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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