Suit: Police put handcuffed woman in her front yard only wearing an open bathrobe during search

BY EMILY MIBACH
Daily Post Staff Writer

A Redwood City mother has filed a lawsuit that claims law enforcement officers, who were searching her house in connection with a drug case involving her boyfriend, forced her to stand handcuffed in her front yard in nothing but an open bathrobe as her neighbors watched her exposed body.

Gabriela Naranjo, 43, contends that CHP officers, San Mateo County Sheriff’s deputies and Redwood City police officers violated her and her children’s civil rights when they executed a search warrant at her Park Street home on March 28, 2017.

At 7:10 a.m., Naranjo was in the shower when police entered her home with guns drawn, frightening one of her children and the family dog who were in the living room, according to her federal lawsuit.

Police allegedly pointed their guns at the child and his dog, and told the boy to control the dog or they would shoot it. Meanwhile, officers went into the bathroom where Naranjo was showering, pointed a gun at her and told her not to move, the lawsuit states.

Naranjo asked if she could get a towel, but was told not to move until a female officer came into the room. So until Officer Amanda Meier came into the bathroom, Naranjo had to stand, nude, cold and wet in the shower.

When Meier arrived, she handcuffed Naranjo, who was still naked, and took her outside.

The officers put a bathrobe on over her shoulders, but since she was handcuffed, Naranjo could not hold it closed, nor was there a rope where the bathrobe could be tied shut. That meant that most of Naranjo’s body was still exposed.

Forced to stand outside

Naranjo and one of her children had to stand outside for 20 minutes, the lawsuit claims.

“Which to Ms. Naranjo felt like hours for her neighbors to see her naked, for her children to see her naked and for the officers to see her naked.”

Naranjo was brought back into her home, and taken to the bedroom where Meier took the handcuffs off her and told Naranjo to get dressed.

Once she was dressed, officers told Naranjo to wake up her two other children and take them outside. She was not allowed to grab a sweater, blanket or shoes for her children, the lawsuit claims.

Naranjo and her three children were put into a van, and had to wait there for at least a half hour. During that time, two of the children needed to use the restroom, but were told to wait by the police, Naranjo claims.

Warrant wasn’t for her

The search warrant that was being executed at Naranjo’s home was for her boyfriend, Jesus Bustos, according to District Attorney Steve Wagstaffe.

Bustos ended up being arrested that day and charged with six felonies that claimed he had illegal guns and possessed drugs he planned to sell, Wagstaffe said.

Naranjo is not a co-defendant in Bustos’ criminal case, nor has she been charged criminally in either San Mateo or Santa Clara counties, according to online records.
San Mateo County Counsel John Beiers, whose office is representing the sheriff’s office, told the Post that the lawsuit does not have merit.

“The Narcotics Task Force lawfully served search warrants signed by a judge as part of a serious criminal investigation that resulted in the arrest of Ms. Naranjo’s partner on drug and gun charges. The county disputes Ms. Naranjo’s version of events at the scene.The county has filed a motion to dismiss the lawsuit that is pending and, if necessary, will litigate it vigorously,” Beiers said.

The Post did not hear back from Redwood City officials about the lawsuit.

City: officers were protecting themselves

However, court documents filed on behalf of the city claim that officers were protecting themselves and acting lawfully.

The listed defendants in the case are: Redwood City, San Mateo County, the CHP, Detective Michael Ruybal, Officer Richard Santiago, Agent Amanda Meier, Agent Jeffrey Clements, Agent Michael Leishman, then-Redwood City police chief JR Gamez, Sheriff Carlos Bolanos and CHP Commissioner Joe Farrow.

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12 Comments

  1. This is so typical. Police are out of control. They’re supposed to protect and serve us, but usually they abuse us. The people who are supposed to control the police—the city council—will do absolutely nothing about this. They won’t even bring it up at a meeting or ask about it. So the police think they can run roughshod over people and suffer no consequences. I’d like to think that once RWC cops get body cams, this will stop. It probably explains why RWC was the last department in Northern California to buy body cams, they wanted to keep doing things like this. I hope Gabriela walks away with millions so that the council has to put a stop to behavior like this.

    • This post is a non sequitur. Oh wait, let me rephrase so this crowd can understand my point: This post has nothing to do with the article. It is irrelevant.

  2. If this mother wanted to avoid being uncomfortable perhaps she should have made a better choice of a boyfriend. Police were seeking a dangerous man and I really have no sympathy for this woman who had no problem putting her children in a very dangerous position. If she didn’t want her neighbors to see her body then she should have just turned toward the house. Kids had to “hold it” for a few minutes? Better than being killed by her dangerous boyfriend and his acquaintances.

    I’m so sick of low-lifes and criminals clogging up our justice system with their whiny complaints of “mistreatment.” Live like a responsible, law-abiding citizen or expect to be inconvenienced by law enforcement!

  3. Gabriela wasn’t charged with any crime. Nor were her children. For them to be treated this way is wrong. Heads should roll in the Police Department.

    • Cops risk their lives every day – they did not know who or what they would encounter when they entered the home of an armed, suspected felon.

      >> Bustos ended up being arrested that day and charged with six felonies that claimed he had illegal guns and possessed drugs he planned to sell, Wagstaffe said.

      This woman knew who she was involved with and put herself and her kids in danger anyway. Even if the boyfriend didn’t do anything to her or her kids, a rival drug dealer may have.

      She is not a victim – she is most likely an accessory and very definitely guilty of child endangerment.

      Stop blaming the cops for doing their jobs and protecting themselves while dealing with armed criminals.

      Some people on this forum just have no sense.

  4. I believe Naranjo claims of abuse from the police this happened to me. I’m glad she’s voicing her story and fighting against injustice.

  5. If true, these allegations are shocking. What will it take to get cops to treat people like humans? You always hear how police are trying to “improve their relationship with the community.” This incident sets back police-community relations 100 years. Why would anyone trust a Redwood City cop?!

    • I think when the cops are working to improve their relationship with the community they are talking about the law-abiding community, not dangerous drug-dealers and their girlfriends.

      Again, the outrage should be at this woman for putting her children in harm’s way, not at the police for doing their jobs.

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