News

More scrutiny but no charges for Palo Alto officer after dog attack

District Attorney's Office finds Nick Enberg did not use 'excessive force' in last June's apprehension of Joel Alejo

Body-worn camera footage released on March 16 shows Joel Alejo, a resident of Mountain View, get bitten by a Palo Alto police dog on June 25, 2020. Courtesy city of Palo Alto.

The recently released video of a Palo Alto officer directing a police K-9 to attack a Mountain View resident who was sleeping in a backyard shed last year has brought fresh scrutiny to the department's K-9 program as well as public calls for the firing of the officer involved in the attack.

The footage, which the Police Department released on March 16, shows police Agent Nick Enberg yelling commands while the police dog in his charge approaches Joel Alejo, a 37-year-old resident who appears to be sleeping on the floor of a backyard shed in Mountain View. The police dog then bites Alejo in the leg, clamping down for about a minute before other police officers step in to bring Alejo down and handcuff him.

In his complaint against the city, Alejo claimed he has suffered "extreme pain, bleeding, bruising and other damages" during the attack. But while he is seeking $20 million in damages from Palo Alto, the officer who directed the dog during the attack will not be charged with any crimes, the Santa Clara County District Attorney's Office said Tuesday.

Assistant District Attorney Brian Welch said in a statement that because Alejo did not suffer injuries likely to result in his death, the incident did not come within the county's Officer-Involved Incident Protocol, which governs incidents that involve great bodily injury or fatalities. Welch said the office learned about the incident after the Palo Alto Police Department provided the office with the incident reports.

"Based on our review of the case materials, we have concluded that Agent Enberg's use of his police dog did not result in the use of excessive force under the color of authority," Welch said in the statement.

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Some residents disagree. On March 22, six days after the body camera footage of the Alejo attack was publicly released, the City Council and City Manager Ed Shikada heard from residents and police watchdogs who urged them to fire Enberg and to reevaluate the city's K-9 program. Salim Damerdji, a Mountain View resident, demanded discipline for the officers involved in the K-9 attack on Alejo, whom the officers had mistaken for a suspect in a kidnapping case. Damerdji called the footage of the incident "disturbing."

"Not only did this man wake up to being attacked by a canine unit being commanded by Officer Enberg to attack the man, but then as he was being arrested another officer told him to stop resisting while he was still being attacked by this canine … It's really clear there is something messed up in the Palo Alto Police Department," Damerdji said.

Palo Alto resident Adam Schwartz called the video footage of the Alejo attack "shocking and disturbing and very hard to watch."

"It is inherently wrong for the city to issue dogs to its police officer and allow the officer to command the dogs to bite people," Schwartz told the council at the March 22 meeting. "This is the use of police dogs that should be absolutely contrary to policy and not allowed."

Palo Alto leaders would not say whether any of the officers involved in the incident have faced or will face any discipline. Meghan Horrigan-Taylor, the city's chief communications officer, said that while the city "cannot comment on employee matters of this nature," the city's independent police auditor will review the case and publish a report with its findings about the officer's conduct and the city's response. Shikada responded to public comments by urging residents to hold him, rather than Enberg, accountable.

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"Rather than calling for the firing of any individual officer, that accountability is appropriately brought to myself," Shikada said at the March 22 meeting.

But notwithstanding the increased scrutiny, Palo Alto has no plans to scale back the police K-9 program, which includes two German shepherds and their two human handlers. A new report from Palo Alto police notes that the department has employed police dogs for more than 30 years. Both of the agency's current dogs are trained for basic patrol services (which includes searching for and apprehending people) and one of them is certified in detecting explosives.

The report notes that police dogs can be used in a variety of circumstances, including searching in locations not safe for officers and encouraging voluntary compliance by their mere presence.

According to the report, the department's two K-9 teams had been deployed 350 times between 2018 and 2020 to search for people or evidence, apprehend a suspect, execute a warrant or detect explosives. Of those 350 deployments, five had resulted in a K-9 biting or holding the suspect, the report states.

"The vast majority of the time, the canine team is able to assist in finding the wanted person without direct contact with the person," the report states.

The report, which the council is scheduled to discuss at an April 5 study session on policing, also notes that both the dog and the officer on each K-9 team have to undergo a four-week, state-certified course and then participate in ongoing regional training with other K-9 units twice monthly. This, according to the city, adds up to about 60 hours of training each month for the team.

"For police dogs that are selected for specialty assignments (like explosive detection), additional multi-week training schools and ongoing qualifications are required," the report states. "All training for each canine team is documented and retained as part of the handler's personnel file."

Palo Alto police had sent the K-9 unit to Mountain View on June 25 after receiving a request for assistance with a kidnapping case. They were looking for a man who allegedly kidnapped his ex-girlfriend and drove away with her in a stolen car before pushing her out, taking her phone and running away, according to the Mountain View Police Department.

Believing that the man ran into a residential area, officers then reportedly asked a neighbor if they could search the backyard. After getting consent, they found the shed with Alejo inside. They confirmed shortly after the dog attack that he was not the man they were looking for.

