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Palo Alto officially condemns racial profiling

Original post made on Nov 11, 2008

Palo Alto leaders reaffirmed the city's stand against racial profiling Monday night, publicly condemning the practice and vowing to investigate whether it's being practiced in Palo Alto.

Read the full story here Web Link posted Tuesday, November 11, 2008, 3:12 AM

Comments (161)

Posted by Susan L
a resident of Palo Verde School
on Nov 11, 2008 at 3:43 am

I think that the City Council should show more support for Police Chief Johnson, who may have misspoken but was nonetheless right on target with the issue. Recently there has been a dramatic upswing in crimes against people just walking down the street-in broad daylight, and according to witnesses,the crimes were committed by black men, . Of course Police Officers need to have contact with people who match the description of the suspects AND/OR are doing something else that appears suspicious to an Officer. What else would you have them do? Do you want those responsible for public safety to be UNREASONABLY cowed or restrained by a (false) need to be politically correct? Yes, they need to be fair and even handed, but no one is really suggesting that is not occurring-instead there is this great hue and cry because people do not want to face the truth! Should the Palo Alto Police sit back and watch while thugs take over what used to be a very safe place to live/work/shop? I am a native Palo Altan and though I live in the surrounding area, I am in Palo Alto several times a week, patronizing various merchants. I plan to increase my spending in Palo Alto in the coming weeks,to show my support for the Chief of Police, who I believe, is being unfairly scapegoated. The original problem remains, and everyone should be focused on resolving that; and city leaders should show some support for the Chief instead of apologizing for the truth and allowing the City to be overrun by criminals.

Posted by Wilson
a resident of Duveneck/St. Francis
on Nov 11, 2008 at 4:36 am

From the article above:
Betty Ann Bryant said her son was pulled over by Palo Alto police
for having the light on his license plate go out on the day he got
his driver's license, which was also his 18th birthday.

"There is a dirty, dark secret right here," Bryant said.
"Racial profiling does exist in Palo Alto. I don't know how
you're training your officers, but my son, on this 18th birthday,
got introduced to the police department."

It must have been night time for the license plate light to have been on, and visible to a police officer. The officer would have most likely seen the vehicle from the rear--making it a little difficult to know the race of the vehicle's driver. It would most likely have been dark, so it also might have been impossible for the officer to have known the race of the driver prior to initiating the traffic stop.

The "mother" did not mention whether or not her son was given a ticket, or whether he was giving a warning and released without a citation. She also did not provide any evidences as to how she knew that light went out on her son's birthday, rather than previous to that time.

The article provides no evidence as to whether the young man was driving in a way that might have brought attention to him (had he been out drinking to celebrate his birthday?), or how the officer who stopped him treated him. Nor is there any evidence that the young man was treated poorly by the Palo Alto Police during his detention.

Clearly, Betty Anne Bryant (home city not revealed in this article) seems to be angry that Palo Alto enforces the vehicular safety requirements of drivers and vehicle owners.

Given the information in this article, there is absolutely no evidence of racial profiling in this situation. However, this lady seems to believe that enforcing the vehicular laws is a "prima facia" case of racial profiling by coming to this City Hall meeting to vilify the Palo Alto police.

Maybe Palo Alto needs to put up signs on the roads coming into town notifying drivers that all vehicular safety codes will be enforced. It might not cause people visiting Palo Alto to repair their cars so that they are fully safe to drive--but it might help to remind visitors what to expect when they are stopped for "no reason".

Posted by Sick&Tired
a resident of Crescent Park
on Nov 11, 2008 at 5:21 am

Wilson, You must have been a private investigator in a previous life. Good work.

If there were incidents of people being attacked by white men, I would want the police to make a statement that they were looking for white men. And, even though white, I would not complain, because I would WANT THE OFFENDERS CAUGHT. It's as simple as that. And I wonder if cries of "racial profiling" would occur then?

Chief Johnson should be supported. I feel sorry for her for having to fight for her job over telling the truth.

Posted by common sense
a resident of Midtown
on Nov 11, 2008 at 6:06 am

So City Council - what's your plan to address the street crimes?

Mr Mayor - You promise no racial profiling. When will you promise to catch the criminals? when will you promise to make the streets safer again? What is your plan - please show the citizens how you plan on making them safe to walk the streets in broad daylight.

Posted by Walter_E_Wallis
a resident of Midtown
on Nov 11, 2008 at 7:19 am

Walter_E_Wallis is a registered user.

Racial profiling produces rousts and sunset laws [don't let the sun set on your *** in town, boy!] Palo Alto has nothing approaching that. Every citizen has an obligation to cooperate with law enforcement even at some inconvenience. Law enforcement isn't a game of Simon Says.

Posted by me
a resident of Midtown
on Nov 11, 2008 at 8:19 am

Susan, well put. no one else should add any comments, yours are spot on.

Posted by Commoner
a resident of Community Center
on Nov 11, 2008 at 8:20 am

Actually, Palo Alto at one time DID have signs placed at some city limits stating that the Vehicle Laws will be strictly enforced.
There is nothing wrong with posting such statements, even today. Redwood City has some 'creative' anti speeding signs around town. I say bring back the signs!
It can't hurt a thing. It's not even re-defining anything, so there shouldn't be any controversy, right?

Posted by Resident
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Nov 11, 2008 at 8:50 am

I just haven't seen as much time spent by the council discussing their stance on crime in Palo Alto. Maybe they are not as concerned about that as their image.

All this now does is give any African American criminal a head start in Palo Alto because now he knows that if he is stopped he can claim racial profiling, even if he is carrying the stolen goods.

Posted by peter s
a resident of College Terrace
on Nov 11, 2008 at 8:51 am

Well done Wilson in exposing Betty Ann Bryant!

Such claims are among the tactics taught to and employed by" community activists"The aim is to inflame the community and eventually provoked someone to say some thing thoughtless.

This is, in fact, what has been going on since the activist lawyer sandbagged the chief at the public meeting and has continued in an orchestrated fashion ever since.

The goal is, of course money and power.
The community activists ask for redress in financial terms through the aid of a "sympathetic" lawyer.
Then then set the political term of settlement by demanding firing,new appointments oversight boards etc.

Palo Alto is being played like a fiddle by skilled activists, I know I used to be one in the 70s, it is right out of the play book we were taught.

Posted by Quality of Life Infractions
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Nov 11, 2008 at 8:52 am

Racial profiling is illegal. Get over it.

New York City used the tactic of enforcing "quality of life" laws such as minor traffic infractions or excessive noise from car stereos. Start enforcing the stop signs or strictly enforce the speed limit. Pull vehicles over for doing 26 mph in a 25 mph zone and do a background check.

Posted by very1silent
a resident of Charleston Meadows
on Nov 11, 2008 at 8:53 am

There's a long history of towns in the north and west posting signs as a means of discouraging nonwhites from coming to town. Putting up a warning sign, even one with race-neutral wording, would be a really inflammatory act right now, and is not a good idea.

The right thing to do would be for the police to gain the trust of potential witnesses by treating people equitably and fairly. We're far more likely to be able to identify criminals if the people who see them aren't afraid of the police.

Posted by Anne
a resident of Old Palo Alto
on Nov 11, 2008 at 9:10 am

I am not afraid of the police because I have done nothing wrong and have nothing to hide.

