A woman filed a lawsuit against the Palo Alto Police Department last week claiming that she suffered numerous injuries, including a torn ligament, when a police officer hit her in the knee, slammed her into a car and handcuffed her during an October 2021 encounter.
Harlene Grewal claimed in her complaint that the altercation occurred just after she had exited a local music venue on Oct. 15, 2021. She wrote in her complaint that two officers, Nick Enberg and Ian Johnson, arrived at her car and ordered her to provide identification. As she attempted to do so, Enberg allegedly grabbed her without telling her why or giving her any instructions, according to the suit.
Enberg then called Johnson for help and both officers attempted to handcuff her in what she called an "unlawful detention," Grewal stated in a complaint that she filed with the Santa Clara County Superior Court. Enberg also hit her in the back of her knee, which resulted in her tearing her anterior cruciate ligament and meniscus, injuries that required her to have surgery, she alleged in the suit.
Grewal, a San Jose resident who is representing herself in the suit, wrote in the complaint that Enberg slammed her against her car and applied handcuffs so tightly that she suffered injuries to both of her wrists.
"To this day, Grewal suffers extreme pain and reduced mobility," her complaint states.
Grewal argued in the complaint that the actions of the officers constituted excessive force and that they violated her constitutional rights under the Fourth Amendment, which prohibits unreasonable searches and seizures. She is seeking compensatory and punitive damages as well as attorney costs and a declaration that the officers' actions were unlawful.
Grewal could not be reached for comment Monday. The city did not respond to questions about her allegations.
Her lawsuit comes nearly a year after the city reached a settlement with Joel Alejo, who was repeatedly bitten by a Palo Alto K-9 in a case of mistaken identity as he was sleeping in a shed in Mountain View and police were looking for a kidnapping suspect. Enberg also was involved in that case, with body camera footage showing him leading the K-9 toward Alejo and ordering it to bite while another officer screamed at the man to "stop resisting" during the June 2020 altercation.
The city reached a settlement of $135,000 with Alejo last December.