Woman Wins $6.7 Million Settlement After Cops Broke Her Ankle After Police Try Breaking Into Her Home


SANTA CLARA — A San Jose woman will receive a $6.7 million settlement from the city of Santa Clara after her leg was broken trying to prevent police officers from entering her home without a warrant to arrest her teenage daughter last year, her attorney and the city announced Wednesday.

The settlement resolves a federal civil-rights lawsuit filed on behalf of Danielle Burfine, who was injured on April 12, 2016 at her home in the Rose Garden neighborhood of San Jose. She refused entry to Santa Clara officers who identified her 15-year-old daughter as one of two suspects in the arson of a snack shack at Santa Clara High School eight days earlier that caused $350,000 in damage.

A Santa Clara police sergeant kicked in the front door and at some point Burfine, whose last name was Harmon when the lawsuit was filed last year, fell to the the ground — the sides disagree on whether she was thrown — and her leg hit a stone pillar. Her daughter was later located upstairs in the home and arrested, and later convicted in the arson.

On Wednesday, attorney Michael Haddad released body-camera footage recorded by one of the responding officers, and it depicts Burfine screaming in pain for most of the 12-minute video. Haddad added that Burfine developed Complex Regional Pain Syndrome, a chronic pain condition he said “is likely to be permanently disabling.”

“This shocking video shows obvious excessive force, wrongful entry without a warrant, and extreme callousness as Danielle broke her ankle and cried in pain,” Haddad said.

The Santa Clara City Council approved the settlement Tuesday.

“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,’’ City Attorney Brian Doyle said in a statement. “The city’s insurer determined that the most prudent course of action was for it to pay an amount that would result in the settlement.”

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