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More scrutiny but no charges for Palo Alto officer after dog attack

District Attorney's Office finds Nick Enberg did not use 'excessive force' in last June's apprehension of Joel Alejo

by / Palo Alto Weekly

Uploaded: Tue, Mar 30, 2021, 5:13 pm

The recently released video of a Palo Alto officer directing a police K-9 to attack a Mountain View resident who was sleeping in a backyard shed last year has brought fresh scrutiny to the department's K-9 program as well as public calls for the firing of the officer involved in the attack.

The footage, which the Police Department released on March 16, shows police Agent Nick Enberg yelling commands while the police dog in his charge approaches Joel Alejo, a 37-year-old resident who appears to be sleeping on the floor of a backyard shed in Mountain View. The police dog then bites Alejo in the leg, clamping down for about a minute before other police officers step in to bring Alejo down and handcuff him.

In his complaint against the city, Alejo claimed he has suffered "extreme pain, bleeding, bruising and other damages" during the attack. But while he is seeking $20 million in damages from Palo Alto, the officer who directed the dog during the attack will not be charged with any crimes, the Santa Clara County District Attorney's Office said Tuesday.

Assistant District Attorney Brian Welch said in a statement that because Alejo did not suffer injuries likely to result in his death, the incident did not come within the county's Officer-Involved Incident Protocol, which governs incidents that involve great bodily injury or fatalities. Welch said the office learned about the incident after the Palo Alto Police Department provided the office with the incident reports.

"Based on our review of the case materials, we have concluded that Agent Enberg's use of his police dog did not result in the use of excessive force under the color of authority," Welch said in the statement.

Some residents disagree. On March 22, six days after the body camera footage of the Alejo attack was publicly released, the City Council and City Manager Ed Shikada heard from residents and police watchdogs who urged them to fire Enberg and to reevaluate the city's K-9 program. Salim Damerdji, a Mountain View resident, demanded discipline for the officers involved in the K-9 attack on Alejo, whom the officers had mistaken for a suspect in a kidnapping case. Damerdji called the footage of the incident "disturbing."

"Not only did this man wake up to being attacked by a canine unit being commanded by Officer Enberg to attack the man, but then as he was being arrested another officer told him to stop resisting while he was still being attacked by this canine … It's really clear there is something messed up in the Palo Alto Police Department," Damerdji said.

Palo Alto resident Adam Schwartz called the video footage of the Alejo attack "shocking and disturbing and very hard to watch."

"It is inherently wrong for the city to issue dogs to its police officer and allow the officer to command the dogs to bite people," Schwartz told the council at the March 22 meeting. "This is the use of police dogs that should be absolutely contrary to policy and not allowed."

Palo Alto leaders would not say whether any of the officers involved in the incident have faced or will face any discipline. Meghan Horrigan-Taylor, the city's chief communications officer, said that while the city "cannot comment on employee matters of this nature," the city's independent police auditor will review the case and publish a report with its findings about the officer's conduct and the city's response. Shikada responded to public comments by urging residents to hold him, rather than Enberg, accountable.

"Rather than calling for the firing of any individual officer, that accountability is appropriately brought to myself," Shikada said at the March 22 meeting.

But notwithstanding the increased scrutiny, Palo Alto has no plans to scale back the police K-9 program, which includes two German shepherds and their two human handlers. A new report from Palo Alto police notes that the department has employed police dogs for more than 30 years. Both of the agency's current dogs are trained for basic patrol services (which includes searching for and apprehending people) and one of them is certified in detecting explosives.

The report notes that police dogs can be used in a variety of circumstances, including searching in locations not safe for officers and encouraging voluntary compliance by their mere presence.

According to the report, the department's two K-9 teams had been deployed 350 times between 2018 and 2020 to search for people or evidence, apprehend a suspect, execute a warrant or detect explosives. Of those 350 deployments, five had resulted in a K-9 biting or holding the suspect, the report states.

"The vast majority of the time, the canine team is able to assist in finding the wanted person without direct contact with the person," the report states.

The report, which the council is scheduled to discuss at an April 5 study session on policing, also notes that both the dog and the officer on each K-9 team have to undergo a four-week, state-certified course and then participate in ongoing regional training with other K-9 units twice monthly. This, according to the city, adds up to about 60 hours of training each month for the team.

"For police dogs that are selected for specialty assignments (like explosive detection), additional multi-week training schools and ongoing qualifications are required," the report states. "All training for each canine team is documented and retained as part of the handler's personnel file."

Palo Alto police had sent the K-9 unit to Mountain View on June 25 after receiving a request for assistance with a kidnapping case. They were looking for a man who allegedly kidnapped his ex-girlfriend and drove away with her in a stolen car before pushing her out, taking her phone and running away, according to the Mountain View Police Department.

Believing that the man ran into a residential area, officers then reportedly asked a neighbor if they could search the backyard. After getting consent, they found the shed with Alejo inside. They confirmed shortly after the dog attack that he was not the man they were looking for.

