Santa Clara settles police excessive force lawsuit for $6.7 million

SANTA CLARA, Calif. (KGO) -- Santa Clara's City Council approved a $6.7 million settlement by the city's insurance carrier with a woman, identified as Danielle (Harmon) Burfine, who filed a federal lawsuit alleging excessive force, home invasion, and retaliation that caused her permanent and disabling injuries.

The city says the settlement "minimizes further legal costs for the city; dismisses as defendants the involved police officers and Chief of Police; and, bars the plaintiff from bringing further claims."

This all stems from an incident in April, 2016. Officers were trying to arrest the plaintiff's 15 year old daughter as a suspect in an arson fire at Santa Clara High School on April 4, 2016.

The officers can be seen on body cam video kicking in the door. The woman eventually broke her ankle in the confrontation with officers. Police say it was an accident and not from excessive force. Santa Clara's City Attorney, Brian Doyle said, "Although there was significant disagreement about the extent of the injury, there was no dispute that the plaintiff sustained a broken ankle in the course of the entry to the plaintiff's home without a warrant. The city's insurer determined that the most prudent course of action was for it to pay an amount that would result in settlement."

Police Chief Mike Sellers says he's extremely disappointed with the settlement and would have liked to have presented all the evidence and video to a judge. He says his officers acted within the law and was surprised how quickly the city settled with the plaintiff.
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