Enforce minor traffic and DMV laws and the Thugs will leave town, they do not get here by train, bus or foot.

How do think they get here and make their getaway, ask yourself?

Posted by Anne not afraid!
a resident of Charleston Gardens
on Nov 11, 2008 at 9:45 am

Because she's not black!

Posted by Replace Johnson
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Nov 11, 2008 at 9:46 am

Yes, quite the council meeting--all of the members putting on their usual acts, pretending that this matter really is important to them.
Jack Morton, once again proving that he is on another planet, brought up an anecdote about his son getting stopped by police and assuming that it wasn't due to skin color--yo, Jack--it is minorities that get stopped by police for bogus reasons--your son is white!!!
Yoriko was in tears apparently--she was always a good actress or maybe she had an onion in her tissue.
Jay Boyarsky voiced unqualified support for Johnson---and why not--he was caught with his dog off leash, but was never cited or arrested--the police know not to bother him.

Posted by Politically Correct
a resident of another community
on Nov 11, 2008 at 9:52 am

Clearly, if the Palo Alto police pull over a car for having a non-functioning tail light, and then discover that the driver if black, the officer should immediately apologize, wish the occupants a good evening, and send them on their way. Anything else, such as writing up a repair ticket, would be seen as racial profiling incident and be cause for great concern and possibly more marches.

Is there an alternative for an officer that has inadvertently stopped a black person that would not raise cries of racial profiling? What else could he do?

Posted by Fedup!
a resident of another community
on Nov 11, 2008 at 9:53 am

I think that the police should just chill out, buy a few lounge chairs, watch some television, and wait while the crime continues to rise. Then you will see the council begin to yell and scream about the crime and you will even likely see them propose "new resolutions" to combat crime! Everyone wants to jump on the racial profiling bandwagon and I am just fed up with it! Let's face a staggering fact, the vast majority of crime that occurs in Palo Alto is committed by folks living in cities outside of Palo Alto. Did you hear me? This does include E. Palo Alto! The bay area's racial demographics have changed. What we once considered a minority in the bay area are is no longer the same. Whites no longer represent the majority in the bay area as a whole. Considering this and the fact that the region is one big metropolitan area with bridges and roads that connect it all for a quick and easy commute, one could deduce that the racial makeup of a certain city should not be looked at with such scrutiny. Rather it should be the racial makeup of the entire bay area that is used to compare statistics of stops by the police. The criminals have cars and drive or buy a bus/train ticket and commute just like you and I. We have to stop looking at the racial issue and start looking at the criminal side of the picture. I'm fed up with everyone being so PC about this issue. Times have changed and with that statistics have changed too! I for one support the police and am fed up with everyone chastising them for doing a job that very few of us would have the desire or ability to do. Job well done Palo Alto Police!

Posted by Charles Bogle
a resident of Old Palo Alto
on Nov 11, 2008 at 10:01 am

Seems like Palo Alto isn't the liberal haven most have imagined. Ethnocentrism is alive and well. Perhaps we should have separate drinking fountains and bathrooms on the ole plantation er farm. What about the thieves that rob us of our civil rights? PAPD please don't protect me.

Posted by Archie Bunker
a resident of Palo Alto Orchards
on Nov 11, 2008 at 10:18 am


S:(n) racial profiling (a form of racism consisting of the (alleged)policy of police officers who stop and search vehicles driven by persons belonging to particular racial groups.

Looks like the Chief is busted!

Posted by let the police do their job!
a resident of Ventura
on Nov 11, 2008 at 10:24 am

Enough of this bullsh*t! The police aren't racial profiling, they are trying to catch someone matching a certain description. If they were looking for a white guy with red hair, they'd probably stop anyone matching taht description too.

The PA police have long been afraid to do their job because they might be accused of racial profiling. I was told that by an officer 3 or 4 years ago when they refused to go after drug dealers in our park.

How does this make law-abiding citizens feel??? UNSAFE! Let the police do their jobs!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Posted by Replace Johnson
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Nov 11, 2008 at 10:30 am

let the police do their job!--please go back and read Johnson's comments--she made it quite clear that even though some of the perps were discribed as white, she would have her police stop ALL AFRICAN-AMERICAN MALES--she did not qualify the comment by saying that they would be stopped if they matched the desription. That is profiling. That is wrong and that is why Johnson must go.

Posted by BTM
a resident of Fairmeadow
on Nov 11, 2008 at 10:31 am

I'm glad many of you out there are just as exasperated by this situation as I am. I bet most of you would agree that we would NEVER support police officers simply harassing people based on their race. The police shouldn't be harassing anyone period - its counterproductive.

However, there's been an increase in street crime here in our beloved town, and the suspects have not been caught. Its a bad situation, but if the suspect description matches that of an innocent person, but that's just life. No one wants to be stopped by the police, but then again, no one wants to be the victim of crime.

Have you driven around at night? Can you tell the race of the driver from the rear? Almost impossible! So if you get pulled over for having a broken taillight or for speeding, do the math - you were BREAKING THE LAW! Here's an idea for you: if you don't want to be stopped for minor infractions, how about you stop committing them! Having broken taillights is dangerous - drivers behind you might not know you are going to stop. Speeding is dangerous - if you go to fast, you might lose control of your vehicle or be unable to stop to avoid an accident.

These things seem simple to me - maybe I'm just a racist, white, elitist, rich snob from Palo Alto, but it seems to be common sense that its not OK to harm another person. Its not ok to take or damage someone else's property. You ARE expected to go to school until you are a certain age. In fact, its free! You ARE expected to sit down, be quiet and listen to your teacher. If you are party to making a baby, you MUST do whatever it takes to raise it and teach it the above values. Its so frustratingly simple. If criminals and their enablers would just see the light, we'd erase 90% of social problems in a day.

If you take one honest step towards law-abiding, charitable, compassionate people, they will bend over backwards to help you.

Posted by catlover
a resident of Barron Park
on Nov 11, 2008 at 10:38 am

Whether a Black cat or a white cat, if it catches the mouse it is a good cat. I am proposing taking away the year end bonus from the PA CC and feed it all to the good cats!

Posted by JustMe
a resident of Duveneck/St. Francis
on Nov 11, 2008 at 10:40 am

Charles Bogle wrote:
Seems like Palo Alto isn't the liberal haven most have imagined. Ethnocentrism is alive and well. Perhaps we should have separate drinking fountains and bathrooms on the ole plantation er farm. What about the thieves that rob us of our civil rights? PAPD please don't protect me.

We start getting less liberal when we start getting hit with baseball bats or mugged in the streets. That sort of thing can begin to take the idealism out of you make you think more defensively. What you are seeing, and complaining about, is the growth of the defensive thinking. I agree that defensive thinking must be guided along channels that do not compromise the civil rights of anyone, and some people might leap to politically incorrect potential solutions, but you have to understand where that defensive thinking comes from. There are fewer and fewer people in our neighborhood who have not been robbed, burglarized, vandalized, or even attacked, and we would like to see it stop. We are looking for solutions that do not create a Fortress Palo Alto. The biggest thing we have lost if the ability to feel safe in our own neighborhood.

Targeting any ethnic group as a general rule is obviously not a good solution, but to some it is the easiest solution that requires the fewest qualifiers and exceptions. It is also just plain dumb. There is no ethnic group that has a lock on either virtue or criminality. There are other indicators of people to beware of. Obviously, anyone wearing a hoodie and saggy pants lurking in the underground with a baseball bat should be avoided. What other warning signs can you think of? How should we defend ourselves? (Don’t say carry a gun, the last thing we need is flying bullets.)

