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Federal lawsuit alleges Palo Alto police engaged in pattern of abuse

Original post made on Jun 29, 2020

An attorney for the man who suffered a facial injury during an arrest in front of Happy Donuts is alleging in a federal lawsuit that the violent incident is part of a broader pattern of discrimination and deception by Palo Alto police.

Read the full story here Web Link posted Monday, June 29, 2020, 4:48 PM

Comments (18)

7 people like this
Posted by Accountability
a resident of Downtown North
on Jun 29, 2020 at 5:29 pm

See also Federal lawsuit vs Los Altos alleging RICO, Conspiracy, Obstruction of Justice. Defendants include City Manager Chris Jordan, (now former) City Attorney Chris Diaz and his partners and the law firm, named City employees, and a homeowner. All this in addition to a lawsuit also in Federal Court vs City of Los Altos, City employees, etc.

The PD, from Chief Andy Galea and down to individual officers, were hand in glove in the Conspiracy and other violations, and worked as partners with the other defendants. The lawsuits (and the associated filings in the Court) cite evidence showing this was a systemic, persistent pattern in Los Altos targeting minorities.


10 people like this
Posted by Accountability
a resident of Downtown North
on Jun 29, 2020 at 5:41 pm

" supervisors review — and generally excuse — misconduct by their colleagues..."
"information Agent DeStefano put in the police report was fabricated (i.e. ...lied in his police report)"
"department's "flawed and conflicted system of investigating allegations of misconduct"
"pattern and practice within this rogue police agency and municipality..."

The Federal lawsuits vs Los Altos and the evidence confirm these allegations extend beyond Palo Alto and are equally applicable and relevant for Los Altos (municipality and the PD). Fabricated police reports, withholding of key evidence from the DA's Office to whitewash those the PD (and City) favor, harassment and intimidation of those the PD (and City) target, and so on.


The prob


18 people like this
Posted by Brian
a resident of Professorville
on Jun 30, 2020 at 12:36 am

All you need to know is that it has been a year since two PAPD officers denied medical treatment to a woman suffering from a brain tumor and the one officer's, Adrienne Moore's, video and GPS data are missing and the PAPD has still not provided an answer to the City Council who requested one as to why it is missing.
Web Link
Web Link


37 people like this
Posted by Nayeli
a resident of Midtown
on Jun 30, 2020 at 8:00 am

There is no systemic racism in the PAPD. The problem is that some people resist arrest. You do not have any "right" to struggle with a police officer while he is arresting you. That is what happened with Julio Arevalo.

Obviously, the police should not use unnecessary violence against suspects. However, the individuals who are being arrested need to learn this very important concept. If you struggle with police, resist arrest or attempt to flee, police might use physical force.


12 people like this
Posted by Accountability
a resident of Downtown North
on Jun 30, 2020 at 8:29 am

There's a very simple response and mechanism to expose apologists (like Nayeli above) for the misconduct of public servants.

Today when public servants are held accountable in a Court of Law the costs of penalties and such are paid by the public. The abusers just move on to another City/PD...and the cycle continues.

A welcome change would be to hold those individuals (AND their apologists, including Nayeli) accountable for those costs. Down to the last penny. Including prison time where appropriate.

Nayeli lectures us about "rights" and how to conduct ourselves regardless of what a PD officer does or says. Disregarding the asymmetry and obvious bias how about we ask for something simple? Eliminate the qualified immunity, eliminate the protections given PD officers that are paid for by the public coffers, ignore the blue uniform and badge, and let's hold them as accountable as another person on the street for their conduct while wearing that uniform and badge. Apologists should put their money where their mouths (or fingers) are.


10 people like this
Posted by Bill Palmer
a resident of Charleston Meadows
on Jun 30, 2020 at 9:02 am

OK, don't resist arrest, got it. What is your excuse for the lie about "observing a drug deal" from the corrupt cop?


36 people like this
Posted by Nayeli
a resident of Midtown
on Jun 30, 2020 at 9:17 am

@ Accountability: Whoa. You need to be careful and give a bit of pause before you begin using false accusations. I am not an "apologist for the misconduct of public servants." I am saying that there is no evidence of "systemic racism" in the PAPD.

