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Police release video of 2019 arrest that led to excessive-force claim

Original post made on Jun 20, 2020

The Palo Alto Police Department released on Friday video footage of the July 10, 2019, arrest of Julio Arevalo, who suffered an orbital bone fracture while being detained by an officer in front of Happy Donuts.

Read the full story here Web Link posted Saturday, June 20, 2020, 11:33 AM

Comments (54)

Posted by Name hidden
a resident of Downtown North

on Jun 20, 2020 at 12:01 pm

Due to repeated violations of our Terms of Use, comments from this poster are automatically removed. Why?


31 people like this
Posted by Sally
a resident of Downtown North
on Jun 20, 2020 at 3:14 pm

This is hard to watch. His head thunk on concrete, after being thrown with both arms held behind and no way to brace, was especially disturing. We are lucky he didn't end up like the elderly protester in Buffalo.

I do feel we need to get the handling / custody / release of arrest videos out of the hands of the police themselves, and in a truly independent agency. The current structure of Internal Affairs is one of the obvious problems in our police departments. Certainly not the only one, though.


24 people like this
Posted by A neighbor
a resident of Barron Park
on Jun 20, 2020 at 3:55 pm

I am so upset after seeing this video. This is our very own "civilized" PAPD" arresting this man violently because he was on probation and was sweating profusely?!!! The officer was under the impression about this man dealing drugs? It was so urgent that he had to hurt him like that?

Why wasn't the officer giving a reason for the arrest if he had one? This looks like a scene in a lawless land.

I am so sad that my tax money finances officers like DeStefano. This has to change.


59 people like this
Posted by Nayeli
a resident of Midtown
on Jun 20, 2020 at 10:56 pm

Was the guy really violating his probation? What was he on probation for?

While the video is difficult to watch, the suspect in the video refused to cooperate with the officer. The officer obviously didn't approach him to simply "attack" him. The officer was simply trying to detain him and question him. Unfortunately, the suspect resisted...and continued to resist.

Is there a better method for detaining someone who is resisting?

Should he have simply held him (perhaps handcuffing the belligerent suspect to the rail) until backup arrived? I suppose that the most egregious thing here is the slam to the ground (as it was unnecessary). However, this suspect was resisting and the officer likely felt that this was the best method of preventing further resistance.

I would hate to be a police officer. In addition to putting their lives on the line each and every day, they also have to encounter scores of angry, uncooperative and even whiny suspects who often do their best to "push the buttons" of the officers. This is on top of occasionally encountering individuals who are, for lack of a better term, doing bad things.

There are bad cops out there. However, most are good individuals. Unfortunately, an otherwise good cop might sometimes make a mistake. The issue here is with the slam to the ground while the suspect continued to resist and act like a brat.

Now, I don't know if he was on probation or what the probation was for. However, if he was a non-violent offender on probation, then why not cite him and let him go and, if necessary, serve the warrant later?

If the guy was a potentially dangerous individual with a history of violence, then detain them temporarily and wait for backup.


57 people like this
Posted by Nayeli
a resident of Midtown
on Jun 20, 2020 at 11:06 pm

Okay, I found his criminal record information from the San Jose Mercury News:

"Arevalo has a lengthy criminal history including charges for unlawful possession of drug paraphernalia, driving under the influence and driving on a suspended license. He was convicted of harassment earlier this year and charged with misdemeanor domestic violence battery in 2017."

Web Link


61 people like this
Posted by DTNResident
a resident of Downtown North
on Jun 20, 2020 at 11:28 pm

It's always the exact same story. Complete criminal with a lengthy criminal history is detained by an officer calmly and the criminal just refuses to cooperate. In order to control the suspect, due to the suspect's completely unreasonable behavior, the officer has to get more and more aggressive and the criminal gets hurt.

The officer tried a gentle approach and the suspect just wouldn't cooperate. At this point, the officer has no idea if the guy has a gun, so he needs to ensure his safety and those of everyone in the restaurant by handcuffing the uncooperative suspect, and due to the criminal's own actions, the officer had to get aggressive. The criminal could have stopped the aggressive behavior at any time, he's had lots of experience with this, but he chose not to and the criminal unexpectedly let go of the railing and the momentum carried him to the ground.

The lifelong criminal has been given every opportunity. He was born into a country that is the envy of the world, given, for free, a first class education, and opportunities for employment that are unimaginable in most of the world, along with repeated chances, and he threw it all away each time.

He ended up on the ground due to his own actions, and based on his pretend acting at the beginning, I wouldn't put it past him to have thrown himself on the ground. if I were on the jury, I wouldn't award the guy a cent. If you do, you send a message to all future criminals to resist the officer for cash and prizes. The only one I feel sorry for is the officer.


40 people like this
Posted by CrescentParkAnon.
a resident of Crescent Park
on Jun 21, 2020 at 1:04 am

Yes, not pleasant to watch for several reasons.

From what I could see on one viewing of the video is that the officer
is very poor at explaining what he wants or what is going on. Is that
part of the video missing.

I heard clearly, "you are detained" though.

I don't really see this as excessive force, but I think it might have
worked better if these patrols were two officers together.

