Palo Alto, CA — Gustavo Alvarez — despite not having a criminal record — says he's been repeated harassed by Palo Alto police. So, two years ago, he had surveillance cameras installed on his home in case his fears of police harassment ever materialized on his doorstep. Earlier this year, that is exactly what happened. Only because Alvarez had these cameras installed is he a free man today.
"I wanted to have proof of what they were doing because I want them to stop harassing me," Alvarez said of why he installed the cameras.
Earlier this year, police accused Alvarez — without any evidence — of driving on a suspended license. Instead of issuing a summons or a citation, the Palo Alto police department sent a unit to Alvarez's residence. When the officer confronted Alvarez, Alvarez asked him if he saw him driving a car, to which the officer replied, "No I did not."
After realizing he was simply receiving more harassment without any evidence of a crime, Alvarez went inside his home and closed the door.
"His opinion [was] that there was no legal justification to detain him," said Alvarez's attorney Cody Salfen. "And that ended up being true because the judge at the Superior Court level found that the officers lacked reasonable suspicion to detain him."
Instead of realizing they had no legal reason to detain him, the officer called for backup and a half dozen heavily armed cops showed up at Alvarez's home — over an alleged traffic ticket. One of those cops was Sgt. Wayne Benitez who appeared to take pleasure in doling out pain to the innocent gay man.
As the video shows, police rip Alvarez from his home where he is slammed on the hood of his car. Benitez then begins punching and slamming Alvarez for no reason at all. He punches Alvarez in the ribs, then the face, and then slams his face into the windshield causing Alvarez to start bleeding as a tooth is knocked loose.