Comments

meredith taylor
Registered user
Duveneck/St. Francis
on Mar 31, 2021 at 9:54 am
meredith taylor, Duveneck/St. Francis
Registered user
on Mar 31, 2021 at 9:54 am

Though the PAPD officer and his dog are free from criminal charges, Mr. Alejo can still sue for damages in civil court.

Civil court is where it matters in terms of $$$ and the city will be held liable.

As many recall, OJ was found free of criminal charges but got taken to the cleaners in civil court and Minneapolis is on the line for $27M in civil damages to the Floyd family even if/when Derek Chavin is acquitted.

Palo Alto will be paying a sizeable amount to Mr. Alejo and rightfully so.


Vu Tran
Registered user
another community
on Mar 31, 2021 at 10:55 am
Vu Tran, another community
Registered user
on Mar 31, 2021 at 10:55 am

I hope Mr. Alejo and his attorneys take the City of Palo Alto to the cleaners for this reckless and irresponsible action by the PAPD.


Joel
Registered user
Barron Park
on Mar 31, 2021 at 11:11 am
Joel, Barron Park
Registered user
on Mar 31, 2021 at 11:11 am

What is wrong with our legal system? This event and its lack of charges is a shameful example.


Christopher Phillips
Registered user
Leland Manor/Garland Drive
on Mar 31, 2021 at 12:15 pm
Christopher Phillips, Leland Manor/Garland Drive
Registered user
on Mar 31, 2021 at 12:15 pm

The pervasive racist and criminal element within law enforcement is very troublesome.

And the its teflon factor in avoiding full accountability is also disturbing.

Perhaps best to defund the police departments throughout the country and use the money to rejuvenate the domestic economy.

Fewer bullying and racist cops = an improved American landscape.


Online Name
Registered user
Embarcadero Oaks/Leland
on Mar 31, 2021 at 12:34 pm
Online Name, Embarcadero Oaks/Leland
Registered user
on Mar 31, 2021 at 12:34 pm

"The pervasive racist and criminal element within law enforcement is very troublesome."

Yup. I also know several white friends who've had over-the-top experiences from PAPD, some as recently as this past year. The arrogance and excess is totally unnecessary and very disturbing because we've all seen the cop shows about the perils of complaining about the police when they know where you live.


Concerned
Registered user
Old Palo Alto
on Mar 31, 2021 at 1:02 pm
Concerned, Old Palo Alto
Registered user
on Mar 31, 2021 at 1:02 pm

Enberg has been involved in previous PAPD controversies not mentioned in this story. One involved the shooting dead of a man having a psychiatric emergency; the other involved an innocent Black student being attacked by a police dog. It was reported in the Mercury News version of the story, however: Web Link

"Enberg has been the subject of public and legal attention for other high-profile uses of force involving Palo Alto police. On Christmas Day in 2015, he and another officer fatally shot a man experiencing a psychiatric emergency outside a mental-health treatment center, after the man charged at an officer while holding a knife.

In 2018, the city paid a Black high school student and his family $250,000 to settle a civil-rights lawsuit stemming from a 2016 encounter where a police dog jumped out of the window of a police vehicle and bit the boy, who had been stopped by police officers — including Enberg — responding to calls about a teen seen carrying a BB gun. The boy was never charged with a crime."


Wanda MacHenry
Registered user
East Palo Alto
on Mar 31, 2021 at 1:22 pm
Wanda MacHenry, East Palo Alto
Registered user
on Mar 31, 2021 at 1:22 pm

How is such an individual with a horrible service record such as Officer Enberg's allowed to even remain on the PAPD?

Does the PAPD endorse such actions?

If so, he is certainly costing the city and its taxpayers a lot of money.

Lastly, the police dog cannot be held accountable as it was only responding to the officer's command to attack and main if possible.

Sadistic and racist.


Jennifer
Registered user
another community
on Mar 31, 2021 at 1:25 pm
Jennifer, another community
Registered user
on Mar 31, 2021 at 1:25 pm

Police officers deal with the criminal element. If can destroy your soul. It's a job that 98% would never consider, and we couldn't do it even if we wanted to. Police officers are human, and rogue officers need to be fired. The rest of the officers -- they need the support of the community (in every community). And people need to quit committing crimes.


Sam Jackson
Registered user
East Palo Alto
on Mar 31, 2021 at 1:34 pm
Sam Jackson, East Palo Alto
Registered user
on Mar 31, 2021 at 1:34 pm

#rogue officers need to be fired. The rest of the officers -- they need the support of the community

The racist PAPD is not reflective of the Palo Alto community as a whole.

The cops tend to reside in other locales (i.e. Central Valley, East Bay etc.) and simply work in PA.

Thank goodness most of them do not live nearby in our neighborhoods and communities.

That would be horrible and hopefully non-affordable Palo Alto housing will remain a constraint and deterrent.


Jim Lane
Registered user
Duveneck/St. Francis
on Mar 31, 2021 at 1:44 pm
Jim Lane, Duveneck/St. Francis
Registered user
on Mar 31, 2021 at 1:44 pm

#Thank goodness most of them do not live nearby in our neighborhoods and communities.