Posted by Resident
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Nov 11, 2008 at 10:45 am

Unfortunately for black males in their 20s, they all fit the description of black male in 20s with black hair and brown eyes.

White males in their 20s can be described in many ways, color of hair, color of eyes, suntanned or pale skin, color of beard.

Hair styles, beard styles and clothing can all be changed very quickly. Hair color takes a little longer.

A black male is a black male. Likewise a hispanic male, but when it comes to caucasians and asians (does someone from India get classed as Asian) there are more differentiating features.

Posted by Ted Maloney
a resident of South of Midtown
on Nov 11, 2008 at 10:45 am

How about the city council passing a separate but equal resolution as well. Everyone can now breathe a sigh of relief, the fix is in or the problem is fixed.

The more things change...

Posted by Joseph McCarthy
a resident of Palo Alto Hills
on Nov 11, 2008 at 10:57 am

What kind of a black male are you speaking of? Could it be a African from Ethiopia, Sudan, Botswana, Kenya, South Africa or maybe an Indian from India? Aren't all Asians the same whether they are from the Philippines, Korea, China, Mongolia, Vietnamn or Japan? I have even seen some dark colored Vietnamese and Mexicans as well? Perhaps we should just focus on African Americans living in East Palo Alto, isn't that where they all live?
I am sure you have great empathy for all other races than your own. Perhaps Charles Bogle is right, ethnocentrism is alive and well in Palo Alto.

Posted by WTF
a resident of Midtown
on Nov 11, 2008 at 10:58 am

People will only react strongly to news and issues that they're not conditioned to hearing... Robbery? (So what! Palo Altans are rich anyway). Mugging? (Happens all the time). Break-ins? (Nobody got hurt!) Racial Profiling??? Did you say racial profiling??? Now that's a cause worth fighting for! That's the kind of high profile issue people are willing to rally around.

Unless somebody gets killed by one of these muggings, nobody in office cares. Not the mayor, not the councilwoman, not the equal rights people who have more worthy causes to fight for. They won't lose their jobs over thefts and break-ins. They only lose their jobs when they drop the ball on supercharged issues like racial profiling.

The only ones who truly care about stopping crime are the policemen. They don't do racial profiling because they want to stop crime and protect victims, they do it because they're inherently racists and get a kick out of scaring black males for no reason. It doesn't matter what city you live in... LAPD, SFPD, PAPD, etc.

Until somebody gets killed, as Palo Alto residents, we should just hunker down... avoid walking alone and avoid walking at night.

Posted by Old Woman
a resident of Midtown
on Nov 11, 2008 at 11:19 am

Focus on catching criminals. That is the issue. I no longer feel safe walking on Middlefield Road in the daytime! Let the police force do its job.

Posted by angry
a resident of Embarcadero Oaks/Leland
on Nov 11, 2008 at 11:28 am

[Post removed by Palo Alto Online staff.]

Posted by JFP
a resident of Midtown
on Nov 11, 2008 at 11:31 am

WTF, somebody already did get killed, and the City Council is still doing nothing.

Posted by Carole Hoffman
a resident of Duveneck/St. Francis
on Nov 11, 2008 at 11:36 am

The discrimination against blacks is heartbreaking. Emphasizing diversity above all else is stupid. It has already ruined education in our public schools as well as created stress in air travel. Providing irrelevant anecdotes exacerbates the problems. Is there anyone out there with sufficient intelligence to provide possible answers without being punished for being politically incorrect?

If we're going to catch criminals for whom we have descriptions, some profiling is necessary. Duh. I've been searched extensively twice at airports yet I have never heard of a white senior Jewish woman committing a terrorist act on a plane.

Posted by Own Town
a resident of Professorville
on Nov 11, 2008 at 12:15 pm

Mayor Klein and the current City Council members do not speak for me and at this point I wish they would resign. Maybe they can walk over the bridge into EPA and run for City Council there.

I support Chief Johnson and I hope she'll stay and watch my back.

Posted by ss
a resident of Meadow Park
on Nov 11, 2008 at 12:21 pm

the city leaders apparently care more about their images (votes?) than to stop criminals. we ordinary people care more about when the criminals will be caught. don't be stupid! wake up!

Posted by tyrone jones
a resident of Embarcadero Oaks/Leland
on Nov 11, 2008 at 12:53 pm

just because the crimes were committed by black people doesnt mean racial profiling is allowed, thats like stopping asian or woman drivers because they tend to be worse drivers.
i sincerely hope that chief johnson resigns because i really dont want a blatant racist as police chief

Posted by What about the white guys?
a resident of Crescent Park
on Nov 11, 2008 at 1:28 pm

There were a number of caucasian male suspects. At the meeting where the chief said her stupid statements, she didn't say ANYTHING about looking out for the white suspects. Why was that?

Posted by Susan L
a resident of Palo Verde
on Nov 11, 2008 at 2:44 pm

[Portion removed by Palo Alto Online staff.]

It has been great to read the comments from others who are fed up with the way Chief Johnson is being vilified, and by the lack of support from the City Council for their public safety officers. I propose a march in support of Chief Johnson and the Palo Alto Police if this issue continues, as necessary.

Posted by let it go
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Nov 11, 2008 at 3:00 pm

there is no policy of racial profiling in palo alto....the motion last night was a ^^re-affirmation^^ of that ^^fact^^. some of the stories were heartfelt, but it took a last minute talk by pay burt to pay homage to the good work that our police do every day. this is ^^police profiling^^'s purely's a hornet's nest stirred up by provocateurs who want to aggrandize themselves, at their neighbor's expense. we sure do need to work close with the communities around us, because we're all one, because racial bias is alive and well in ^^every one of us, no matter our color^^. [Portion removed by Palo Alto Online staff.] there were black people from palo alto who defended our police last official from the district attorney's office made a statement that tells the truth, that chief johnson is determined to encourage equal rights, and not abuse police power...why isn't that reported...another thing that bothered me last night was that mayor klein seemed to have a look a pleasure on his face when hearing accusations made against chief johnson...this is political, to the core. so what happens when 40-50% of the arrests that come out of traffic stops are curtailed because police officers are sent the chilling message 'not to pursue'? does that make anyone safer in palo alto? does the mayor really think that the majority of our police who can't afford to live here will continue to care? this is bad, inflammatory leadership, that reinforces the ravings of power hungry poseurs at the cost of real dialogue. if palo alto wants to dialogue, it shuold dialogue with community leaders who were ^^not^^ at that meeting last night...cut off the poseurs, let people like james rant their lies...ignore them...just start doing the good work of repairing relations with people who aren't in it for themselves, or because they have a personal gripe with police, no matter where they come from. there are some bad police officers on every police force...there are also bad whites, blacks, latinos, asians, etc. we'd better stop listening to the poseurs who want to make it on camera, and get down to some serious work with our black brothers with people who have thsier black and latino and asian brother's interest at heart, instead of the poseurs who were there last night. yes, some abuse has been visited on blacks, but it's not epidemic. yes, it should be stopped and rooted out, but it should be done in a way that doesn't sacrifice common sense to poseurs like james and few other al sharpton wannabes who were there last night, all looking for more power in the hood, for themselves, not their brothers.