Just because someone gets hurt of experiences unpleasantness
does not necessarily make it unnecessary force.
And, this is the sad part, just because a person being arrested yells
about how they breaking his arm does not mean they are.
Same with the I can't breathe thing, sadly the people who really
cannot breathe and are in agony are ignored because it is common
for a lot of people getting arrested to yell and scream about.

I'm curious, this guy was actually kicking the officer and resisting
arrest, so who is defending this guy and on what basis is be
being arrested?


20 people like this
Posted by Sally
a resident of Downtown North
on Jun 21, 2020 at 7:34 am

[Portion removed.]

How about this. Handcuff him to the railing and stand back and wait. So hard? Yes, the man was not well. Smashing his face into concrete is unfathomable.

When discipline to the officer comes down, feel free to walk out in solidarity. If you don't have a problem with this police behavior you should rethink your profession.


24 people like this
Posted by Orange
a resident of University South
on Jun 21, 2020 at 10:05 am

I didn’t realize eating donuts while sweating was illegal.


4 people like this
Posted by mauricio
a resident of Embarcadero Oaks/Leland
on Jun 21, 2020 at 10:21 am

The PA police department is one of least violent in the nation, so imagine what goes on in other parts of the country. We have become a police state and the police at large has become a highly militarized militia that is a threat to all, especially non-whites.

At this juncture there's no reason not to dismantle all police departments in the country and replace them with new models of law enforcement. A small, highly regulated, highly trained and vetted law enforcement body working in tandem with trained community members who will make sure they never get out of line would be a great idea, but the current model of local law enforcement is untenable and must disappear or we will become, if we aren't there already, a banana republic.


30 people like this
Posted by jlanders
a resident of Barron Park
on Jun 21, 2020 at 11:23 am

Nice neutral and fact filled presentation by the Palo Alto Police Department. A big thank you to the City Attorney's office for finally allowing PAPD to release the video to the public. Looks like our department is following the Los Angeles Police Department's model of generating "critical incident" presentations that help provide context of the arrest that wasn't available from our local press. It's sad that our local media only presents information fed to it by criminal defense attorneys and then further sensationalizes the incident by quoting from self-serving so call "PAPD watchdogs" in our community. This is a good strategy for the PAPD to combat this unfair tactic.

The PAPD report (linked below) confirms that Arevalo had two active grants of probation [portion removed] that allowed police to detain and search him. Curiously, the Weekly's reporter didn't provide a link (so far) to his original article that made incendiary claims against the PAPD. The new video shows these claims are obviously false. PAPD's video with audio makes it clear that Arevalo chose the location on the railing where he decided to fight DeStefano. Arevalo wasn't knocked out, as claimed by his attorney. After he hit the ground, the 23 year old Arevalo simply laid there and started crying. Both the police report and the archived PAPD radio traffic confirm that Arevalo received care from our fire department immediately after he was arrested. So, Arevalo and his attorney as once again proven liars.

Link to the Weekly's story with claims from Arevalo's attorney: Web Link

The PAPD police report for this incident is here: Web Link

The PAPD radio call is here (search the archive for July 10, 2019): Web Link (needs subscription)

The print edition of the Daily Post yesterday promised to post PAPD Sgt Green's body camera video of Arevalo's use of force investigation. Does the Weekly have it? Or are you afraid to show it?


22 people like this
Posted by Maurice
a resident of Old Palo Alto
on Jun 21, 2020 at 12:26 pm

This man should not have resisted arrest. If you break the law, don't resist when you're apprehended.


4 people like this
Posted by John
a resident of Adobe-Meadow
on Jun 21, 2020 at 2:26 pm

[Post removed.]


9 people like this
Posted by Resident
a resident of Midtown
on Jun 21, 2020 at 5:30 pm

Cleo, I could cherry pick stories too. What about Tessa Majors? White people are killed too. It goes both ways. The real issue is the behavior of people who misrepresent what BLM should be about and sabotage the cause, callously crossing over from "anti-racist" to "anti-White" and pointing the finger calling us "bigots" or acting like we can't disagree anymore under this zealous Groupthink trend, that is the real discrimination that is going on today.
I am tired of the constant pearl-clutching reactions it's doing us no good. I will always speak my mind. Come at me mod.


17 people like this
Posted by Biased Presentation
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Jun 21, 2020 at 7:44 pm

The Explainer in Chief is not unbiased in his presentation - he leaves out that there are no charges whatsoever against Arevalo. It took Gennady to point that critical fact out. There was no drug dealing or drugs on him and no charges of resisting arrest that would violate his probation and land him in jail. No nothing but another giant lawsuit we taxpayers will pony up for police misconduct for excessive use of force.

The one thing interesting that the Explainer says right at the start is, "this officer's use of force resulted in great bodily injury to a person". Isn't that an admission by the PAPD that felony battery was committed by this officer?

Arrest records are not relevant when deciding to use force or not (read the PAPD policy manual). Citing them is just ginnning up hatred toward Arevalo and trying to justify what this officer did. What is relevent is this arresting officer's record which wasna't mentioned, so I will do so as It is all publically documented. It explains some of this behavor.

This officer was one of several who engaged in a cover-up of the Feb. 2018 excessive use of force by Sgt. Benitiz as officers watched him slam the head of a non-resisting handcuffed man into a windshield. No officer reported it to a supervisor as required by police policy. It was many months before the incident was even known. Now everyone knows, including the County DA who may bring criminal charges against ex-Sgt. Benitiz. And we paid out nearly $600,000 in a lawsuit.

