Problems of police reforms take center stage | July 3, 2020 | Palo Alto Weekly | Palo Alto Online |

Palo Alto Weekly

News - July 3, 2020

Problems of police reforms take center stage

Police chiefs, community leaders recommend steps to make officers more accountable

by Gennady Sheyner

Ron Davis believes reforming the police is not enough. It's time to reimagine it.

This story contains 1956 words.

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Staff Writer Gennady Sheyner can be emailed at [email protected]


9 people like this
Posted by Midtown Local
a resident of Midtown
on Jun 26, 2020 at 10:58 am

That was an excellent panel last night. Thanks very much for hosting. Let's keep up the momentum for systemic change.

10 people like this
Posted by BLM
a resident of Greenmeadow
on Jun 26, 2020 at 11:40 am

I’ve seen a lot of bootlicking in conversations like this, so I’m very grateful that some concrete ideas cane out of this panel. I did see that redistributing a lot of police funds to other departments was a topic not discussed in this article and it’s important that that is kept in the conversation. But I appreciate a lot of the ideas mentioned here, and am more hopeful than before that maybe this police department can improve (as long as they treat the the 8 can’t wait policies as a starting point not an end point)

I do have to note, too, that government officials need to stop being afraid of police unions as, unlike every other union which protects Innocent workers, they protect corrupt cops and uphold white supremacy within their ranks. Just something to note going forward. The police work for the government and the people, not the other way around.

62 people like this
Posted by Nayeli
a resident of Midtown
on Jun 26, 2020 at 11:51 am

While any act of racism or stereotyping is inherently wrong, I do question the headline for this article. I don't believe that there is a problem with "systemic racism" in police departments throughout America.

Yes, there are some bad cops. However, there are also bad individuals too. We shouldn't generalize and stereotype an entire group on the basis of the examples of those much smaller numbers of bad individuals.

I applaud any attempt to stamp out racism from the acts and behaviors of individuals. I also agree that violent procedures are unnecessary if the person being questioned or apprehended is not an imminent threat or a person with a history of violence. I think that such steps will go a long way.

However, this doesn't address some of the actual roots of the problems.

Most of the "violence" involving police happens when individuals being questioned or detained resist, struggle with or run from police.

Obviously, this doesn't excuse the type of behavior that led to the death of George Floyd (even if he had a long criminal history of violence). If he was handcuffed, then he was no longer a threat. The officer(s) in question should be prosecuted for his/their actions.

My issue is with the assumption that there is "systemic racism" throughout American police departments. Most police officers are outstanding women and men. They do a very difficult (and often thankless) job under what can often be extreme duress.

Just like we shouldn't allow anecdotal examples of bad behavior to formulate a stereotype or generalization in our minds toward a racial or ethnic group, so we shouldn't allow the same thing to be perpetrated about law enforcement in this country.

Perhaps the solution is in the classroom. Children should not just be taught about "diversity" to learn or celebrate our differences. Rather, children should be taught about the dangers of formulating stereotypes and generalizations based upon perceptions or what we see in the news. We should strive to teach empathy. We should also strive to teach that it is NOT okay to resist arrest or struggle with a police officer (lest the outcome turns violent).

I know that what I am saying (or, at least, trying to say) isn't particularly popular in the last month of protests, riots, statue destruction and efforts of activism. However, I think that this is some reasonable thought that we should at least give pause to consider.

As a Hispanic woman (and an immigrant who struggled with language) and former migrant farm worker, I've never experienced racism with police officers. However, I have faced stereotypes and generalizations by ordinary people (including people here on Palo Alto Online).

20 people like this
Posted by John
a resident of Adobe-Meadow
on Jun 26, 2020 at 11:53 am

Will anything be proposed to improve “The Community’s” rampant, pathological criminality? If you’re going to define policing by a horrific and criminal 9 minutes, perhaps we can also identify and analyze who is predominantly doing the murders, robberies and assaults that frequently brings them into contact with police? People have will and agency. To blame criminal behavior solely on external factors like “systemic racism” is an excuse. [Portion removed.]

1 person likes this
Posted by Mark Weiss
a resident of Downtown North
on Jun 26, 2020 at 4:29 pm

On my way home from an appointment last night around eight about 200 marchers and a half dozen cars passed me or cut me off at University and high, heading East.
On June 6 my bike ride was interrupted by 5,000 people not 2,000 people at City Hall, people texted me that it was the mayor and a congresswoman speaking. I could not get close enough to see the mic. (By the way. 19 days apartment).
I will sit out until the Covid thing is completely done but duly noted Black Lives Matter.

4 people like this
Posted by Open Your Eyes
a resident of Mountain View
on Jun 26, 2020 at 6:50 pm

There absolutely is no excuse to say something as ignorant as systemic racism not existing in policing... Systemic racism is in every single aspect of american culture. Every single one. But if you aren’t convinced here’s some articles about racism in policing. And there’s even more on the internet. We’re all adults and have access to google and are able to inform ourselves and not make ridiculous statements.

