SANTA CLARA, Calif. (KTVU) - A San Jose woman is receiving $6.7 million from the City of Santa Clara after she broke her ankle last year trying to prevent police from entering her home without a warrant. The attorney for Danielle Harmon Burfine claims his client now has a permanent nerve condition and may never work again.
Video from a police body camera shows Santa Clara police officers break down Burfine’s door. It appears a struggle ensues. You then see her on the ground screaming in pain.
“My ankle is broken!” said Burfine. “Sir please my ankle is broken.”
It happened April of last year at Burfine’s San Jose home. Officers were trying to arrest Burfine’s 15-year-old daughter who was a suspect in an arson at a snack shack at Santa Clara High School. Burfine refused to let police in without a warrant.
“Any competent officers would know that the U.S. Constitution requires a warrant before you enter a person’s house,” said Burfine’s Attorney Michael Haddad.
In the video, Burfine is hysterical as she's detained. Her attorney claims it took officers seven minutes to call an ambulance.
“It shows an arrogance, a lack of sympathy and a lack of humanity in the face of a person’s horrible suffering,” said Haddad.
The City of Santa Clara announced a $6.7 million settlement with Burfine.
In a statement, City Attorney Brian Doyle said, “Although there was a significant disagreement about the extent of the injury, there was no dispute that the plaintiff sustained a broken ankle in the course of entry to the plaintiff's home without a warrant.”
“In this particular incident, I strongly feel and believe my officers did nothing wrong and I support them,” said Santa Clara Police Chief Michael Sellers.
Chief Sellers said his officers acted professionally, at one point giving Burfine tea. He said Burfine accidentally tripped on her own rolling her ankle and what you don't see in the video is her stating that it was an accident.
“It was strictly an accident and she even said that on her own,” said Chief Sellers. “I am not pleased with the dollar amount. I’m very upset about that. I wish we could have had our day in court.”
The Chief said his officers entered the home without a warrant given it was a "fresh pursuit.” When KTVU asked how the dollar amount was reached, Haddad said his client now has lifelong medical bills that are in the millions of dollars and lost wages for the rest of her life.
None of the officers involved in the encounter were disciplined.
Here’s a link to the police body camera video on YouTube.