Cops to release alleged beating video

Daily Post Staff Writer

Palo Alto police said they will release video footage in March from the alleged police beating of a man.

Julio Arevalo filed a claim for $3.8 million against the city in November. He alleges that he was “violently attacked” by police Agent Thomas DeStefano on July 10 at Happy Donuts, 3916 El Camino Real.

Arevalo was booked for being under the influence of drugs, resisting arrest and battery of an officer. However, no charges were filed by the DA.

Arevalo said he was falsely arrested and that DeStefano put 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.

The Post filed a California Public Records Act request on Jan. 10 to get any video or audio footage from the incident.

Lisa Scheff, public safety program manager for the police department, said last week that the video should be released on March 2.

Allegedly broke man’s arm before

DeStefano was one of the officers accused in a lawsuit five years ago of breaking a man’s arm during a 2013 traffic stop.

The city settled that suit for $250,000 after the man’s attorney started investigating the police department’s claim that two of its dash cams malfunctioned during the arrest.

In that lawsuit, Tyler Harney claimed he had a seizure after officers stopped the car in which he was a passenger on Greer Road around noon on Aug. 3, 2013.

Rather than trying to help Harney, officers allegedly threw him to the ground, pulling his arm behind him and breaking it.

Harney’s injury required multiple surgeries and resulted in permanent nerve damage and diminished function, his attorney, David Helbraun, said in 2016.

Video footage from patrol car cameras might have helped the court determine what really happened. But the dashboard cameras apparently weren’t working at the time. The city said in the court filing that it made every effort to preserve evidence in the case, but that cameras in both officers’ cars malfunctioned during that car stop.

Dash cam company subpoenaed

Harney subpoenaed Kustom Signals Inc., which manufactured and sold police-car dash cams to the Palo Alto Police Department, for information to help his own expert determine if police had tampered with the cameras.

But the city said that information was privileged and didn’t want to turn it over.

On Jan. 29, Judge Howard Lloyd ruled that Kustom had to produce the evidence Harney sought, opening the door to the question of whether the police destroyed the videos.

A few days later, the city and Harney reached a tentative settlement, which was approved by City Council on Feb. 16, 2016.

Correction: The original version of this story gave the incorrect address of the July 10, 2019 arrest. This version has the correct address.