Unfortunately, those who utter such claims do so by pretending that anyone who disagrees with them is okay with racism or somehow "make excuses" for "misconduct." I don't know of ANYONE (including police officers) who do not want public servants (including law enforcement) to not be "held accountable" for what they do. So, this is a straw man fallacy.

While there are examples of bad conduct in law enforcement, the math does not "add up" to the wide net of stereotypes and generalizations used to demonize law enforcement. The statistics show that most police officers are very good at their jobs -- despite the difficulty that the criminal element brings.

The sad part of "police accountability" is that many of the people pointing fingers at law enforcement rarely point the finger at the bad behavior of the criminals who instigate the conflict in the first place.

I was pointing out that a person does not have a "right" to struggle with a police officer. Period. When you struggle, that officer will detain you much more aggressively. If necessary, the officer will use force.

Most of the accusations of "police brutality" occur when officers attempt to arrest or detain a person due to suspicion of criminal activity and that person resists arrests, struggles with the officer or attempts to "forcefully flee" the scene.

Please do not accuse me of "lecturing" you if you're going to "lecture" me with a sermon about "reforming" law enforcement via unreasonable demands. That list of demands would effectively cripple the ability of law enforcement to apprehend the underlying criminal element that is always ready to break the law in Palo Alto.

There is no "systemic racism" in the PAPD. There is no proof of it. In fact, I would argue that Palo Alto has amazing police officers.

We should not allow law enforcement to be stereotyped or generalized due to the perceived bad conduct of one or two officers any more than we should allow various racial-ethnic groups to be stereotyped or generalized due to the perceived bad conduct of a minority of those communities.


7 people like this
Posted by Online Name
a resident of Embarcadero Oaks/Leland
on Jun 30, 2020 at 10:41 am

Have our city manager and city attorney finally confirmed there's an FBI investigation or are they going to continue with their "no comment, no problem" stance which insults our intelligence?


12 people like this
Posted by Accountability
a resident of Downtown North
on Jun 30, 2020 at 11:00 am

[Post removed.]
I'll agree a PAPD officer is "amazing" when (s)he blows the whistle, steps forward, and exposes the practices of fabricated PD reports, false allegations, misconduct and abuses as MUST exist within PAPD. Until then there is no such "amazing" PAPD officer--however "amazing" they might be in some ways they via their silence are complicit. [As an aside: we all should look forward to the day when such whistle-blowing doesn't qualify as "amazing."]

An argument "abuses of the office/badge do not exist in PAPD", are "not systemic", etc is not worthy of discussion. Naveli demands "proof" of such systemic violations but says nothing about PAPD preventing access to records, their withholding of such records from public review, etc. Nor does (s)he accept the evidence of systemic pattern noted in the Federal Complaint.

All of this also applies to the PD of other cities, notably Los Altos (which is also being held accountable in Federal Court).


9 people like this
Posted by Lack of Accurate Police Reports & Reporting
a resident of Community Center
on Jun 30, 2020 at 11:06 am

The video footage makes it clear that DeStefanos lied on the police report about witnessing a drug transaction. During his body cam footage he did say he was detaining Arevalo because he was on probation so not sure how the FBI can say he didn't recognize him?

For the Clausen case last summer where the PAPD made it clear they will actually do more harm than help when responding to either medical or mental illness cases, they never claim police car video footage and body cam footage did not exist. Really? Is the department erasing, destroying or hiding unfavorable footage? They also never explained why the officer took 5 minutes for a "personal" stop that resulted in her taking 14 minutes to arrive at the call. Talk about lack of transparency.

Web Link


2 people like this
Posted by Fire Him Already
a resident of Greenmeadow
on Jun 30, 2020 at 11:09 am

Thank you to “Accountability” for their words, they are much better with them than I. I’d like to say that there is systemic racism in every facet of American society, including every single police force in the country. Resisting arrest does not warrant a beating. And DeStefano’s behavior is not limited to the Arevalo case. The bare minimum is firing him and other cops like him and not protecting people abusing their power. There’s multiple incidents of the PAPD covering up bad incidents and it’s time for that to start immediately.


