Police hit with new brutality claim

Daily Post Staff Writer

Palo Alto just settled a $572,500 police brutality claim, and now it is facing another one.

Julio Arevalo has filed a claim for $3.8 million against the city. He said his civil rights were violated by Palo Alto officers and that he was “violently attacked” by Agent Thomas DeStefano on July 10.

DeStefano arrested Arevalo at Happy Donuts, 3916 El Camino Real, and booked on charges of being under the influence of drugs, resisting arrest and assaulting a police officer.

Arevalo alleges that he was falsely arrested and that DeStefano included false information in his police report of the incident. Arevalo also said that he was denied proper medical care and has suffered pain and emotional distress because of the incident.

Palo Alto announced last week that it has agreed to pay $572,500 to Palo Alto resident Gustavo Alvarez because he was beaten by a Palo Alto police officer in an incident caught on video. In the settlement, Gustavo Alvarez and his attorneys will receive a $572,500 cash settlement and an apology from former Sgt. Wayne Benitez, who slammed Alvarez on the hood of a car and mocked him for being gay. Palo Alto officers will also be given LGBTQ awareness training.

Coincidentally, both Arevalo and Alvarez say they were attacked by police at the Buena Vista Mobile Home Park. And both men are represented by Cody Salfen of San Jose.

Salfen did not respond to a request for comment.

DeStefano was at the scene on the night when Benitez slammed Alvarez on the hood of his car.

Asked whether DeStefano was put on leave, police spokeswoman Janine De La Vega said only that DeStefano is currently employed by the city.


  1. Paying to settle one claim just leads to another claim, and another one, etc. The city needs to stand up and fight these claims, and maybe the ambulance chasers will look for another target.

  2. Tom DeStefano was among the Palo Alto cops sued for brutality in 2014 by Tyler Harney. Both cop cams supposedly malfunctioned in the case. The city ultimately settled with Harney for $250,000. The crooked DA never charged the cops with assault or tampering with evidence (the cameras). The cops got away with it. There’s a culture of lawlessness in the Police Department and now the chickens are coming home to roost. (If you want to look up the Harney case in U.S. District Court, the case number is 14-cv-03415-LHK)

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