Amen. Bad enough having to deal with most of them (on rare occasion) when they are duty here in PA and BTW, I'm not a person of color.


Bill Stewart
Registered user
Mountain View
on Mar 31, 2021 at 2:00 pm
Bill Stewart, Mountain View
Registered user
on Mar 31, 2021 at 2:00 pm

Police dogs and the officers who handle them get trained for multiple jobs
- Finding and following people (fine)
- Finding explosives and other dangerous things (fine)
- Finding politically incorrect drugs (we're getting away from that)
- Biting people (never acceptable.)
- Defending cops (seldom really the case.)
The officer telling his dog to bite the sleeping person was clearly guilty of assault, and if the laws let him get away with it because he's a cop and was following police procedure, that's a major problem with Palo Alto's laws and police procedures.
The officers who said they "step[ped] in to bring Alejo down" were being dishonest - he was already down and asleep when the dog bit him.

Not only should the city have to pay enough money to cover Alejo's medical costs and pain and suffering, they ought to be hit with punitive damages enough to actually get them to change their police policies and retrain their dogs not to attack people. You've probably seen pictures of police dogs being trained by a guy in a heavy padded suit - no matter what the police claim about it being "search and rescue training" or "crowd control training" or some other euphemism, that's training dogs to bite people.


Finally
Registered user
Midtown
on Mar 31, 2021 at 2:22 pm
Finally, Midtown
Registered user
on Mar 31, 2021 at 2:22 pm

I'm glad the DA made the right call not to file charges against the officer. I think there is nothing wrong with training a dog to bite people-- think of the alternative in some situations-- going into an unknown situation, not knowing if the suspect has one on hand. Guns are so easily had nowadays, as evidenced by the teen who held up BR a few weeks ago, and the one who held up people at Cubberly this past month also. The police got permission to search the person's yard for a kidnapper-- a KIDNAPPER-- and what reasonable person is sleeping unknown on the floor of a shed in the late hours of the night? That's already a suspicious situation. They did not know if the kidnapper was there or not, and I don't know about the rest of you, but if I found someone lying in the dark in a backyard shed, my first instinct would be that it is the right person, regardless of what ethnicity that person might be. And, you don't know if that person has some sort of gun or assault rifle. By using a police dog, instead of guns, officers are SAVING LIVES-- both perpetrator lives and their own. Let's not have our area turn into the nice parts of LA like Beverly Hills- where people are robbed while having outdoor lunch in nice restaurants with GUNS in broad daylight and shootings are becoming a regular occurrence because people are desperate. And as for those who say force is never warranted, are you saying if you saw someone kidnapping your child, you would not go after that person? Let's say you saw someone strangling your mom? What would you do? Now imagine you work with people like that EVERYDAY! Speaking as a person of color, the police are not our enemies here.


Darrin Willoughby
Registered user
Mountain View
on Mar 31, 2021 at 2:45 pm
Darrin Willoughby, Mountain View
Registered user
on Mar 31, 2021 at 2:45 pm

Yeah right. The alleged kidnapper is sound asleep in a tool shed but there is no kidnaped victim (as in anywhere).

Meanwhile cop instructs his K-9 to attack a sleeping suspect and continues ordering it to do so. Wrong.

There's no reason for the cop to pull out his service weapon as his life is not being imperiled. So let the dog brutalize the INNOCENT suspect instead.

The cop should be fired and the police dog euthanized.


Stepheny
Registered user
Midtown
on Mar 31, 2021 at 2:53 pm
Stepheny , Midtown
Registered user
on Mar 31, 2021 at 2:53 pm

The DA made the right call.

Police have always had a tough job, tougher these days because of those who feel they are wronged by virtue of being the wrong color or in the wrong place at the wrong time -- like Alejo. I am not sympathetic to Alejo or his attorney for seeking multi-millions in damages. Alejo was unable to put a roof over his own head, fell asleep in a shed in an area where a kidnapping was suspected. The resident in the house did not know Alejo was in the shed. Alejo will unfortunately, but likely, come out of this with many dollars for a roof over his head and the lawyer will also be well rewarded. This case just inspires other interlopers to find ways to sue communities.

If it were one of my family the police were searching for as a kidnapped victim, I would hope that the police would use every means available to find the victim and the perpetrator.

As more and more people crowd into our area and we feel compelled to "house" them in tents, RVs, hotels or sheds, these problems will continue. We should be able to remove these squatters, their tents and their RVs. One will never get back on one's feet in an area this expensive. Go somewhere else where you can get a life.


Aron Bronski
Registered user
Greenmeadow
on Mar 31, 2021 at 3:03 pm
Aron Bronski, Greenmeadow
Registered user
on Mar 31, 2021 at 3:03 pm

Absolutely shameful and a morally deprived act on the part of the police.

No different than the SS (aka Gestapo) using Rottweiler and Doberman attack dogs on my distant relatives in the Warsaw Ghetto...ALL of whom perished in the German concentration camps during the Holocaust.

