$499,000 for Federal Law Enforcement Officer whose Home Was Illegally Raided by Santa Clara Police

The City of Santa Clara agreed to pay $499,000 to a federal law enforcement officer and his parents to end a civil rights lawsuit they brought after Santa Clara police officers illegally raided their home. The City also agreed to support our client, the federal officer's petition for factual innocence and to remove and expunge all Santa Clara police records making false allegations that this federal officer had ever threatened them. Notably, the Plaintiff, his father, and brother are themselves federal law enforcement officers. SCPD officers claimed they were investigating the theft of a $300 dashboard camera when they knocked the door of the Plaintiffs' family home at the inappropriate hour of 1:15 a.m. on February 10, 2014. They forced their way in to search the house, detain the family, and check the Plaintiff's identification. The next morning the Plaintiff requested a copy of the police report and complained about the Santa Clara officers' misconduct. Santa Clara officers then retaliated against him by obtaining a search warrant for the home by judicial deception, falsely telling the court that the Plaintiff had refused to tell them his name and that he “may be a potential hazard based on his previous encounters with police.” They did not inform the court that the Plaintiff is a federal law enforcement officer who had never threatened anyone, particularly any Santa Clara officers. Using a SWAT team and tactics reserved for serving high risk warrants, on March 27, 2014, police ransacked the Plaintiffs' home for three hours and brutally arrested the Plaintiff. Although ostensibly looking for a stolen camera, officers took photographs of Arabic calligraphy on the walls, threw the family's Koran on the floor, and seized numerous personal items unrelated to a search for a dashboard camera, suggesting that their misconduct was motivated in part by the Pakistani-American family's Islamic faith. No stolen property was recovered and an internal investigation by the Plaintiffs' federal agency found no evidence of misconduct by anyone who lived in the home. Although the District Attorney completely dismissed the charges, the family moved from Santa Clara after living there for 20 years because they no longer felt safe there. This settlement now resolves the family's civil lawsuit against the City. "I am glad the City of Santa Clara has decided to end this episode of misconduct by its police department -- I hope this will bring awareness so no Santa Clara resident has to endure what our family went through and the police officers involved are held accountable for their actions, said the federal officer Plaintiff. "No one should have to endure the indignity and blatant violation of basic constitutional rights this family has suffered," added the family's attorney, Michael Haddad.

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Related Headlines
  • Santa Clara settles civil rights lawsuit with border protection officer for $500,000
    Joseph Serna, Los Angeles Times, May 3, 2016

    A bungled search for a $300 dashboard camera has cost the city of Santa Clara nearly $500,000 to settle a claim for ethnic profiling, city officials said Thursday. The city earlier this week agreed to pay $350,000 and an additional $149,000 in legal fees to Mohammad Moneeb, a border protection officer with the Department of Homeland Security, after Santa Clara police arrested him, detained his parents and searched his home for hours in 2014 looking for a dashboard camera that went missing from a car used by Moneeb's uncle, an Uber driver. Moneeb and his family, who are Muslim, filed a federal civil rights lawsuit against the city and police, alleging that they were targeted because they are of Middle Eastern descent. Moneeb’s father also works for the Department of Homeland Security, said the family’s attorney, Michael Haddad. “If they had a good reason for [targeting Moneeb] they wouldn’t have paid him or his family $350,000,” Haddad said Thursday. “I think we basically caught them.”

  • Santa Clara to pay $499,000 after trashing home of Muslim federal agent
    Jill Tucker, San Francisco Chronicle, April 27, 2016

    The city of Santa Clara agreed to pay a Pakistani American homeland security agent and his parents $499,000 to settle a federal lawsuit that claimed police illegally searched and trashed their home and made an unlawful arrest, actions motivated in part by the family’s Islamic faith, their attorney said Wednesday. Muhammad Moneeb and his parents filed a civil rights suit against the city a year ago, saying police conducted a “military-style” raid looking for a $300 camera, a ransacking that left the family’s Quran and other religious items on the floor. ... The City Council voted to approve the settlement Tuesday night, with $350,000 going to Moneeb and his parents and $149,000 earmarked for legal costs, said the family’s attorney, Michael Haddad. The deal requires the city to support Moneeb’s petition to seal and destroy all records that claimed he threatened police officers. The family has since moved out of the city. "I am glad the City of Santa Clara has decided to end this episode of misconduct by its police department," Moneeb said in a statement Wednesday. "I hope this will bring awareness so no Santa Clara resident has to endure what our family went through and the police officers involved are held accountable for their actions."

  • Suit: Santa Clara cops mistreated Muslim customs agent in raid
    Henry K. Lee, San Francisco Chronicle, May 4, 2015

    Muhammad Moneeb, a U.S. Customs and Border Protection agent, said police, acting on a “baseless accusation,” were armed with assault rifles and accompanied by dogs when they used a battering ram on March 27, 2014, to break down the door of the home on Lincoln Street he shared with his parents. During the “military-style” raid, police left the family’s copy of the Quran and other religious writings on the floor, took pictures of framed religious calligraphy prints written in Arabic and squeezed out toiletries, said the suit filed in U.S. District Court in San Jose. “They went out of their way to destroy this particular house,” said the family’s attorney, Michael Haddad. “They’re looking for a camera, and they squeezed out all the toothpaste from the tube and removed all the wax from the deodorant. No one’s hiding a camera in there. This whole law enforcement response was overkill and made no sense.” ... Moneeb; his father, Muhammad Ikram (an agricultural specialist with the customs agency); and mother, Hazakat Ikram, said they were mistreated because they are Muslim Pakistani Americans.

  • Complaint: Federal Officer vs. Santa Clara Police Department

  • Swat Raid Photo