Web Link

Web Link

Web Link

Web Link

Web Link

44 people like this
Posted by Nayeli
a resident of Midtown
on Jun 26, 2020 at 7:51 pm

@ Open Your Eyes - It's not an "excuse" or a "ridiculous claim." Obviously, racism exists. I've experienced it. However, I don't believe that racism is SYSTEMIC in law enforcement.

I looked at those op-ed pieces that you cited. However, the stats just don't corroborate the oft-repeated claims.

While there are a very small number of cops who have done bad things, most members of law enforcement are doing very good jobs under otherwise difficult circumstances.

9 people like this
Posted by Anne
a resident of Midtown
on Jun 27, 2020 at 12:08 am

Not surprising at all to hear PAPD Chief Jonson defending the status quo. He's part of the problem! Police unions need to be tamed.

2 people like this
Posted by Concerned East Palo Alto Resident
a resident of East Palo Alto
on Jun 27, 2020 at 12:47 am

Are you kidding? East Palo Alto Police Department being a model to other police departments?
The East Palo Alto Chief says that he train nis officers, let me give you an example of how well he trains them. Here they are at action, showing what they learned at the trainings, and actually these is the way they really behave.
Web Link
The EPAPD is a disgrace to our community, the behavior of these officers and the staff are not able to control themselves, and put people down for speaking up.

34 people like this
Posted by Resident
a resident of Midtown
on Jun 27, 2020 at 5:32 am

Taking the George Floyd event and applying it to ALL cops in ALL cities everywhere in the nation is a massive generalization that is:

1. Extremely irrational, with no statistics to back it up
2. Extremely unfair to cops everywhere because the SJW mob always needs a target to hate and to demonize

Its trendy to look for "systemic racism" in literally everything, whether real or imagined, and then isolate those deemed "racists" (should be saying the word: heretic) and destroy their reputations and careers because of something they once said on twitter. Anyone who challenges the mainstream/academic/social justice narrative is instantly deemed as evil for daring to have an independent idea that goes against the grain. The effect of this is stultifying, but you can't keep people silent forever. It provokes a backlash and a counter-movement.

Very interesting read if you're looking for alternative viewpoints:

Web Link

3 people like this
Posted by ALB
a resident of College Terrace
on Jun 27, 2020 at 4:39 pm

The town hall exceeded my expectations. Please schedule more of these town halls on a REGULAR basis concerning this very topic. Chief Al Pardini argues that arbitration needs to be discarded and instead have judges perform this role en lieu of attorneys. The police unions are fraternal organizations where lack of transparency is paramount. How to change this entrenched culture? It must be legislated. The empowering of the police union goes back to Republican legislation.

These town halls need to be scheduled at least once a month. This is a good beginning but all of the speakers need to break bread and dig further in order to facilitate change in our broken system.

29 people like this
Posted by Nayeli
a resident of Midtown
on Jun 27, 2020 at 6:51 pm

@ALB wrote: "The empowering of the police union goes back to Republican legislation."

Wait. What? Where are you getting this from?

Police unions began in cities that were primarily controlled by politicians in the Democratic Party. In fact, prior to the social ideology divide that is paramount in politics today, one of the primary differences between the Democratic Party and the Republican Party was union support.

Web Link.

Republicans have largely opposed PUBLIC unions in the public service sector (e.g., law enforcement, firefighters, air traffic controllers, etc.) or much of the "must-belong-to-a-union" rules that was common in Democratic Party strongholds.

6 people like this
Posted by Latino
a resident of Juana Briones School
on Jun 27, 2020 at 10:19 pm

If this was a conversation about racism, why is fixated on black and white? This is Palo Alto, and the issues with police brutality have been with Latinos. There was the big payout to the gentleman getting his face smashed into a windshield, and then there was the current issue of the Happy Donuts customer getting his face smashed into the concrete. I believe in Black Lives Matter, but let's be perfectly honest, Latinos do not in Palo Alto or in the Bay Area.

3 people like this
Posted by ALB
a resident of College Terrace
on Jun 28, 2020 at 11:02 pm

To all including Nayell please read the article in the June 18, 2020 issue of The New Yorker entitled, How Police Unions Enable and Conceal Abuses of Power by Steven Greenhouse.

Like this comment
Posted by Resident 1-Adobe Meadows
a resident of Adobe-Meadow
on Jun 28, 2020 at 11:56 pm

The editorial sections of the papers are indicating that the CA AG - Becerra is protecting the bag cops. He is not releasing info on the ones that are a problem. SO the problem is at the top of the line here.

1 person likes this
Posted by Resident 1-Adobe Meadows
a resident of Adobe-Meadow
on Jun 29, 2020 at 12:01 am

The George Floyd situation - the two knew each other - they both worked as bouncers at a club. And they did not get along in that situation. I see that as more of a relationship issue vs a police issue - except the two other cops got involved. Turns out the two other cops were fairly new so not a lot of experience on their parts.

7 people like this
Posted by Resident
a resident of Midtown
on Jun 29, 2020 at 5:31 am

The New Yorker is not a legit magazine.
How come people on here always back up their assertions by providing links to extremely biased "news" organizations like the washington post and new york times?
If only they hadn't worked so hard to sabotage their own credibility....
You think reading fake news proves your point? Think again.