But what happened to the officer who covered up for Benitiz and here decided that the most important thing he could do with his time on July 10, 2019, was go after Julio Arevalo buying a donut? Nothing that we know of. But his breaking bones at Happy Donuts is going to cost us a bundle.

Oh, and he is the same officer who broke the shoulder of the convulsing epileptic teen in another use of force case a few years ago. That one cost us a quarter million dollars.

The cherry on top is his drunk daytime off-duty hit-and-run when this officer lied to his neighbor, then several times to nvestigators in another police force, and then even to his own police about hitting his neighbor's car according to the independent auditor.

The PAPD has an accountabitly problem. So much so that the FBI is now investigating it.


25 people like this
Posted by CrescentParkAnon.
a resident of Crescent Park
on Jun 21, 2020 at 7:52 pm

Are there some simple things we can agree on? That is, at least for me, the police should not take it on themselves to punish people they don't like, or people who have a bad record, or really anyone - punishment is not part of the job of the police, it is the job of the courts. There are ever certain circumstances where I think an officer has a human right to be angry and out of control - these are human beings in a stressful situation, and we cannot expect perfection from anyone.

While I am driving around in public I often see situations where they are 3-6 police cars surrounding a stopped car, or person, and I often see several police cars just stopped in the same location conferring, talking, or whatever between themselves. In this case I believe 2 officers would have changed the nature of the situation.

If the suspect is a violent offender, or alleged to be a violent offender, or puts up resistance, force must be used, and when a Police Officer has to use force there is no quarantee that the suspect will not be hurt, or even killed in certain circumstances. That is just reality.

BUT, we still need to see and review what happened in order to know what happened and if the officer behaved unprofessionally or illegally, so keep the hi-def video cameras on at all times.

In this case I feel like the officer should have called for assistance. Is there any reason why the officer could not have called for assistance?

What I don't want to see is game playing on the part of the police. Oh, I know this suspect was being a jerk and playing games. There is no reason he could not have peacefully gone with the officer, so he was screaming and whining and complaining and asking questions past the point where conversation would have made any difference.

It looked to me like the officer could have been playing around to look for a opening to slam this guy, because he sure was not yelling commands to him like other police officers do in that situation.

So, although the officer should have called for backup, I think he used reasonable force. My suggestion would be to keep a close eye on this officer and if he has these kind of situations again, warn him, then fire him.


14 people like this
Posted by Tyler
a resident of East Palo Alto
on Jun 21, 2020 at 7:54 pm

@ DTNResident
So according to DTNResident once a person has violated a law no matter how small or how long ago the person loses his Constitutional rights indefinitely.


14 people like this
Posted by CrescentParkAnon.
a resident of Crescent Park
on Jun 21, 2020 at 8:00 pm

Biased Presentation, thanks for some more facts about this case. Can anyone validate those facts?

I looked at that situation in the garage with Benetez and to me it did not look like $600K worth of damage. Can you fill in what exactly where the medical complaints of the man whose head was said to have been "slammed" into a windshield? I did not see that, and if that happened which I guess it did, it was wrong ... but where does the $600K get settled on.

> The cherry on top is his drunk daytime off-duty hit-and-run when this
> officer lied to his neighbor, then several times to nvestigators in another
> police force, and then even to his own police about hitting his neighbor's
> car according to the independent auditor.

This is a far worse incident and I think he should have been fired over this incident of lying. It makes not only the officer look bad but the whole force and the city to retain someone like this.


11 people like this
Posted by CrescentParkAnon.
a resident of Crescent Park
on Jun 21, 2020 at 8:03 pm

Hypothetically ... in a situation like this, could an officer try to
reason with a suspect and say something like ... I can see you
are resisting arrest, and in order not to hurt or, or for your
protection I can call another officer and we can take you to
jail, or you can save yourself a resisting arrest charge and
change your attitude and come in quietly. Which do you want?

Is that a possible scenario? I do think this guy would not have
calmed down or listened to the officer, but is it worth a try?


30 people like this
Posted by MenloMom
a resident of Menlo Park
on Jun 21, 2020 at 9:15 pm

The guy was on probation and anyone on probation knows full well that they can be detained at any time for any reason by any law-enforcement officer. The innocent act where he stumbled around pretending to not understand why the cop was detaining him was just that, an act. It was for the benefit of bystanders.

He was under the influence of narcotics which was almost certainly a violation of his probation. He absolutely resisted arrest. It’s unfortunate that he got injured as the officer escalated the force necessary to stay a step ahead of him.

For everyone who is second-guessing this officer, let’s see how well YOU do dealing with violent criminals on your own after most of the good police officers quit the force and the remaining officers just don’t feel like it’s worth it to answer your 911 call for help when somebody is breaking into your house. We are defunding and dismantling police departments and police officers are quitting in droves. We live in an affluent communities with very little violent crime but the violent criminals will definitely come to us when there are no police who think it’s worth it to try to stop them.


