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San Jose Ordered To Pay $3.2M In Child Seizure Suit

In the largest recent judgment against San Jose police, a federal jury on Friday awarded a family $3.25 million after siding with the parents, who accused officers of stealing their young children and placing them in protective custody.

The award came two days after a U.S. District Court jury in San Jose ruled that detective William Hoyt and Sgt. Craig Blank violated the constitutional rights of Tracy Watson, Renee Stalker, and their children after the officers entered their home without a warrant in 2005 and seized the children, who were kept from their parents for more than a year.

“It’s the most horrific thing (that) no parent should ever have to go through, no child should ever have to go through,” Watson, 49, a marketer who now lives in Napa, said Friday. The “police charging into your house, stealing your kids.”

At the time, police had become alarmed by the strange sexual behavior exhibited by the family’s 8-year-old daughter, and the father’s lack of cooperation during their abuse investigation. But the family argued the girl had never told investigators she had been molested, and there was no evidence of abuse…Read More