Posted by ENO
a resident of Mountain View
on Nov 11, 2008 at 3:31 pm

I have read a couple of these posts above and I am quite surprised at the level of naivete of PA citizens. Racial profiling is morally wrong but I believe that people fail to consider the larger implications. Having been pulled over by Mountain View Police approximately 30 times FOR NO JUSTIFIABLE REASON, people need to consider that being stopped and harassed by the cops is a huge imposition on someone's time.

I would also take issue with certain postings stating that EPA citizens should not be in PA or should be doing work in their own city. Lets take into account what University Avenue is, it is a commercial setting to attract consumers from surrounding cities as well as PA's own inhabitants. We should also consider that the employees, running the stores that you love, probably live in another city because they cant afford PA's rent. So, if the city is going to pull people from another city by offering employment or a place to shop, then its policy need to be more inclusive of what these people may look like.

In regards to the article, I would agree that an economic boycott will not work. This is true for many reasons: people will forget, people dont want to travel far for shopping, and shopping in Menlo Park sucks.

If these people want a true solution to this problem, it would be to allow the racial profiling to occur (WAIT FOR ME TO FINISH) and waste the time of the officer conducting the racial profiling (about two to three hours of his time). This can be accomplished many ways: (1) charge the officer with harassment (YES OFFICERS CAN BE CHARGED), (2) request to see a supervisor, and (3) waste the officer's time in general. The above process serves two goals: (1) you are in effect stopping the officer from performing racial profiling, (2) you are creating a paper trail for racial profiling if actual legal action were to ever take place, AND (3) you would be collectively bankrupting the state.

If you erode their manpower in response to a morally wrong action, they will cease the action eventually.

Posted by fireman
a resident of another community
on Nov 11, 2008 at 3:38 pm

CC and let it go, and the others,

Explain Albert Hopkins?

And not 1 but 2 US courts, backing up the RACIST/illegal actions of the police department.

So remove the racist part, 2 courts ruled that the Palo Alto Police beat a person/human/living creature DOWN IN THE STREET.

You seem to forget that. and the other stuff.. Very single minded people.
Have to be, it is part of denial.
Never look at the whole story.
It is so much easier to cover up things a little at a time. Keep them apart. If they get added up.
The sum could never be hidden? Smoke and Mirrors?

Posted by fedup
a resident of Old Palo Alto
on Nov 11, 2008 at 3:42 pm

Why are people concentrating more on what the chief said, when the underlying problem is the violence that is currently occuring in the train stations of Palo Alto? There have been over 20 robberies in the area and some are done with violence! Why isn't the media concentrating on that? People are getting hurt and all the attention is focused on a comment???? What's wrong with you people?

Posted by HES
a resident of Menlo Park
on Nov 11, 2008 at 3:47 pm

I tend to agree with the recent editorial in the P.A. Weekly. Chief Johnson's record shows that she is not a racist and has worked hard behind the scenes to calm the controversy which we can see in the comments posted here so far. However, she has on at least two prior occasions made a botch of communication with the public, and that is a major responsibility of any chief executive, in business or in government. It would make sense for her to start a job search now; many cities would be lucky to have her as police chief. But she's done herself too much damage in Palo Alto. Her statements (but not her policies) have made her a polarizing influence. Again, the proof is in the comments above.

Posted by fireman
a resident of another community
on Nov 11, 2008 at 3:55 pm

HES, You offer a truly graceful exit for her.
Too bad the City does not do that for the people they attack.

Their egos and hungry for power cloud their judgement and they stay way to long. Lie way too much.

A Graceful way out, or/ but with many it is just passing on the problem. gift wrapping it and giving it to someone else? Same wrongs just different people to pay the price?

I think her greed for power will keep her from seeing your way out.

Posted by Harriet
a resident of Southgate
on Nov 11, 2008 at 3:59 pm

It is very interesting about Albert Hopkins. If his brother had not been a lawyer would he have gotten justice? It's easy to roust African Americans especially those whom are poor. They are the silent minority whose rights are easily violated. How condescending to think that we should buy this lame excuse of Chief Johnson's that she just made a slip of the tongue. Does she think everyone is that stupid? I can see the Chief pulling every string possible to keep her job! Why should the chief be appointed anyway? Why not have an election for a Chief of Police? How much does she earn per year anyway? We know that there are sargents making $134,000 per year!How hard could it be to find an African American Chief of Police?

Posted by Frank Speak
a resident of The Greenhouse
on Nov 11, 2008 at 4:03 pm

BTW how many African Americans are on the police force?

Posted by anon
a resident of Adobe-Meadow
on Nov 11, 2008 at 4:05 pm

Albert Hopkins was sitting in his car parked in close by a bicycle shop that had been burglarized numerous times in the past. It was 11pm when Officers were dispatched because a citizen called and reported him as someone who looked suspicious. All Hopkins had to do was produce identification to the police and he would have been let go. He did not. He started cussing them out and started to walk away. He did not obey their commands to stop and produce identification. They tried to take him into custody and he resisted. He was arrested. Easy as that. [Portion removed by Palo Alto Online staff.]

Posted by Police Are Human, Too
a resident of Midtown
on Nov 11, 2008 at 4:06 pm

I'm so saddened to see the anger in so many of these posts. Clearly, we have two interlocking problems:

1) Many black people, too many to ignore, say they have been stopped for no good reason, some repeatedly, by our Palo Alto police.

2) We have a mostly safe, low-crime town -- with police services that many of us appreciate as excellent. When a thug shot a young man downtown recently our police worked night and day to identify and then apprehend the suspected killer. If that killing had occurred in, say, Oakland, it would have been just another number on their chart.

So we want to preserve (and defend, and thank) our fine police force for the routinely outstanding work they do. But we also don't want to deprive an entire group, African-Americans, of their basic rights.

What can we do? Let's focus on the problem -- and let's have our city continue to explore how we can keep crime rates down and protect civil rights at the same time. It's not an easy task, it will require work, study of best practices in other locations, unbiased analysis of our stats and a renewed focus on crime prevention in our neighborhoods.

What won't work: scapegoating. Firing Chief Johnson won't fix a darn thing. She made a verbal mistake. She quickly apologized. She's had an outstanding record before this. And she has said she is eager to learn from the mistake and help all her officers do better in the future.

Or, we could fire her, and then pretend the problem is fixed. That would be the typical political response -- just throw her under the bus. And what message does that send to all the officers below her about what happens when you confess a mistake and try to make it right?

Let's move on and work to fix these problems together.

Posted by parent
a resident of Palo Alto High School
on Nov 11, 2008 at 4:15 pm

Some of us are fed up with this nonsense.
Police chief clearly mis-spoke. Bad, but not worthy of dismissal. Don't use this as an excuse to get rid of a professional with many years of solid experience in law enforcement.
Racial profiling is illegal and not a policy here in Palo Alto.
This incident has given anyone and everyone the chance to burst out with all kinds of wild statements and commentary
Several TV news reports have been incorrect and inflammatory, or focused on the side subject of does Palo Alto condone racial profiling as a policy (OF COURSE NOT!) It gets ridiculous.

Look at the facts
Major bigtime increase in crime including unprovoked violence against innocent citizens in Palo Alto - these crimes are SERIOUS and we need to get the criminals off the street. It's not tiddlywinks, folks. It's correct for police to step up patrols. It's not correct, nor do I believe this is done, to pull over random people just because. They must be CAUSE. I'm sorry if it's an African-American person, but that may be the case sometimes.