17 people like this
Posted by Resident
a resident of Ventura
on Jun 21, 2020 at 9:52 pm

I live around the corner from where this happened. Unless the cop was defending himself, or the guy was an immediate threat to people around him, giving a him a concussion and breaking his eye socket was not justified. Absolutely repulsive what the cops are allowed to do. Cops shouldn't be giving people brain injuries and broken eye sockets, or worse, because they have a criminal record. Cops shouldn't be beating people up because they say "no" to being detained.


8 people like this
Posted by Biased Presentation
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Jun 21, 2020 at 9:58 pm

“The violent criminals will come to us”?
Both the men subjected here to police excessive force are “us”. Longtime Palo Altans.
And there was no evidence found that Arevalo was on drugs.
PAPD officers have a duty to de-Escalante a situation if possible - it was but the officer didn’t.
And not everyone living here is affluent, nor those who work, pass through or visit here.


27 people like this
Posted by Nayeli
a resident of Midtown
on Jun 22, 2020 at 12:27 am

@ Biased Presentation: Are you trying to say that Mr. Arevalo is an outstanding citizen? The guy has a long criminal record. The fact that he "played stupid" when being apprehended says more about him than the police officer who was arresting him.

Should he have been slammed to the ground?

That is certainly a valid question. However, the real question is what should police officers do when a belligerent man who is currently on probation and has a lengthy criminal record (including a record of violence) resists arrest.

Obviously, U.S. citizens do not lose their rights when they break the law. However, people in the act of a crime are special cases. Their arrest is part of due process according to the law. If they behave violently and resist, the police can use violence to safely apprehend them.

People who do not flee or resist arrest usually don't have anything to fear from the police. In fact, I'd love to see what percentage of "police violence" is in the apprehension of individuals who are resisting arrest or attempting to flee from detainment.


26 people like this
Posted by Jennifer
a resident of another community
on Jun 22, 2020 at 9:22 am

Once again -- a career criminal who refuses to cooperate with police. The enablers need to quit making excuses for thugs who resist arrest. Time after time after time. Quit committing crimes, and quit resisting arrest. Problem solved. It's not that difficult to be a law abiding citizen.


12 people like this
Posted by Anon
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Jun 22, 2020 at 9:42 am

Posted by Nayeli, a resident of Midtown

>> While the video is difficult to watch, the suspect in the video refused to cooperate with the officer. The officer obviously didn't approach him to simply "attack" him. The officer was simply trying to detain him and question him. Unfortunately, the suspect resisted...and continued to resist.

>> Is there a better method for detaining someone who is resisting?

>> Should he have simply held him (perhaps handcuffing the belligerent suspect to the rail) until backup arrived? I suppose that the most egregious thing here is the slam to the ground (as it was unnecessary). However, this suspect was resisting and the officer likely felt that this was the best method of preventing further resistance.

>> I would hate to be a police officer. In addition to putting their lives on the line each and every day, they also have to encounter scores of angry, uncooperative and even whiny suspects who often do their best to "push the buttons" of the officers.


Posted by Jennifer, a resident of another community

>> Once again -- a career criminal who refuses to cooperate with police. The enablers need to quit making excuses for thugs who resist arrest. Time after time after time. Quit committing crimes, and quit resisting arrest. Problem solved. It's not that difficult to be a law abiding citizen.

You both implicitly agree that it is somehow necessary for the police to completely dominate a suspect, even to the point of injury (or, had the suspect hit his head the wrong way as he went down, death).

I fundamentally disagree. The job the officer was faced with at the time was arresting someone for probation violation. Two or more other police cars were a couple of minutes away and showed up right after the suspect went down. The suspect was intoxicated on something obviously. The police should always attempt to detain someone in a situation like this without injury. Instead, it becomes some kind of ego thing where the officer has to dominate the suspect. Let the justice system deliver punishment. That isn't the job of the police. The only time injurious (or deadly) force is justified is when there is a direct threat.

I don't know where we train police officers that they learn that their job is to dominate everyone they come in contact with. Their job is to protect and serve.


7 people like this
Posted by Anon
a resident of Stanford
on Jun 22, 2020 at 10:57 am

Why is it necessary to roll out someone's past history to justify the current episode of excessive force?


9 people like this
Posted by Dilettante
a resident of Greenmeadow
on Jun 22, 2020 at 11:24 am

When someone applies pain to another human, the person being hurt naturally tries to move to a position that reduces the pain. This simple act of moving is almost always interpreted by police as "resisting." As soon as you hear "Stop resisting arrest" you are almost certainly going to be charged with resisting arrest: it's a separate charge, added to whatever else you are charged with. Sometimes the resisting arrest charge is a bigger crime than whatever else you were doing (here, sweating while eating a donut), so it's a handy catch-all phrase for officers to yell. Bottom line: if you wiggle or squirm while being manhandled by a police officer, you will hear "Stop resisting arrest." It's likely to only be mitigated by changes in tactics and training.


5 people like this
Posted by Rock&RollMD
a resident of Barron Park
on Jun 22, 2020 at 12:06 pm

Thank you for looking up the officer’s record. I neither saw nor heard any reason for the “detention” other than being “on probation”. That is not a crime. Just because police “can” detain someone on probation does not mean that they should do it, especially without saying what provoked the action. Sweating a lot is by no means a specific sign of narcotic intoxication. I’d be pretty nervous too. A fractured orbit is a serious injury. The notion that anyone at any time should submit without resistance not just to handcuffing but also to a concussion and a fractured orbit is shocking. [Portion removed.]


