the false guise of public safety," the suit states.
While the Happy Donuts surveillance video was previously released, the footage from the officer's body camera is being made public for the first time. Unlike the surveillance video, it includes audio from the incident, which took place at about 2:24 a.m. It shows Arevalo walking slowly with a bicycle outside the shop when police Agent Thomas DeStefano approaches him from behind. Arevalo asks DeStefano to "back up please," upon which time DeStefano asks him if he is on probation.
"Am I being detained?" Arevalo asks.
"Yeah you are," DeStefano responds.
Arevalo backs up, leans his bicycle against a railing and turns his back to the officer, at which time DeStefano signals over the radio that the probationer is walking away from him. DeStefano then puts one arm on Arevalo's shoulder and another on his arm.
"What am I doing?" Arevalo asks.
"You're on probation. You're being detained," DeStefano responds.
Arevalo continues to walk away from DeStefano, entering an area near the doughnut shop entrance that is enclosed by a railing. Arevalo walks to the railing and DeStefano gets near him and tries to pin his arm behind his back to detain him. Arevalo then starts yelling, "Let go of me! Let go of me.
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