Common sense tells us the perps of these recent crimes came from other areas, let's all agree they are not employed homeowners of $1.5 million Palo Alto homes in the local vicinity, therefore they had transport or drove in or rode in because they viewed the area and local citizens as an easy target

Our police should drive around and look for possible suspicious behaviors- why not? Someone loitering on a streetcorner DOES merit a second look. Someone running to get away from something, casing a house, peeking over a fence, sitting in a car for a couple of hours, etc.
Remember the crimes were not alcohol-fueled party fights that became crimes, these were done by serious criminals who do not have a care for their victims.

What limited descriptions police do get indicate multiple occasions were black males are suspects
I doubt these are well-dressed black males such as one might encounter walking in the business district; these men are NOT suspicious and are NOT going to be approached and hassled in any fashion
Increase in watchfulness on the streets of Palo Alto by police and all citizens is clearly warranted under these circumstances, including looking for minor violations (computer sometimes turns up other violations leading to an arrest) Why is this so bad?
It is a big difference making contact vs. hassling or arresting someone. Police making contact should not be a major big deal anyway.

Posted by Aaron Rose
a resident of Midtown
on Nov 11, 2008 at 4:15 pm

Perhaps we shouldn't call it racial profiling, how about racial sterotyping that sounds a little better. From the perspective of those who are white there doesn't seem to be any racial profiling. Problem solved now let's focus on crime anybody have any smoke or mirrors? We haven't heard from any PAPD police officers who are African Americans in leadership positions that have commented...oh they aren't any.

Could anyone employed by Chief Johnson speak their mind? As long as she keeps her job there will be a tight lid in the PAPD and Fire department their both pretty tight.

Posted by fireman
a resident of another community
on Nov 11, 2008 at 4:19 pm

Police are human.

Have you looked under the bus you talk about?

Lots of bodies under there. Way more Employee's and citizens bodies then. LEADERS.

The double standard, Only throw some bodies under the bus?

Who gets to pick who goes under the bus. THE PEOPLE WITH THE POWER OR the MONEY.

Thought laws and courts help do that? maybe common sense, honesty.

NOT POLITICS! Same rules for all? at the bus stop? Do you think that goes here?

Posted by EPA
a resident of Embarcadero Oaks/Leland
on Nov 11, 2008 at 4:22 pm

My friend's dad has a lot of PAPD friends. And I do know for a fact that there is a high ranking and well respected black female lieutenant and some black supervisors. There are a lot of asian and hispanic cops in Palo Alto. All of whom get along well and are not racist like the media portrays. I feel sorry for the pa cops because now every minority they stop for a good reason will get a bunch of hell from them because of their race. People will feed off of that and crime will go up because the cops will be more hesitant on doing proactive work because of the complaints. Crimes will go up and arrests will go down because of the scrutiny that is being placed on the police department.

Posted by Business owner
a resident of Downtown North
on Nov 11, 2008 at 4:27 pm

I fully support the Chief of Police!

Posted by Thomas Paine
a resident of Southgate
on Nov 11, 2008 at 4:38 pm

Albert Hopkins did not have to show his identification to the police that was the constitutional right of Mr. Hopkins and all citizens of this country. There was no probable cause to arrest Albert Hopkins simply because he was sitting in his car. Albert Hopkins did not deserve to beaten with a billy club nor maced. Whether Albert Hopkins had tried to kiss a girl still does not merit probable cause. Are the police officers who beat Albert Hopkins on the police force today? Did Chief Johnson defend them? You can demonize Albert Hopkins and be glad he is dead but when officers acting under color of law destroy his rights then our community suffers. These are the rights that patriots died for. Those officers who beat Albert Hopkins are no heroes and neither are those that support them.

Posted by fireman
a resident of another community
on Nov 11, 2008 at 4:50 pm

Thomas, Thank you. Simple?

Fd it has been a long road. The city has the money and the power. And have tried to keep me silent, many,many have.

I have and will keep trying. You have not seen anything!

The city took my life away, This is what they left me. Now they want me to drop it?

Yea right!

Posted by Yours Truly
a resident of University South
on Nov 11, 2008 at 4:51 pm

I like the Chief's uniform, especially with the American Flag.

Posted by Anon
a resident of Old Palo Alto
on Nov 11, 2008 at 5:00 pm

Thomas, as a matter of fact, you do have to produce identification when you are being detained by the police. If you do not, then you are delaying and obstructing thier investigation, which is a violation of penal code 148(a)(1). When Hopkins decided to leave his detention, he forced the cops to take action and try to detain him. He became violent and they used the amound of force necessary to effect the arrest. This all came out in trial and the Officers were not found guilty by a jury of 12 impartial people.

Posted by Shocked at the Racism here
a resident of Embarcadero Oaks/Leland
on Nov 11, 2008 at 5:06 pm

I guess on the internet all the rednecks can come out and spout their deepest heartfelt opinions. You should be ashamed of yourselves; let's just see if you dare express those feelings out loud! It won't happen.
Meanwhile, the people who really care are on the streets speaking up for what they feel is right. Blacks, whites, latinos, Pacific Islanders came together to protest racial profiling. And the racists stayed home and typed away their unpopular views on the internet....

Posted by Wink Nod
a resident of East Palo Alto
on Nov 11, 2008 at 5:09 pm

Seems like the issue is African American Males terrorizing the rich white neighborhoods that is the homes they can't afford...the ones that are 1.5 million dollars. Now is that a racist statement? Where do African Americans live? Not in the 1.5 million dollar homes here in Palo Alto maybe East Palo Alto but not our Palo Alto. Everyone voted for Barack Obama so racial prejudice is solved no more problem. The Councils Resolution is very reassuring and now that Chief Johnson is stil on the force I feel even better. Next time I hope she doesn't speak her mind.

Now how do I dress my windows?

Posted by Thomas Paine
a resident of Southgate
on Nov 11, 2008 at 5:22 pm

If there was probable cause to charge two police officers with felony assault then I wonder if there was probable cause to have detained Albert Hopkins. Why would the city gift Albert Hopkis 140k when they didn't have to?

Posted by Anon
a resident of Adobe-Meadow
on Nov 11, 2008 at 5:27 pm

cheaper to pay him out than pay city attorneys thru a long trial.

Posted by anon
a resident of Adobe-Meadow
on Nov 11, 2008 at 5:38 pm

the cops were dispatched to contact hopkins bec a citizen requested it for being in a highly burglarized area. If the cops didn't contact him they wouldve gotten a complaint for not doing their jobs. They did and met resistance for doing their job. Double edged sword and they got grief from a former convicted sex offender who got 140k.

Posted by Thomas Paine
a resident of Southgate
on Nov 11, 2008 at 5:41 pm

How is sitting in your car probable cause? Did he have burglary tools with him, was he armed and dangerous? He must have been to deserve such a beating! After the beating how did the police officers fill out their report? Why would an elderly black man attack two healthy young police officers? I guess he was obstructing their investigation! What did their investigation conclude? Was beating an elderly black man with billy clubs the amount of force necessary or was it excessive?

Posted by MT
a resident of another community
on Nov 11, 2008 at 5:45 pm

[Post removed by Palo Alto Online staff.]