15 people like this
Posted by Nayeli
a resident of Midtown
on Jun 30, 2020 at 11:10 am

[Post removed.]


21 people like this
Posted by Family Friendly
a resident of Old Palo Alto
on Jun 30, 2020 at 12:00 pm

Don't break the law, and you won't be arrested. Don't resist arrest, and the police won't have to use force to subdue you.

It's just astonishing how difficult this seems to be for some people to understand.

Better yet, if you are going to break the law and resist arrest, get the h#$! out of Palo Alto. I will always support my police department in their efforts to protect our community.


8 people like this
Posted by Accountability
a resident of Downtown North
on Jun 30, 2020 at 12:22 pm

"Don't break the law, and you won't be arrested. Don't resist arrest, and the police won't have to use force to subdue you....It's just astonishing how difficult this seems to be for some people to understand."

It should be more, if not equally, astonishing why officers that break the law aren't arrested.
They routinely break the law with false statements in police reports, false allegations, arrests under false pretexts, "using force to subdue" where there was no such need, and so on. And the entire department goes silent on such practices, stonewalls the production of public records, fabricates reasons why such records are (mysteriously) "unavailable", "video camera malfunctioned", etc. Complaints re misconduct are routinely "dismissed" with the abusive officers' own colleagues serving as judge and jury. If not for the recording by independent witnesses--as with George Floyd et al--these abuses don't even come to light.

"if you are going to break the law and resist arrest, get the h#$! out of Palo Alto"
I presume--and hope--you mean to also include corrupt, abusive PD officers and other public servants who break the law e.g., DeStefano and his cohorts.

"I will always support my police department "
And it is because of those like you that such abuses will continue.
As said earlier, these abuses and the corrupt involved will "get the h#$! out of Palo Alto" (and Los Altos and other cities across the country) when they (and those like you that "will always support" them) are PERSONALLY held accountable. Down to the last penny. [Portion removed.]


4 people like this
Posted by Weifeng Pan
a resident of Midtown
on Jun 30, 2020 at 12:25 pm

Thank you Palo Alto Online for your great journalism! People need free press for hold their government responsible.


4 people like this
Posted by Concerned Parent
a resident of Midtown
on Jun 30, 2020 at 3:03 pm

My apologies tot he "suspect" I am speechless of the actions of this aggressive officer. All the suspect did was to try to go back to the do not shop. He never fought against the police, but he continue to release his anger or whatever issues or ego he had. Is he still working and getting paid through my the money I get with my property tax? He shall be out. No reason to treat a human being or an animal like that, when they are not hurting you. I can believe the police officer who introduces the video, how he goes around the bush trying to justify the aggressive and physical behavior of the police officer towards the suspect. If police will act like this, then we do not need them. This case is even worst than the one at the trailers park. It is only because they are people of color, not millionaires and they re sure that they do not know their rights or in some cases undocumented so they are sure that there will not be any complaints or investigations taken place. I know they will not treat a white person committing a crime like these even if the white suspect fights back. It is racism there is no other way to call it. Shame an our police department.


Like this comment
Posted by Anon
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Jun 30, 2020 at 3:25 pm

Posted by Family Friendly, a resident of Old Palo Alto

[Portion removed.]

>> It's just astonishing how difficult this seems to be for some people to understand.

It is not astonishing at all that *mentally ill* people have a lot of difficulty understanding this. That is why there should be trained staff to handle incidents involving mentally ill people. Really, you should not be astonished.

And, this is the punch line just for you and the people who agree with your sentiment above:

Guess what? It could *happen to you*. Yep. You or someone in your family could wake up one morning and start having real difficulty. You might be aware of it, and, try to will the mental illness away. But, that might not work. You might need help. Or your family member might need help. Since we *don't* generally have public safety folks at hand to help you-- try to get help from someone else. Especially painful: mentally ill people who are a danger to themselves and others who end up getting shot by a policeman who has no other way to protect himself than to shoot: Web Link

You think it couldn't happen to you or to someone in your family, but, it could. Please stop being "astonished" by people who don't always behave rationally.


12 people like this
Posted by Family Friendly
a resident of Old Palo Alto
on Jun 30, 2020 at 5:48 pm

[Post removed.]


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