8 people like this
Posted by Ramin P
a resident of College Terrace
on Jun 22, 2020 at 2:38 pm

[Portion removed.] Just because you can detain for being on parole doesn't mean that the cop has the right to shatter his orbital bone.

In short, ACAB -- even those from Palo Alto.


6 people like this
Posted by mauricio
a resident of Embarcadero Oaks/Leland
on Jun 22, 2020 at 2:38 pm

Police departments all over the nation have failed to meet minimum human rights standards for many generations. Some have been virtually KKK chapters. The Palo Alto police is not one of them, but they also have skeletons in their closet. This horrid record of police in general should convince no one that the present model of police enforcement in the US should be allowed to exist.

Even the word 'police' should be eliminated and replaced with public guardians. The only role of law enforcement should be to guard and protect the public, and that means everybody regardless of race, ethnicity and immigration status. The new model should be of highly trained, vetted and screened professionals, including possibly military veterans, working hand in hand, including patrolling and answering 911 calls with community members, who will have the authority to stop any misuse of force and would be obliged by law to report it.


5 people like this
Posted by Palo Alto Resident
a resident of Midtown
on Jun 22, 2020 at 4:20 pm

Unbelievable! The level of bias presented by the PAPD Officer in his description of events as portrayed in the video lacks credibility to any observer with an open mind. Even more disturbing is the premise the PAPD officer gives for harassing and physically abusing the young man, who clearly had not committed a crime of any kind. I think we need to evaluate PAPD's budget, if there officers have nothing better to do than hang around donut shops, and harass young people for showing signs of perspiration in public. The communication skills utilized PAPD Officer/Thug are beyond pathetic; any communication by an officer of the law, should be clear, they should communicate empathy and understanding, they should demonstrate professionalism and restraint, and should always exercise all paths of de-escalation prior to any use of force.
Headline: PAPD thug breaks facial bones of young Palo Alto resident for perspiring in public! PAPD defends criminal officers behavior..


9 people like this
Posted by On Probation
a resident of Community Center
on Jun 22, 2020 at 4:50 pm

The terms of Arevalo probation (for a previous drug conviction) were that he could be stopped and searched by Police. When the officer told him Arevalo he wanted to detain him (which was lawful and appropriate), Arevalo resisted very forcefully and while resisting, unfortunately, Arevalo was hurt.


4 people like this
Posted by Anonymous
a resident of Duveneck/St. Francis
on Jun 22, 2020 at 5:14 pm

Very difficult to be a police officer. We see a spectrum of behavior. There is also a spectrum of circumstances and split second actions, choices, reactions. Clear policies help. Training and good attitude help. AND realize there are some serious recidivist offenders out there and “public safet” IS a real concern for the public! There ARE situations where force is necessary....


14 people like this
Posted by Jennifer
a resident of another community
on Jun 22, 2020 at 5:56 pm

It is very difficult to be a police officer, and for those who constantly criticize the police -- 98% of us could NEVER be a police officer. All the training in the world won't stop someone from being human. If the average boss, parent, etc. loses it when an employee, child, etc. won't cooperate, imagine how a police officer feels when he deals day in and day out with career criminals who resist arrest. Some of you are expecting police officers not to be human, and it's ridiculous. Get to the root of the problem... the criminal. Period.


9 people like this
Posted by BjR
a resident of St. Claire Gardens
on Jun 22, 2020 at 7:11 pm

The cop went way overboard. Both DeStefano's actions and his reason for taking them were suspect. No drug charges were filed against Arevalo in relation to this event.

Just another bully cop on a power trip.


11 people like this
Posted by Jennifer
a resident of another community
on Jun 22, 2020 at 8:44 pm

He showed no respect to the officer when he walked away. And then he whined like a two year old. He deserves no empathy from any law abiding citizen.


20 people like this
Posted by DTNResident
a resident of Downtown North
on Jun 22, 2020 at 9:35 pm

For those who don't realize, which appears to be a lot of you, when you agree to parole, you are carrying out your sentence in the community. Just like you would in prison, you are subject to random searches. The officer needed no justification to search him, as long as the searches weren't so frequent as to be harassment.

So he specifically consented to this search when he agreed to his parole terms. He signed a document explicitly agreeing to searches at any time by police officers. It's not because he committed a crime and lost his rights forever, it's because he was at the time serving his sentence in the community rather than in prison and had agreed to the terms.

So the search was a lawful search, the same as if the officer saw him stealing. The officer had every right to search him, as he specifically agreed to the very search he resisted, as well as all others.


3 people like this
Posted by Duveneck neighbor
a resident of Duveneck/St. Francis
on Jun 23, 2020 at 8:30 am

Many of the comments here are abhorrent: blaming the victim; accepting the norms of police and policing.

As long as members of this community find nothing wrong with the entire process here -- and in the Alvarez matter, and in multiple other instances documented by OIR Group -- we will never have safety, we will never have peace, and we will never have justice. WE are the problem; not the police. Police and policing are merely the manifestation of either active public will, or passive public laziness and complacency.

Whether willful or complacent, neither stance is acceptable to this community any longer. The 10,000+ protesters at two rallies during the month of July are evidence.

The end product of police and policing is not safety. It is justice. Most of the posters here seem incapable of parsing the difference.