And any local resident who endorses or condones such police actions is no different than a Nazi sympathizer or advocate.

Jews were also told that they didn't "belong" in certain places but was that a legitimate reason to brutalize and exterminate them?

Stand tall Mr. Alejo and take the city to task for this unwarranted and racist action on the part of law enforcement.


Mosi Mokumbre
Registered user
Stanford
on Mar 31, 2021 at 3:55 pm
Mosi Mokumbre, Stanford
Registered user
on Mar 31, 2021 at 3:55 pm

The old excuse, "the police are just doing their job" is getting old.

With no accountabilities, they are essentially exercising and abusing a preconceived 007 license to kill.

When was the last time anyone heard of a former law enforcement officer sentenced to prison for unlawful use of force?

America is no different than any other apartheid country. Just more subtle.


Mosi Mokumbre
Registered user
Stanford
on Mar 31, 2021 at 4:09 pm
Mosi Mokumbre, Stanford
Registered user
on Mar 31, 2021 at 4:09 pm

Defund the police or disarm them.


Jules Feldstein
Registered user
Menlo Park
on Mar 31, 2021 at 4:48 pm
Jules Feldstein, Menlo Park
Registered user
on Mar 31, 2021 at 4:48 pm

When law-abiding citizens of color cannot escape the brutality of both extreme racists and those entrusted to protect them (i.e. law enforcement), where does it all end?

Though POTUS45 is gone, his followers remain active and in many ways things are no different than when Hitler was imprisoned for leading an insurrection against the Weimar Republic of Germany.

As noted in the news, both law enforcement and the military have been infiltrated by white supremacists who embrace their own personal brand of American patriotism, a mentality that dispenses with people of color and who these bigots believe are not worthy of any civil rights or protection under American law.

A white-privileged America equates to a racist America.

Mr. Alejo shall have his day in civil court but the scars will remain permanent.


Jennifer
Registered user
another community
on Mar 31, 2021 at 5:59 pm
Jennifer, another community
Registered user
on Mar 31, 2021 at 5:59 pm

He's a relative that was at the house the day before for a birthday party, and the resident claims he/she didn't know he was out there. When police send the dog in, they're supposed to give a warning. They didn't.

The 29 yr. old kidnapper was found a month later.

Gives you pause as to whether or not to give police consent to search your property. Even if you have nothing to hide, there are consequences.


Efren Mendoza
Registered user
another community
on Mar 31, 2021 at 6:20 pm
Efren Mendoza, another community
Registered user
on Mar 31, 2021 at 6:20 pm

> Gives you pause as to whether or not to give police consent to search your property. Even if you have nothing to hide, there are consequences.

Excellent point Jennifer. The key is not to cooperate with the police unless you yourself are directly under threat of harm.

The home resident should not have allowed the PD to enter his/her backyard.

Once the police are 'free to roam' about the premises, anything can happen because they now have carte blanche to overstep certain boundaries.

And the unfortunate part is that they tend to get away with such abuses and are often found exempt from criminal law.

However the city can still be held liable for civil court-related damages and claims.

Mr. Alejo has valid grounds for a successful civil suit or settlement against the city.

And meanwhile, it's just another day on the beat for Officer Enberg and his violent pooch. No money out of his pocket.


Online Name
Registered user
Embarcadero Oaks/Leland
on Mar 31, 2021 at 6:29 pm
Online Name, Embarcadero Oaks/Leland
Registered user
on Mar 31, 2021 at 6:29 pm

"Police officers deal with the criminal element. If can destroy your soul."

They also deal with non-criminal residents/taxpayers and, as posted above,
their "destroyed souls" are often way too evident to many of us regardless of race, color or creed.

They may not live here but their highly paid managers who are responsible for them and their actions and the legal settlements certainly do because pay for their home loans and housing allowances, etc.


Tristan Piers
Registered user
Leland Manor/Garland Drive
on Mar 31, 2021 at 6:40 pm
Tristan Piers, Leland Manor/Garland Drive
Registered user
on Mar 31, 2021 at 6:40 pm

"Police officers deal with the criminal element. If can destroy your soul."

Boo hoo. A suggestion...then turn in your badge and find another occupation.

Your troubled soul is not a license to torment and abuse innocent people.


Valerie Villarone
Registered user
another community
on Mar 31, 2021 at 6:54 pm
Valerie Villarone, another community
Registered user
on Mar 31, 2021 at 6:54 pm

# "Police officers deal with the criminal element. If can destroy your soul."

Oh puleeze. We all have troubled souls.

But that doesn't warrant brutalizing others just because you've got a badge and a gun + a mean dog.


Ron Davis
Registered user
Menlo Park
on Mar 31, 2021 at 6:59 pm
Ron Davis, Menlo Park
Registered user
on Mar 31, 2021 at 6:59 pm

~"Police officers deal with the criminal element. If can destroy your soul."

Then put your gun in a lockbox, kennel the dog and go see a shrink.


