$525K Settlement for San Jose Victim of Brain Damage Inducing Police Assault

On Tuesday, December  6th, the City of San Jose, California agreed to pay Dawit Alemayehu $525,000 in settlement for permanent brain damage he suffered at the hands of San Jose police officer Jorge Garibay. Alemayehu was 26 in 2013 when he was arrested on suspicion of public drunkenness. Following a miscommuncation between Alemayehu and another officer about removing his belt while handcuffed, Garibay knocked Alemayehu face down to the concrete ground with a leg sweep.

Garibay initially alleged that Alemayehu, who blacked out following his fall and ultimately suffered cranial bleeding, vision impairment and seizures as a consequence of it, was kicking at him and reaching for a knife; the charges were subsequently dropped. "Were both really dismayed that it took this long to resolve the case and that my client had to go through all this," said Steven Berki, one of Alemayehu's attorneys. "This could have been resolved a lot sooner." Berki added that the case was "unique because I don't think that the San Jose officer and the jail staff knew they were being videotaped. Our client was unconscious and you really get to see the interaction of the officers... how they were laughing."

Garibay remains employed with the San Jose Police Department's Bureau of Field Operations at the time of writing.