The city of Palo Alto paid $135,000 to a man who was bitten by a police dog while he was innocently sleeping in a backyard, according to a settlement agreement released today (Jan. 5).
In exchange for the payment, Joel Alejo will release the city of all liability from the incident.
It’s the fifth lawsuit related to police misconduct that Palo Alto has settled since February 2016, amounting to $1,282,500 including the Alejo case.
The settlement stems from a dog attack on June 25, 2020, at 1847 Elsie Ave. in Mountain View that hospitalized Alejo with gashes on his leg.
Alejo was sleeping in his family’s backyard while police were searching for a kidnapping suspect around 2:30 a.m.
Palo Alto Agent Nick Enberg responded with his German shepherd. He entered the property through the side gate and came across Alejo laying down in a shed.
Enberg then ordered his dog in Czechoslovakian to bite — “dirsh” — and he repeated the command over 30 times while Alejo yelled and tried to get the dog off of him.
Alejo turned out not to be the person that police were looking for. He was taken to the hospital with exposed fat cells and damaged nerves, according to his lawsuit.
District Attorney Jeff Rosen didn’t file charges against Enberg, who still handles a police dog, according to a September police report.