Larry Neeley
Registered user
Los Altos
on Mar 31, 2021 at 7:33 pm
Larry Neeley, Los Altos
Registered user
on Mar 31, 2021 at 7:33 pm

"It's a job that 98% would never consider,"

That says it right there. A 2% abnormal psychology factor.


julian g.
Registered user
another community
on Mar 31, 2021 at 8:29 pm
julian g., another community
Registered user
on Mar 31, 2021 at 8:29 pm

Best to cooperate with cops if being stopped for questioning, arrested, or in need of intervention.

In other situations, usually advisable to ignore them and not assist in any way.

Only cause further problems.


Shavonne P.
Registered user
East Palo Alto
on Mar 31, 2021 at 8:48 pm
Shavonne P., East Palo Alto
Registered user
on Mar 31, 2021 at 8:48 pm

With the police, one is always presumed guilty until proven innocent and this goes against the grain of the Constitution.

Probable cause is another area that the police often abuse.

Add racial profiling, bullying and one begins to get the picture.

White folks don't get hassled as much as black men by the police unless they are doing something really stupid.

Avoid the cops and you will live longer. They are not your friend.


Julie
Registered user
Downtown North
on Mar 31, 2021 at 9:08 pm
Julie, Downtown North
Registered user
on Mar 31, 2021 at 9:08 pm

If a policeman cannot control his police dog he is unfit to be a K-9 officer.

And if he orders the dog to unnecessarily attack an unarmed, sleeping person that might be perceived as psychopathic behavior bordering on sadistic.

The perpetual news reportages of police brutality towards people of color and the unwarranted shootings are not make believe stories.


Neal
Registered user
Community Center
on Apr 1, 2021 at 6:54 am
Neal, Community Center
Registered user
on Apr 1, 2021 at 6:54 am

To all you police haters....please don't waste tax payers money and call the police if you're in trouble. If you're victim a crime just suck it up and have a good day.


Hap Young
Registered user
Community Center
on Apr 1, 2021 at 7:17 am
Hap Young, Community Center
Registered user
on Apr 1, 2021 at 7:17 am

At the very least, the PAPD should extend an official apology to Mr. Alejo (best handled by the Chief of Police) along with assurances to the public that this type of incident will never occur again.

(1) Mandatory racial sensitivity therapy sessions should also be required of any officer following such occurances along with (2) a possible suspension of pay, (3) relegation to temporary desk duties, (4) disarmament of service weapon, and (5) reassignment of the K-9.

Unless of course the City of Palo Alto and its tax-paying residents can continually afford to pay out millions of dollars to various injured parties due to the well-publicized reckless and irresponsible behavior of their local police force.

This is not a racial issue but rather one of dysfunctional PAPD public interaction with a predominance of the offenses targeted towards people of color and unreported unwarranted 'overtures' towards various women motorists stopped for minor traffic violations.

It is the responsibility of local citizens and city residents to report all such incidents not only to the PAPD but also to the Santa Clara County District Attorney's Office for further investigation and possible prosecution.


muriel phillips
Registered user
Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Apr 1, 2021 at 7:44 am
muriel phillips, Another Palo Alto neighborhood
Registered user
on Apr 1, 2021 at 7:44 am

It is one thing to report an incident of officer impropriety to the police department and entirely another as to whether anything constructive will come of it.

In the current Minneapolis trial, it was noted that the officer in question had 19 prior public complaints filed against him over a period of 21 years yet he still remained on the force.

I suspect that the police unions and police departments go out of their way to protect bullying cops who persistantly endanger and harass the public at large.

And if this is the image law enforcement wishes to convey, so be it but don't expect any sympathy or compassion from the general public.


Attorney
Registered user
another community
on Apr 1, 2021 at 8:49 am
Attorney , another community
Registered user
on Apr 1, 2021 at 8:49 am

As a practicing attorney specializing in police dog malfeasances, here are the CA laws pertaining to K-9 attacks.

You be the judge.

(1) When Police Are Not Liable
California law provides for police or military dogs to bite without liability or penalty in certain specific circumstances. First of all, they may bite in response to annoying, harassing, or provoking behaviors directed at them by any citizen. Secondly, they may bite while assisting in official military or police work, such as:

Apprehending or holding a suspect
Investigating a crime
Executing a warrant
Defending their handler or another person


(2) When Police Might Be Liable
The law also states that police dogs should only be used to apprehend or hold individuals who are reasonably suspected of participating in or being a party to the specific acts that occasioned the police action. In other words, police dogs are not permitted to bite innocent bystanders. In the case of a such a bite, the police department would be liable for the injuries inflicted by the dog.

The police might also be liable for damages if the use of the dog constituted excessive force. For example, it would not be appropriate to use a dog to hold a suspect in connection with a non-violent crime if that suspect did not have a weapon and made no attempt to evade arrest. Police could also be liable if they permitted the dog to continue attacking past the point where the suspect was subdued, or encouraged the dog to make a particularly violent and protracted attack.


While the DA may have dismissed criminal charges based on #1/ Investigating a crime...