Posted by Anon
a resident of Adobe-Meadow
on Nov 11, 2008 at 5:49 pm

it's called reasonable suspicion to detain not probable cause. He walked away and resisted causing them to have probable cause to arrest him for delaying their investigation. He resisted and swung, got pepper sprayed and resisted some more. Are they supposed to just let him walk away and not find out what he was doing there after being called in by a citizen??? If that's the case then the crime rate would be astronomical if cops are expected to do nothing and let people walk all over them.

Posted by Thomas Paine
a resident of Southgate
on Nov 11, 2008 at 5:50 pm

I guess African Americans should not sit in their cars in Palo Alto. The police have a duty to "contact" them according to the Chief. What will we do with theses double edged swords? They make nice weapons.

Posted by Thomas Paine
a resident of Southgate
on Nov 11, 2008 at 5:54 pm

The cops were charged with felony assault! Tell me what did their investigation conclude? How can we believe the police report under such circumstances? What was the testimony of Albert Hopkins, you know the guy who tried to kiss the girl?

Posted by Thomas Paine
a resident of Southgate
on Nov 11, 2008 at 5:55 pm

What does Albert's priors have to do with the assault?

Posted by Thomas Paine
a resident of Southgate
on Nov 11, 2008 at 5:57 pm

I guess what you are saying is that if someone has a prior record cops have the right to beat him up?

Posted by Krista
a resident of another community
on Nov 11, 2008 at 6:01 pm

Lighten up, Palo Alto. Let the Chief do her job.

Posted by Ms MBA
a resident of Old Palo Alto
on Nov 11, 2008 at 6:03 pm

Give it a break,
shake down artist smell blood in the water after the chief of PAPD was sandbagged by a community activist lawyer.

Activist from all over will descend like vultures on this wealthy community, it is the end of the dream and the beginning of the nightmare.

In business we politely call it " creative destruction" feminists have a more accurate term, RAPE

Posted by anon
a resident of Adobe-Meadow
on Nov 11, 2008 at 6:04 pm

he resisted their lawful detention and swung at them. So that's okay and he should be able to leave?

Posted by Jim
a resident of Adobe-Meadow
on Nov 11, 2008 at 6:16 pm

> We have a mostly safe, low-crime town

Actually .. this is true where violent crime is concerned.

All of Santa Clara County has effectively the same violent crime rate as Palo Alto. In fact, San Jose has less violent crime per 100,000 population than Palo Alto.

Not so true where low-end property crimes are concerned. Other cities have lower rates of burglaries/larcenies with cash-values less than $2,000-$3,000.

Posted by mary
a resident of Duveneck/St. Francis
on Nov 11, 2008 at 6:23 pm

[Post removed by Palo Alto Online staff.]

Posted by OhlonePar
a resident of Duveneck/St. Francis
on Nov 11, 2008 at 6:31 pm

In 2006 we had a lot of nonviolent theft. In other words, lock your car doors and watch out for shoplifters.

I'd be more interested if there were more recent stats, since crime seems to have risen in the last year or so.

We're going to have a higher than average rate of theft simply because we have more retail than the average city of our size.

Posted by solutions
a resident of Community Center
on Nov 11, 2008 at 7:11 pm

Here's a great idea.
PAPD is hiring. Big time.
Why don't all the people of color out there who think they can do the job, apply.
It pays damn near 100k a year, and your entire family gets medical benefits. And there's more.
Here's a chance to make a real difference in the Palo Alto area. Become a cop!
Not only will you be able to see a different, quite different perspective, but you'll have a chance to create REAL CHANGE! There seems to be a trend for change, so why not become the change you want to see?
Quit bitching and do something positive!

Posted by Mireya A.
a resident of Midtown
on Nov 11, 2008 at 7:18 pm

Did I miss something?

Are the suspects in most of the 160 burglaries in fact African American males over 6 feet tall?

Why is it that police officers can't make mental notes of this?

As a Hispanic woman, I am fully aware of the stereotypes regarding race and ethnicity. The only thing worse than the stereotypes is the fact that young men in my race tend to live up to the stereotype! I will be the first to admit that there is a problem within the mindset of many (not all) young male minorities in America. Yet we continue to make excuses for ourselves that are promoted by politicians wanting votes (in exchange for economic and crime/punishment concessions).

My family immigrated to the United States from Mexico when I was in the fifth grade. We escaped a mess of a nation for the sake of the economic opportunity that is available here. As a result, all of my brothers and sisters have graduated from college (with the exception of the two youngest still in Texas and at Stanford). Yet we don't fit in the mold of the typical educated Hispanic who point to Anglos as a cause of our problems. Our problems are just that -- OUR problems. There is no excuse for criminal or deviant behavior.

I see no problem for the wonderful police officers of this town understanding crime statistics well enough to make mental (or even verbal) notes regarding those statistics. No one is assuming that ALL African American or Hispanic males are criminals. It is just that the recent string of crime has been perpetrated by members of this race or ethnicity.

I have never been treated poorly by the police in this town. The police are doing a tremendous job and are vastly underpaid. I wholeheartedly support them...including the Chief...for their work as they try to keep our community safe. If they think that they should point out race, ethnicity or gender in their attempt to apprehend perpetrators of crime -- then more power to them! It isn't a violation of human or Constitutional rights. They are endeavoring to maintain equal PROTECTION under the law.

Good work, Chief!

Posted by Facts
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Nov 11, 2008 at 7:25 pm

[Post removed by Palo Alto Online staff.]

Posted by JustMe
a resident of Duveneck/St. Francis
on Nov 11, 2008 at 7:46 pm

The law, in its equality, forbids rich and poor alike from sleeping under bridges, or in cars.

I seem to have a problem with that,...

Posted by mary
a resident of Duveneck/St. Francis
on Nov 11, 2008 at 7:52 pm

The crime rates in this area are increasing dramatically, the PAPD is now hostage to community activists and predatory lawyers, face reality, this area and the willows are the target of gang thugs and it is going to get much worse.

Car insurance rates for this Zip code are going up, they make rational decisions based on facts.

Posted by Omar
a resident of Menlo Park
on Nov 11, 2008 at 7:55 pm

People very well know what she meant. She did not word things properly ok she is guilty of that. If you are robbed by a black man wearing a "du-rag" near a train station it is understandable to take precautions if you encounter a black man wearing a "du-rag" at the train station... It's common sense! So are we going to stop investigating black males for fear of being called "racists" or "racial profilers". I am sure if the person being sought was described as white with a baseball cap they would also question white males with a baseball cap. Some people are so sensitive to everything having to do with race.

Posted by Alfonso
a resident of Green Acres
on Nov 11, 2008 at 8:22 pm

How many African American males are on the police force? Seems like PAPD likes to hire women wonder why that is?

Posted by Andrea
a resident of Old Palo Alto
on Nov 11, 2008 at 8:41 pm

This is a shakedown by ACORN trained activists.
The ACORN lawyer set up the Chief of PAPD and she took the bait, which means she is toast.

The rest of Palo Alto should know that this whole scam is a ploy to redistribute your wealth.

If that is what you want,OK

Blood is in the water and the sharks are coming, or rather the shake down artists are coming, in droves.

Posted by Palo Alto Resident
a resident of Fairmeadow
on Nov 11, 2008 at 8:48 pm

I agree - Omar said it well.

