BY KYLE MARTIN
Daily Post Staff Writer
Several residents tonight called for the firing of the cop who commanded a dog to attack an innocent Mountain View man while he slept in his backyard.
Salim Damerdji, of Mountain View, told Palo Alto City Council that Police Agent Nick Enberg should be fired because “he’s a legal liability for your city and taxpayers.”
Damerdji brought up previous cases involving Enberg:
• that he was a defendant in a lawsuit the city settled for $250,000 over a police dog attack on a Palo Alto High School student in 2016;
• that he was one of two officers who shot and killed a man who emerged from a group home for mental patients with a gun on Christmas Day 2015. However, the two officers were cleared of any wrongdoing in the shooting by the district attorney;
• and that is one of eight defendants in a $10 million lawsuit alleging police brutality involving an attack on Julio Arevalo outside Happy Donuts.
“It’s really clear that there’s something messed up in Palo Alto’s police department. This is not the first problem in the police department. You are well aware of the other incidents that have occurred in Palo Alto PD and it is now affecting Mountain View residents,” Damerdji said. “So please, settle immediately with Mr. Alejo and pay him the money that he needs and is owed.”
Aram James, a former public defender, called for the District Attorney Jeff Rosen to charge Enberg with attempted murder and assault with a deadly weapon. Rosen’s office previously told the Post it would not charge any officers in the attack.
Raven Malone, a Palo Alto resident who lost a bid for city council last year, was also highly critical of police and noted that the department failed to release anything about the dog attack when it happened last June.
The attack came to light in January after the Daily Post obtained a legal claim filed against the cities of Mountain View and Palo Alto by the victim, Joel Domingo Alejo.
“The fact that this is happening in June and we’re just now finding out about it shows that we still don’t have transparency within our police department, which is also unacceptable. This was a blatant use of excessive force. They didn’t even ask who he was before using an attack dog,” Malone said.
She added that officers found to have used excessive force in Palo Alto should be fired and also told the council that though some of them may “feel like we only have a few bad apples in our police department, but a few bad apples spoils the whole bunch and we’re no longer welcoming any spoiled bunches in our community.”
Mountain View resident Eva Tang told council she wants Enberg gone too and that Palo Alto should settle Alejo’s claim.
“I really hate conflict and I really hate to call for someone to be fired from their job, but I don’t think that I want officer Enberg to be serving our public in this way,” Tang said. “I feel very uncomfortable with that.”
The comments came six days after the cities of Mountain View and Palo Alto released body-cam video of the attack, as is required by state law.
On June 25 at about 2:30 a.m., Mountain View police were searching for a kidnapper in the 1900 block of Elsie Ave.
Mountain View asked Palo Alto for the use of one of its canine teams, a dog and an officer trained to handle the dog. Police searched nearby homes, including at least two others in the 1800 block of Elsie.
The video shows Enberg commanding a police dog named Balko to continually bite Alejo while he slept in his backyard. After Alejo had been repeatedly bitten, police realized they had the wrong man.