It appears that #2 will apply in civil court based on (1) excessive force, and (2) the K-9 not being subdued and allowed to continue attacking by the officer in charge.

Victory > Mr. Alejo

Personal opinion: The officer should be removed from active street duty and the K-9 reassigned or removed from service.


Ethel Baxter
Registered user
another community
on Apr 1, 2021 at 9:11 am
Ethel Baxter, another community
Registered user
on Apr 1, 2021 at 9:11 am

Such a cruel and sadistic display of unnecessary police force and to implicate a police dog in carrying out this brutal attack is unfathomable.

Along with the recently reported hate crimes against innocent Asians, is this how far we have progressed as a society?

And when the police become active partipants in violence towards innocent people of color, all may be lost.

Unwarranted police ordered K-9 attacks against innocent citizens is not unique to Palo Alto. It is a nationwide occurance and the police dog handlers bear the ultimate responsibility.

These dogs are trained to follow the orders of their handlers and cannot be blamed for an excessive attack.

Shame on the PAPD for allowing this incident to occur and to simply accept it as par for the course.


Dave Janes
Registered user
another community
on Apr 1, 2021 at 9:38 am
Dave Janes, another community
Registered user
on Apr 1, 2021 at 9:38 am

If Mr. Alejo had been a white person I suspect that the officer and K-9 would have responded differently upon discovery because the residential outry would have even more outraged.

As it stands and while most of the respondents here are aghast at what transpired that unfortunate evening, it appears there are a small number of presumably white, conservative, pro-police mentalities who endorse or justify these kinds of irresponsible police actions.

It reminds me of when I used to reside in a red, pro-Trump state populated by mostly white, conservative Christian, law and order types.

And it appears that Palo Alto has a few of its own.


mario pagliardi
Registered user
Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Apr 1, 2021 at 10:08 am
mario pagliardi, Another Palo Alto neighborhood
Registered user
on Apr 1, 2021 at 10:08 am

It appears that the PAPD is coming under further scrutiny and rightfully so given various past incidents involving the unecessary use of force.

This is a good sign and it's officers need to be monitored even further, by maintaining open police radio frequencies or with ride-along proctors to document their interactions with the public at large.

Rather than defund law enforcement, publically fund a certified civilian task force to police the police.

And if the police wish to be viewed in a better light by society as a whole, it is up to them to make a concerted effort by firing any officer with a bad record of interaction with the public.


Arianna Montez
Registered user
Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Apr 1, 2021 at 11:42 am
Arianna Montez, Another Palo Alto neighborhood
Registered user
on Apr 1, 2021 at 11:42 am

Much of the accountability for the brutal and racist attack on Mr. Alejo rests with PAPD supervisory staff (including the Chief of Police office) coming clean in addressing this matter.

Either say YES, we approve of what transpired or NO, we disapprove of what took place.

And then take the appropriate measures which apparently is a silent endorsement of racist brutality towards innocent people of color.

After all, it was not like Mr. Alejo was resisting arrest He was merely asleep before and during the K-9 attack which was apparently being encouraged by the police officer.

Is this what Palo Alto and its law enforcement policy is all about?

If so, defund the PAPD so these types of crimes against humanity can be ended...at least in Palo Alto.


Dustin Taylor
Registered user
Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Apr 1, 2021 at 2:07 pm
Dustin Taylor, Another Palo Alto neighborhood
Registered user
on Apr 1, 2021 at 2:07 pm

These police dogs are trained to search out and and attack suspects if commanded to do so by their PD handler.

Outside of that, they are utterly useless and not even worthy of being a reliable household pet as anything can set them off.

Best euthanized.




Ira Geldman
Registered user
Menlo Park
on Apr 1, 2021 at 2:19 pm
Ira Geldman, Menlo Park
Registered user
on Apr 1, 2021 at 2:19 pm

*No different than the SS (aka Gestapo) using Rottweiler and Doberman attack dogs on my distant relatives in the Warsaw Ghetto...ALL of whom perished in the German concentration camps during the Holocaust.

**These police dogs are trained to search out and and attack suspects if commanded to do so by their PD handler.


Yes. The Jewish people were also viewed
as suspects by a former, all-white despotic regime that preached hatred and genocide.

These dogs are trained killers and encouraged by their law enforcement handlers to mail and maim.

The problem that often arises is what if the suspect is found innocent?

Police attack dogs are reminiscent of the Nazi SS and they frighten my people.


Esther Goldman
Registered user
Downtown North
on Apr 1, 2021 at 3:26 pm
Esther Goldman, Downtown North
Registered user
on Apr 1, 2021 at 3:26 pm

Yes. That police dog should be euthanized.

A vicious police dog being mishandled by an irresponsible and reckless police officer should not be wearing a badge as part of the K-9 unit.

Since the dog will only respond to the commands of his police/master, it has absolutely no place as either a family pet or rescue dog.

An undisciplined German Shepard is a potentially dangerous animal given it's overall size and jaw power.

Even President Biden's German Shepard is prone to getting spooked and recently attacked a Secret Service Agent.