Just because an individual is on probation, is no justification for what happened here. Just because an individual is sweating, does not justify what happened here. The detaining procedure was two cops -- I can't call DeStefano any longer a 'law enforcement officer', because time after time he has been involved in unacceptable behaviors, resulting in monetary losses for the City; and, his fellows support his behavior, tacitly and actively, making them complicit -- using unwarranted harassment, based upon contrived evidence/cause (I can't even call it flawed anymore, because it happens so frequently), followed by excessive force causing injury, followed by filing of false reports, followed by failure of the Department to behave transparently in the public interest. Not to mention, the continued use of the City and the Department of the shields afforded by both qualified immunity law, and personnel privacy law, to hide, obfuscate, delay, detract, and otherwise keep these incredibly important matters from the light of public scrutiny.

The victim's priors HAVE NO BEARING. They are no excuse, they are no justification for the recorded behavior. They are a rationalization.

The behaviors recorded here are the norm, not the exception; they happen over and over again, meaning they are part and parcel of officers' training, tools, technology, and tactics.

It must all change. These behaviors are no longer acceptable. It is false to say: we must accept these behaviors, in order to achieve public safety, and to achieve officer safety. The dichotomy is false. The logic is fallacious. We can have public safety AND officer safety AND justice, simultaneously, without exclusion.

We can and must do better. There are other ways; other municipalities, other countries, have found them, and deploy them successfully, each and every day. We do not have to accept what is depicted here, as normative. We can change.


9 people like this
Posted by Jennifer
a resident of another community
on Jun 23, 2020 at 9:03 am

Is he a "victim" or a volunteer? His own inappropriate behavior makes him a volunteer. Take responsibility for your own actions. There are consequences.


11 people like this
Posted by Jon
a resident of Barron Park
on Jun 23, 2020 at 9:12 am

What I saw was a guy coming out of a donut shop with a donut trying to get on his bike to go home. Then I see DeStefano approach him intending to detain him without any explanation. DeStefano escalates the situation. End result is excessive use of force. If PAPD has been training its force to use de-escalation technique, it's clear that this training was not effective on this officer.
As a long-time Palo Alto resident, I'm tired of paying taxes to settle lawsuits against PAPD's excessive uses of force. I'm tired of seeing officers with multiple instances of bad judgement being retained. I'm tired of Palo Alto budgeting ever-increasing amounts of money to pay police overtime. I'm tired of seeing 4 police cars, and multiple officers responding to traffic stops.


3 people like this
Posted by Anon
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Jun 23, 2020 at 9:34 am

Posted by Jennifer, a resident of another community

>> It is very difficult to be a police officer, and for those who constantly criticize the police -- 98% of us could NEVER be a police officer.

Lots of people have difficult jobs, and, get paid 20% of what PAPD officers make. It is the policing job, and, PAPD officers are paid very well to do it. OBTW, in case you missed it, on most "dangerous jobs" lists police don't even make the top 10 most dangerous jobs. That goes to jobs like being a logger, fisherman, or roofer (the order varies depending on how risk is calculated.) I would love to see a motorcade every time a roofer dies in the line of duty.

Posted by Jennifer, a resident of another community

>> He showed no respect to the officer when he walked away. And then he whined like a two year old. He deserves no empathy from any law abiding citizen.

I hope you look back at this remark a year from now and are shocked that you wrote it. In the meantime, I have to note that it is "insane" to expect someone suspected of being under the influence of something to "show respect" -- or else get thrown to the ground. Nominally, the officer was detaining someone for probation violation. It wasn't the officer's job to punish someone for not showing "respect". That, in fact, is juvenile, and, that type of juvenile behavior can land an adult in prison for battery.

Posted by Jennifer, a resident of another community

>> Is he a "victim" or a volunteer? His own inappropriate behavior makes him a volunteer. Take responsibility for your own actions. There are consequences.

If he did commit a crime, and, what happened hadn't happened, the judge could have given the suspect an appropriate sentence. Instead, someone has a permanent injury, and, taxpayers are on the hook for excessive force. Juvenile.

It isn't the job of the police to punish people. Even people who don't "respect" the police.


23 people like this
Posted by Ignoring the Law
a resident of Community Center
on Jun 23, 2020 at 11:54 am

Averalo's conditions of probation allow an officer to stop and search him any time without cause. Averalo signed this agreement in order to be released into the community. Then when an officer attempts to stop and search him and Averalo forcible resists and unfortunately gets hurt but some of you blame the officer. If you think that Averalo did not deserve probation then that's an issue for the justice system, However, Averalo is at least partly to blame for his injury by unnecessarily resisting detention.


21 people like this
Posted by Nayeli
a resident of Midtown
on Jun 24, 2020 at 8:52 am

@Dilettante - This suspect was "resisting arrest" from the moment that he was apprehended by the police officer. He refused to cooperate from the moment that the officer spoke to him. He was belligerent the entire time. While the officer was attempting to handcuff him, the suspect actively resisted this. After several minutes, the officer slammed the man to the ground.

Yes, the suspect (while on his stomach) was attempting to kick the officer. However, the actual "resistance" in this case occurred earlier.