Use the facts to combat the crime. It's not racial profiling unless there's intent and harm based on race alone.

I'm sure there's racial profiling here and elsewhere of various sorts and that's got to stop, but beating that drum too often is starting a backlash, especially in the face of increasing crime (like the backlash against affirmative action when that got played and abused too much).

Posted by Seth
a resident of Embarcadero Oaks/Leland
on Nov 11, 2008 at 8:49 pm

So we basically have a white police force with a white Chief some Asians and Latinos and a few African American and we have a white population in 1.5 million dollar houses which some minorities with du rags cannot afford. The issue now is not racial profiling but the issue is crime. Crime trumps racial profiling and the chief misspoke so she gets a pass on that. The city council has passed a resolution that is basically meanlingless because racial profiling is already illegal.
It kind of reminds me of Monty Python where the knight goes in and slays those attending the marriage ceremony. The knight realizes that he is at the wrong location and after telling everyone left standing "Sorry Sorry" he sits down and joins the feast.
So it seems like there is agreement that there is no problem and the only ones who recognize a problem are those who are perhaps the ones wearing du rags?

Posted by BO
a resident of Stanford
on Nov 11, 2008 at 9:00 pm

Yes. but as a result of the ruling the city is now exposed to activist ACORN lawyers looking to make money, clever move by the activists. Notice how they got it done under the cover of the elections?

Smart move for them, disaster for Palo Alto

Posted by Oscar
a resident of St. Claire Gardens
on Nov 11, 2008 at 9:13 pm

I guess it is good this issue has come before us. It is time to investigate what percentage African American males are on the police force. If our police department had a proportionate share of minorities then we would not have these racial attitudes prevailing in our police department. Would the city counsel rather than issuing a meaningless resolution object to hiring an independent consultant to oversee the hiring practices of the chief? Would it benefit the police department to have classes devoted preventing racial discrimination? Would it be helpful for the police to attend classes on how to deal with various ethnic cultures in our community?

Posted by Shane
a resident of Greater Miranda
on Nov 11, 2008 at 9:26 pm

So where does the buck stop in Palo Alto?

If your being paid the big bucks then ya gotta take the responsiblity and so far it ain't happening. What will we teach our children? You can get away with most anything as long as you are on the top I guess is the moral of the story.

Posted by tired already
a resident of South of Midtown
on Nov 11, 2008 at 11:12 pm

The police have had video cameras and audio recorders in their vehicles for some time now I beleive, as earlier reported by the daily. How many complaints have there been? I also read the city already has an independent police auditor monitoring official complaints. Have any of those people filed complaints after being stopped "for no reason?" How about wait and accuse the PD in an open forum like a city council meeting where no follow-up questions are asked to determine their legitimacy. My guess is the tape will tell.

Let's move on to constructive solutions, avenues are already in place to combat injustices, and stop wasting tax money.

Posted by Bill
a resident of Duveneck/St. Francis
on Nov 12, 2008 at 1:29 am

The City Council passed a resolution declaring the City doesn't condone racial profiling. The Police Chief described racial profiling. Many commenters say racial profiling is OK if necessary to protect citizens (and since there's zero chance they will be racially profiled).

My guess? The City is going through an elaborate little dance to show concern, tolerance, etc., anything but dealing with the problem: Chief Johnson endorsed and described racial profiling.

Gotta protect that thin blue line...

Posted by narnia
a resident of Midtown
on Nov 12, 2008 at 6:50 am


And how many times needs to said that there was NO probable cause to arrest Hopkins or to consider him a suspect. I have been stopped by PAPD only once in my lifetime for a rolling stop and let go with a warning, but I have been sitting touching 2 stolen bikes and the police officers never once consider me a suspect. You are right that once you are in custody you have to tell your name, though producing proof of who you are is not thankfully required (only dictatorships do that). But the question in the Hopkins case is WHY he was taken in custody. The only explanation for that is police racial profiling and racism from the part of the person who made the call to police.You also ahve the right not to talk to police at all. The proof is in the pudding. Didn't the city agree to pay $250,000 to settle the case?
What I would like to know is how the person who phoned phoned to say Hopkins was suspect feels in conscience knowing that the ONLY reason to do that is that Hopkins was black. How did police justify their pretense that Hopkins was suspect of stealing the bike he was near when he was asleep in his car? What, waiting for the police? Waiting for someone to phone saying" there is a black guy sleeping in his car?

"Hopkins was a teacher at Gunn High School. He had been on the faculty of De Anza College for 20 years and had been its first African-American instructor.

He served as a Little League coach for youth teams in and around the Palo Alto area for the past 30 years, according to his brother, Joe Hopkins.

He had a master's degree from the University of California, Santa Barbara.

Hopkins lived in Mountain View. His three children -- Ryan, 23, Kyle, 19, and Gabriella, 17 -- live with their mother, Cindy, in Palo Alto."

Posted by Andrea
a resident of Midtown
on Nov 12, 2008 at 10:03 am

I completely agree with solutions....everyone has something to say but no one does anything about it. Why don't people apply to the PAPD and try to make a difference. Actually see a day in the life of a police officer rather then complain all day. The funny thing is none of you people have any idea what the job of a police officer entails; so I am sure it's really nice for you all the sit back and judge and think you are model citizens but I am going to guess thats not the case.

As for the case of the woman and her son getting pulled over on his 18th birthday....simple solution, keep your car up to date with the law and the won't happen. Everyone has an excuse, why don't people just admit they make mistakes and try not to blame everything on the police. Everyone tries to place blame rather than standing up and taking accountability for themselves.

The PAPD has to deal with way to much negativity and frankly I am sick of hearing people complain. Do you think other police departments are so much better than ours? I just don't get it.

Thank you to the wonderful officers of the PAPD, you have to deal with so much so THANK YOU for all that you do.

Posted by anon
a resident of Adobe-Meadow
on Nov 12, 2008 at 10:54 am

why don't people actually see what it is like to be a police officer and actually go on a ridealong with an officer during day and graveyard shifts and then make your judgements after. It's so easy to criticize and Monday morning quarterback.

Posted by Just Get Over It
a resident of Midtown
on Nov 12, 2008 at 11:11 am

Mayor Klein, the City Council members and many of this city's residents are very dysfunctional.
If the perpetrator of a crime is black, how do you just leave that out of any description of him and expect to find him? Get real.
Chief Johnson has nothing to apologize for, let alone resign over.
The true problem here is the silly, self absorbed, oversensitive, P.C. crowd and those who cater to it. It is a tragic comedy that while our city is falling apart we spend all our time money and energy on nonsense like this.

Posted by let it go
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Nov 12, 2008 at 11:11 am

" But the question in the Hopkins case is WHY he was taken in custody. The only explanation for that is police racial profiling and racism from the part of the person who made the call to police."

why does that have to be so? you are showing a bias that is not proven, and doing the same thing that you accuse your fantasy caller's called reverse racial profiling...if a crime had recently been committed in my neighborhood...even if a crime had not been recently committed...and if i saw anyone sitting in a car in my neighborhood for any length of time at 2am i would immediately call the non-emergency number and have it checked out....^^neighborhood watch^^...make no mistake that racial profiling does occur from time-to-time, and should be wiped out, but our police don't make a habit of it.. they are schooled to do otherwise...anyone who says the palo alto police do this as a group policy is flat out lying, or looking for attention or trying to smear someone for political gain.