We do not need vicious attack dogs in Palo Alto badge or no badge on its collar.


Ari Silverman
Registered user
another community
on Apr 1, 2021 at 3:45 pm
Ari Silverman, another community
Registered user
on Apr 1, 2021 at 3:45 pm

Like the Gestapo (SS) canines, attack dogs are often trained to distrust and turn violent towards certain individuals.

Some police dogs have a natural propensity to attack black people and are trained to do so. No different than in Nazi Germany where these kinds of dogs were used to sniff-out and attack Jewish people
in hiding while trying desperately to avoid being sent to the concentration camps.

Please do Palo Alto residents a service by removing the dog's handler from active police duty and then destroy the animal.

For the sake of public safety and humanity.


Anastacio Guiterez
Registered user
another community
on Apr 1, 2021 at 4:16 pm
Anastacio Guiterez, another community
Registered user
on Apr 1, 2021 at 4:16 pm

This police dog was trained to HATE by its handler via fear and intimidation.

That is how an attack dog is trained. They will only respond to their handler and pose an ongoing threat to people and other dogs.

It is akin to a playground bully who is physically and verbally abused at home and who then takes it out on other children.

The K-9 officer is primarily responsible for this anti-social K-9 police dog behavior but all things considered and in fairness to the dog, it is reflective of the handler.

Both need to go.


avery spelman
Registered user
Mountain View
on Apr 1, 2021 at 4:30 pm
avery spelman, Mountain View
Registered user
on Apr 1, 2021 at 4:30 pm

I find this Palo Alto police dog account very disturbing and as an individual of Jewish descent who is well aware with the use of attack dogs by the SS during WW2, perhaps the PAPD could take a cue from the Thai law enforcement agencies and move forward.

Web Link


R. Watson Esq.
Registered user
another community
on Apr 1, 2021 at 8:03 pm
R. Watson Esq., another community
Registered user
on Apr 1, 2021 at 8:03 pm

The City of Palo Alto would best served if it settles this case out of court.

The officer was clearly negligent and did not control his K-9.

And since the plaintiff was not the actual suspect, the police action borders on incompetent and over reactionary.

Winner > Alejo

Losers > PAPD - City of PA - PA residents


Emory Lake
Registered user
Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Apr 1, 2021 at 9:47 pm
Emory Lake, Another Palo Alto neighborhood
Registered user
on Apr 1, 2021 at 9:47 pm

The PAPD is becoming more of a liability than an asset.

This settlement along with the one from the trailer park incident has cost the city and taxpayers a lot of money that could have been utilized towards something far more productive during these fiscally austere times.

The unprofessionalism on the part of various officers within the PAPD speaks volumes and now the department is getting a new building to the tune of millions of taxpayer dollars?

Preposterous and a flagrant waste of money.

What's next...BMW squad cars?


Hector Garcia
Registered user
another community
on Apr 2, 2021 at 7:36 am
Hector Garcia, another community
Registered user
on Apr 2, 2021 at 7:36 am

Mr. Alejo will NEVER have to sleep in a tin shed again, courtesy of a rogue cop ordering his vicious police dog to maim and maul an innocent person.

Palo Alto residents should be outraged...if not for the racist police brutality, then for the financial outlay that will cost them and the municipality millions of dollars.

On the other hand, those who either endorse what transpired or who continually support the PAPD are probably share a common ground with this particular officer (i.e. racist proponents of police brutality).


Latrelle Williams
Registered user
East Palo Alto
on Apr 2, 2021 at 11:36 am
Latrelle Williams, East Palo Alto
Registered user
on Apr 2, 2021 at 11:36 am

The PAPD helped Me. Alejo win the lottery.

Imagine that!


Steve McGarett
Registered user
another community
on Apr 2, 2021 at 12:21 pm
Steve McGarett, another community
Registered user
on Apr 2, 2021 at 12:21 pm

The officer and his unrestrained K-9 'were just doing their jobs'.

Why is it so hard for some folks to comprehend that?


Robert St. John
Registered user
Crescent Park
on Apr 2, 2021 at 2:11 pm
Robert St. John, Crescent Park
Registered user
on Apr 2, 2021 at 2:11 pm

<> Why is it so hard for some folks to comprehend that?

Because some people think the police can do no wrong and always have their best interests in mind.

Simple minds manufacture simple thoughts.


Ralph Tyson
Registered user
another community
on Apr 4, 2021 at 8:41 am
Ralph Tyson, another community
Registered user
on Apr 4, 2021 at 8:41 am

An unfortunate incident and most certainly one that could have been avoided.

"Probable cause" has always been the Houdini clause for law enforcement and the current Derek Chavin trial defense will probably rely on it as well.


Citizen
Registered user
another community
on Apr 7, 2021 at 7:15 am
Citizen , another community
Registered user
on Apr 7, 2021 at 7:15 am

Sometimes a full accounting of police-related crimes involve outside witnesses because the police will always try to cover-up their actions with bogus excuses or embellishments.
Web Link


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