19 people like this
Posted by Nayeli
a resident of Midtown
on Jun 24, 2020 at 10:28 am

@ Anon wrote:
>>>>>> "OBTW, in case you missed it, on most "dangerous jobs" lists police don't even make the top 10 most dangerous jobs. That goes to jobs like being a logger, fisherman, or roofer (the order varies depending on how risk is calculated.) I would love to see a motorcade every time a roofer dies in the line of duty." <<<<<<

The difference, I suppose, is that a tree, fish and roof follow the laws of physics and nature. Any death from those jobs are often the result of accidents or negligence.

The killing of police officers, however, typically happens at the hands of violent men. In fact, a police officer is killed (on average) once every 54 hours. That works out to an average of roughly 163 per year. Most of those deaths are attributed to firearms in the hands of suspects.

So, I just looked up the fatality numbers for individuals in the professions that you mentioned. About 50 roofers per year die from work-related accidents. About 43 fishermen die per year. About 66 loggers die per year.

In other words, more police die per year due to violence than the combined numbers of roofers, fishermen and loggers. Obviously, every life is precious. Every life matters (regardless of demographics or profession). However, a policeman places his life on the line each and every day with the potential of violence.


3 people like this
Posted by Gunn 1980
a resident of Los Altos Hills
on Jun 25, 2020 at 1:00 am

Times have changed. Palo Alto has gotten too rich and is falling behind, out of touch with this rising, hungry, capable, but vastly less privileged generation. Decadence is setting in (like Rome).

Unless and until we hold police accountable, there will be strife. Left unaddressed it will spread from our business districts to our (mostly) still comfortable living rooms. In times like these the Blue Line is too thin to really protect anyone but the cops themselves. No justice, no peace. You decide.


7 people like this
Posted by Palo Alto Resident
a resident of Midtown
on Jun 25, 2020 at 11:12 am

I'm curious as to why we believe it makes sense for our community to pay law enforcement to hang around donut shops in search of criminal behavior. More problematically why a law enforcement officer would be motivated to harass someone because they appear to be perspiring, or that exiting a donut shop with a bag containing a donut constitutes probable cause to take further police action.

In my opinion, funding PAPD to patrol donut shops, looking for thinly veiled excuses to harass citizens is an egregious misappropriation of hard earned tax payer funds.


18 people like this
Posted by Nayeli
a resident of Midtown
on Jun 25, 2020 at 11:28 am

@ Palo Alto Resident - Are you sure that you're a "Palo Alto Resident?" I've been to Happy Donuts and other bakeries and shops in Palo Alto. I've NEVER seen a police officer while I was at those shops. Moreover, I've never seen the police simply "harassing" someone.

In this case, the suspect was a 23-year-old man who already had a long criminal record. He also happened to be on probation. I'm not sure why the cop approached him. I was wondering whether or not there was a call about any disturbance for which the suspect fit the description.

Either way, the officer happened to be at that place and recognized the suspect as violating his probation (he was there at 2:24 AM). It is common for individuals on probation to have a curfew (usually beginning between 10PM-12AM) as part of their probation sentence -- especially if the crime in question involved theft, illicit drugs or violence.

In the video, the suspect claims that he was only getting a donut for his kid. I just don't understand whether he was REALLY getting a donuts for his kid at 2:24 AM). However, the assumption that the cop was simply waiting around a donut shop to "harass" innocent people is something of a stretch.


3 people like this
Posted by Anon
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Jun 25, 2020 at 2:41 pm

Posted by Nayeli, a resident of Midtown

>> man who already had a long criminal record. He also happened to be on probation.

>> Either way, the officer happened to be at that place and recognized the suspect as violating his probation

You seem to accept that it is OK for police to use violence in situations where they don't have to.

Breaking someone's facial bone is causing a serious injury. Possibly even a permanent injury-- it might disqualify a person from certain jobs or activities. It could be considered a "cruel or unusual punishment" for, say, probation violation. Regardless, inflicting any kind of punishment is not the job.

Judges and juries get to decide guilt, and punishment. Police, if they need to detain someone, should do it with the minimum force necessary. As they used to say, "Tell it to the judge".


19 people like this
Posted by Nayeli
a resident of Midtown
on Jun 26, 2020 at 9:02 am

@ Anon wrote: >>>>>> "You seem to accept that it is OK for police to use violence in situations where they don't have to. <<<<<<

You seem to have misunderstood what I wrote. I NEVER said that I said that "it is OK for police to use violence in situations where they don't have to."

My point is that it wasn't the cop who initiated the situation. The suspect ultimately brought the injury upon himself by resisting arrest.

The police officer approached the suspect peacefully. The suspect became belligerent and resisted arrest. In fact, he resisted arrest for more than two minutes.

During the time that he initially tried to leave the officer. He also refused to answer questions and only whined that the officer was "hurting me" when the officer wasn't hurting the man.

This man was simply trying to weasel his way out of being detained. Why? He was violating his conditions of probation.

The police have a responsibility to arrest individuals who violate their parole or probation. It is a part of their sentence.

Let's be perfectly clear: This suspect (with his criminal history) was not slammed to the ground over a probation violation. Rather, he was thrown to the ground after he resisted arrest.

Watch the video:

Web Link

At the 6:24 mark of the video, the officer said, "Let go." The man immediately became physical and screamed, "I SAID 'NO!'"

