A Palo Alto police sergeant charged in a federal lawsuit with using excessive force against a man because he is gay, has retired.
The Mercury News reports: “Sgt. Wayne Benitez retired from the department on Sept. 30 and began collecting a monthly pension of $9,866 — earning him an annual retirement package of about $118,600, according to Amy Morgan, information officer for the California Public Employees’ Retirement System. … In April, attorneys representing Palo Alto resident Gustavo Alvarez filed a federal civil rights lawsuit, which is still ongoing, against Palo Alto, its police department and six of its employees, including Officer Christopher Conde, Officer Thomas Alan Destefano Jr. and Sgt. Benitez.”
KCBS reported: “According to court documents, in February, 2018, five Palo Alto police officers kicked down Gustavo Alvarez’ door and ripped him from his home, then slammed him onto the hood of his car — knocking out some of his teeth — all while taunting him for being gay. The encounter happened after Alvarez had refused to be detained for allegedly driving with a suspended license, he said. Alvarez was booked for DUI and resisting arrest. Those charges were later dropped for lack of evidence.”
Said Alvarez’s lawyer to the Mercury News: “Obviously the police department and the city of Palo Alto thus far have failed to step up and condemn the actions of these officers. To think that taxpayers are still rewarding (Benitez) is incomprehensible at this point in time and history. It’s disgusting and symptomatic of a department that tolerates its employees breaking the law.”