4 people like this
Posted by Bill Bucy
a resident of Barron Park
on Jun 29, 2020 at 7:57 am

It's the lack of accountability that's the problem. My argument is here.

Web Link

Like this comment
Posted by C
a resident of Palo Verde
on Jun 30, 2020 at 11:04 am

I'd go a step further and look at schools and education to reduce crime. I don't how if this applies more on a national level than local, but focusing only on the police doesn't address the admittedly more complex underlying issues behind crime.

Why education reduces crime
Web Link

Also, an article I found says that for every dollar spent on prison education reduces crime by five dollars, and this obviously doesn't include the quality of life that an education provides.

Education Opportunities in Prison Are Key to Reducing Crime
Web Link

5 people like this
Posted by Resident 1-Adobe Meadows
a resident of Adobe-Meadow
on Jul 1, 2020 at 10:01 pm

I think we need to analyze how the "Sanctuary City" rules affect current policing. That in effect is racism. People are not treated equally within the law. Someone who is knowledgeable on the subject needs to determine what has changed under that law(s) and see if that is changing how police do their jobs.

We keep reading about someone who has been caught and has a lengthy profile of lawlessness - and there they are - out on the street doing the same things over and over. We have repeat criminals out there who are in and out of jail. The police are doing their job and the judicial system is writing get out of jail free cards. The systems are broken and some people are working to perpetuate the continued lawlessness. We need to identify the people who keep writing these laws, the judges who keep perpetuating these laws, And see how the ACLU is functioning within these situations.

13 people like this
Posted by Reality Check
a resident of Midtown
on Jul 2, 2020 at 12:14 pm

The only "systemic racism" that has existed in this country in the lifetime of any living person is the systematic limits on East Asian enrollment in universities.

Bizarrely, no one is even allowed to talk about it.

Like this comment
Posted by Resident 1-Adobe Meadows
a resident of Adobe-Meadow
on Jul 3, 2020 at 10:34 pm

Just need to ask - why "East Asians" vs "Asians"? Is there something there I am not picking up on? UCLA had a good percentage of foreign students when I was in the mix. If you looked at the year book you could see whole schools within the university system that had Asian students. Los Angeles always seems to provide a contrast to what we experience in this area. But they have a large Asian population in LA.

1 person likes this
Posted by I Might Have the Corona Virus
a resident of Midtown
on Jul 5, 2020 at 2:06 am

Palo Alto Police Police Department's Mission on their website reads: To proudly serve and protect the public with respect and integrity.
But in this video you will see Palo Alto Police Officer J. Salkeld #6647, not wearing a mask, not keeping social distance coughing on a person who is recording police activity, and then he says
"Maybe I have the Corona Virus." There is a total of 5 police officers involved, and only one is wearing a mask.
Two of the police officers are very close with no mask.These officers are not serving or protecting or serving the public with respect or integrity. I think that this police was in fact sick, because he coughed more than once in just couple of minutes. She shall stay home, if he is not going to wear a mask, he might be infecting people when he is going around cough gin like that.
Web Link
He coughs at 12:35 and mentions the Corona Virus at 12:37, and he coughs again at 13:40. I would not like to shake hands with this officer. Good Luck to the other officers who are with Officer Salkeld. They first need training on keeping the public and coworkers safe and healthy.

Like this comment
Posted by Anon
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Jul 5, 2020 at 10:58 am

Posted by Reality Check, a resident of Midtown

>> The only "systemic racism" that has existed in this country in the lifetime of any living person is the systematic limits on East Asian enrollment in universities.

Are you referring to Chinese Americans or Chinese nationals? In California, the state schools UC and CSU and CC system are tax supported and exist primarily to support California residents. California residents are supposed to get priority. In fact, at one point in time, UC committed to admitting the top 12-1/2% of California HS grads. That % has dropped over time to allow for the admission of high-paying out-of-state and foreign students.

IOW, I'm not sure what point you are trying to make. At least as far as UC is concerned, all student, including Chinese American students, have to be admitted to a UC school if they meet the admission criteria-- I think the number has dropped to top 9%.

With respect to almost any US university, AFAIK, they are no obligation to admit any foreign students at all-- but, almost all do, because there are wealthy people from all over the world who want to send their kids to a US university.

11 people like this
Posted by Jesse Smith
a resident of Green Acres
on Jul 5, 2020 at 2:20 pm

Why doesn't the Palo Alto police publish the race of crime suspects anymore? What are they trying to hide?

Like this comment
Posted by Anon
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Jul 5, 2020 at 9:16 pm

Posted by Jesse Smith, a resident of Green Acres

>> Why doesn't the Palo Alto police publish the race of crime suspects anymore? >> What are they trying to hide?

It would be more helpful if they published the suspects shoe size. How does the saying go? If you aren't sure if you are part of the solution, then, ... ?

8 people like this
Posted by Reality Check
a resident of Midtown
on Jul 6, 2020 at 5:39 pm


Because that would destroy their narrative about why certain groups are over-represented in arrests and imprisonment. Leftists have a good grift going, and too much money and power is at stake.

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