The officer than pushed the man against the rail to detain his other arm (with his stomach against the top of the rail). The man continued to whine and claimed that his "chest" was hurt. He continued to scream at the officer, "LET GO! LET GO! WHAT AM I BEING ARRESTED FOR?" Meanwhile, he wrapped his left leg around the officer's left leg and squeezed.

At this point, the officer threw the man to the ground.

THIS WAS A STRUGGLE. The problem (for the suspect) is that he doesn't have a "right" to struggle with law enforcement.

Now, this isn't a guy who is oblivious to law police procedure or due process. He was a guy who had already had numerous run-ins (and arrests) with law enforcement. Instead of cooperating, he resisted.

Yes, a police officer isn't a judge and jury. However, a police officer is trained in the enforcement of the law.

If an officer sees a person pointing a gun at someone, that officer can use lethal force (without a judge's or jury's permission). In this case, a belligerent suspect physically struggled with an officer while he was being detained.

This is the ONLY reason why he was thrown to the ground. If he hadn't struggled, he wouldn't have been thrown to the ground.


2 people like this
Posted by Mark Weiss
a resident of Downtown North
on Jun 26, 2020 at 5:03 pm

[Portion removed.]

If the events described above are illegal he should be terminated and his pension revoked. (I presume there is more to understanding events than a video or press coverage).
On a secondary note I find it odd and Orwellian for our police to be making films like this I would prefer even in Covid times a press conference perhaps in front of City Hall. (go to the social media account of PAPD for more incredibly strange films).
Generally I thank every officer I meet for his or her service and I do think we are well served. If the exceptions are a pattern we need to fix it obviously.
I’m a kibitzer here but I would say TJ could’ve waited till the next day to remind the man that he is on probation; or in this case he could’ve waited for his back up.


3 people like this
Posted by Resident 1-Adobe Meadows
a resident of Adobe-Meadow
on Jun 27, 2020 at 2:20 pm

We don't know why the policeman was in this specific area but that general location from Oregon going up to Charleston has a number of problems with people breaking car windows and stealing stuff. We have various locations in the city where we have a number of car break-ins - including the downtown parking garages. Someone else may have called in for some other reason and it was a matter of coincidence that they were both at that location at the same time. The parking lots in those areas have signs about leaving anything in your car that is observable.

We are also advertising the new homes on Maybell which is a drawing card for people to come in and see the area. A lot of attention in that area right now with the new homes. Since we have more visitors in the area maybe the police are making sure that the area looks well managed and crime free. A lot of shops in the Donut location so someone may have called in for some other reason.


Like this comment
Posted by Anon
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Jun 29, 2020 at 11:01 am

Posted by Resident 1-Adobe Meadows, a resident of Adobe-Meadow

>> We don't know why the policeman was in this specific area
>> A lot of shops in the Donut location so someone may have called in for some other reason.

We don't have to know the reason why the policeman was there. But, if there actually was a probation violation, the officer should have detained the suspect with the minimum force necessary. All the excuses that people have given for the resulting injury are just that-- excuses. Probation or not, the suspect's 8th and 14th Amendment rights were violated.

Ultimately, we need accountability. Like you and I had in every job we ever had. Why should police be exempt from that?


6 people like this
Posted by Resident 1-Adobe Meadows
a resident of Adobe-Meadow
on Jun 29, 2020 at 11:47 am

I agree - excessive force not called for. But I also suspect that this individual is known to the locals and some problem was called in by the other store owners. Possibly a number of incidences have occurred and the shop owners are now complaining to the police. Something is missing in this story.

As an aside - I went to a frame shop in that area and there were young men just standing in the street on the side of those buildings. They looked like they could take care of themselves. Luckily there was a parking spot in front of the store but I was keeping my eyes outside. Not that my car is such a treasure chest. I know there have been window break-ins at the Mexican restaurant. Once an area gets a reputation for risky business then the results are not good. Enough complaints to the police who are "doing nothing' - as they have had on the car break-ins then every one gets stressed.


8 people like this
Posted by Resident 2
a resident of Midtown
on Jun 29, 2020 at 9:35 pm

There are a few rational, informed comments already in this thread, most notably by @Nayeli but others here are also obviously knowledgeable regarding policing. So I will not rehash all of it here.

Yes, by violating his parole, Arevalo basically consented to being detained ad searched. There was clearly resisting taking place. And plenty of theatrics on the part of the "victim." But what I think is worth noting and many people probably do not fully grasp is the importance of that/how Arevalo wrapped his leg around DeStefano's leg. Anyone with grappling experience (Judo, BJJ, wrestling) knows that this maneuver can be part of a more serious attempt to tie up and possibly trip the other person. Should the officer risk being taken down to the ground by Arevalo and possibly have his firearm taken and used against him or community members? At this point, the officer was fully warranted in increasing the level of force used on Arevalo. There was no excessive use of force in this case.

If you believe Arevalo's accusations, please watch and listen again to all the times he makes false claims during this incident, from the very beginning when he voluntarily leaned back on the fence and screamed about his back hurting and "I'm not even resisting"(when he most definitely was) until the "stop holding my arm" when nobody was touching his arm as he lay on the ground in handcuffs.

This is an incredible waste of time, resources and money for the PAPD. This is a completely frivolous lawsuit and I hope the City demands compensation.


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