Posted by john
a resident of Barron Park
on Nov 12, 2008 at 11:15 am

Can anyone just sign up for a ridealong?

Posted by Gtown
a resident of East Palo Alto
on Nov 12, 2008 at 11:26 am

I'm cracking up because you Palo Alto citizens don't have a clue how much better your police force is compared to EPA. I've been stopped by palo alto cops many times and they were cool to me. I was stopped because my car has plenty of problems and I deserved to be stopped. EPA cops are rude and dangerous. Y'all have no clue how much better your cops are. Wake up!!!! I'll trade you EPA cops for palo alto cops any day!

Posted by cop??
a resident of Charleston Meadows
on Nov 12, 2008 at 12:16 pm

has it ever occured to some,that people wouldnt want to ecome a cop,cause they dont believe in jailing someone cause the system assumes all africans are criminals,or that cannabis is arrst or citation worthy? alternatives to police is whats need if anything.stop reproducing kids,black or white or anything .this ecology is damaged for a long time.its weeding out time on earth.all you can do is be the best person you can...

Posted by A Noun Ea Mus
a resident of Professorville
on Nov 12, 2008 at 2:16 pm

By Wilson

"t must have been night time for the license plate light to have been on, and visible to a police officer. The officer would have most likely seen the vehicle from the rear--making it a little difficult to know the race of the vehicle's driver. It would most likely have been dark, so it also might have been impossible for the officer to have known the race of the driver prior to initiating the traffic stop."

Yeah right. Does anyone really believe this? Even needing glasses and driving at night, I can look into the rearview mirror of the car ahead of me and ascertain race/gender/etc. And that's just casually driving and wondering if the person ahead is a babe. If I were a police officer my radar and skills would be even better.

Again Wilson:
"The "mother" did not mention whether or not her son was given a ticket, or whether he was giving a warning and released without a citation. She also did not provide any evidences as to how she knew that light went out on her son's birthday, rather than previous to that time."

Well the whole story as originally posted is kind of funny in that regard.

The original story:

"Betty Ann Bryant said her son was pulled over by Palo Alto police for having the light on his license plate go out on the day he got his driver's license, which was also his 18th birthday."

Apparently if you light goes out ON your birthday AND if that also happens to be when you get your driver's license, you have really committed a major infraction way past just having a light be malfunctioning any other time.

But getting back to Wilson's retort to it all..this is also meaningless as regards whether or not it was racial profiling, etc. If you have a light out you usually get a fix-it ticket.

There are generally way too many conspiratorial possibilities here. HOW did she know the light went out on his birthday? Why did the kid wait to be 18 to get a license? How did the police know that, not only was his light out, but it was also precisely the day of both his birthday and the day it went out as well? Further, if the police can ascertain all this, how would they not know the race of the driver? These questions can only be fully investigated by Mark Lane.

Seriously, I doubt we can fully ascertain the facts, allegations, etc., based on either the description Online or the criticism.

I don't see why people act like banning racial profiling, which is illegal anyway and was (probably an inadvertent guffaw) seemingly advocated by the PD chief, is necessary for the police to do their job.

Posted by narnia
a resident of Midtown
on Nov 12, 2008 at 2:16 pm

one of my brothers is in law enforcement. I am a staunch supporter of good police forces.
I myself was instrumental in putting someone in jail for 12 years (breaking and entering ) so you have to be more careful with your comments. Suburban police officers have a very suburban view of what's normal. When my son was in high school he liked to walk around town late and run a bit to improve his sleeping. Not once was he stopped. Someone sleeping in a car at 2:00am or anytime for that matter is not doing anything suspicious. Perhaps you would like to "check" on his/her dreams to see if they too are a probable cause.... Maybe if the dreams are in black and white it qualifies as a nightmare.

Posted by anon
a resident of Adobe-Meadow
on Nov 12, 2008 at 3:24 pm


You seem to know a lot about Hopkins. Or think you do. He was awake sitting in his car at 11 pm close by a bike store that had been burglarIzed a lot. A citizen calls police from a neighborhood watch group to check on him. The cops were dispatched and had a duty to investigate. As they contacted him, he immediately swore at the officers and called them racist [email protected]". All they wanted to do was identify him and ask him a few questions and he would have been cleared. Instead he walked away from their detention and as one of them attempted to prevent him, he swung at him.

Your brother is a cop? Ask him about that situation and read the police and internal investigation reports before you make judgements that fast.

Posted by anon
a resident of Adobe-Meadow
on Nov 12, 2008 at 3:27 pm

And those officers were not white. They are Asian so don't talk about racism when it involves Hopkins.

Posted by will she resign?
a resident of Downtown North
on Nov 12, 2008 at 4:15 pm

Is the Chief resigning? And when??

Posted by narnia
a resident of Midtown
on Nov 12, 2008 at 6:08 pm

Racism is a state of mind by which we attribute to a member of a racial/social group bad characteristics or characteristics that apply only to some members. It doesn't matter if the officers were Asian, caucasian or black (all these distinctions are artificial). What it matters is that they approach an African-American man who was peacefully slumbering ( to be suddenly shaken out of your dreams by some men surrounding your car) and immediately think of him as suspect and act as such. The police report is not a proof of anything. We all know that charges of resisting arrest are not always true and are many times thrown out of court.
You can curse at officers all you want, you can be disrespectful all you want it still not probable cause and you can say " Iam not talking to you" or even remain silent. Hopkins was violently attacked. He died not long after the incident (probably not related). You may believe the city payed the large settlement out of their good hearts. I believe that they did that to avoid discovery. What you and I believe doesn't matter. The facts, not the police report, are what they are. And as mayor Klein told the crowd on Sunday that yes, there had been racial profiling and he was going to do something about it I felt that our Mayor doesn't lack judgement and was being responsible in his statements. Denying the obvious and the statistically proven is a undertaken only by fools.

Posted by Anon
a resident of Adobe-Meadow
on Nov 12, 2008 at 7:48 pm

The facts. You werent there when it happened so how do you know what really happened. The facts are that the cops were not found guilty by a jury of 12. 9 of whom were minorities. An outside investigation of their actions were conducted by an outside agency and their actions were found reasonable. That's a fact. That's why they did not get convicted.

Posted by narnia
a resident of Midtown
on Nov 12, 2008 at 8:06 pm

I do not want to transform this forum into a discussion of the Hopkins case. I rest my case with the following "fact" reported by the weekly:

Monday, April 18, 2005
"The judge has declared a mistrial because of a hung jury in the prosecution of two Palo Alto police officers charged with beating a man. Santa Clara County Superior Court Judge Andrea Bryan declared the mistrial shortly after meeting with the jurors this afternoon.

The jurors had voted 8-4 to find the officers guilty."

Posted by Outside Observer
a resident of another community
on Nov 12, 2008 at 8:12 pm


You and I have never agreed on anything before.... Except for this. You've got it 100% correct!

Posted by Anon
a resident of Adobe-Meadow
on Nov 12, 2008 at 8:13 pm

Of course the paper did not add, and what the jury did not know, was that the Prosecuting Attorney intentionally left out the outside investigation by San Jose PD finding in favor of the Officer's actions as reasonable. That was left out of the trial. The prosecutor was disciplined by the District Attorney for intentionally leaving out the facts from San Jose Pd's report. It was also the prosecuting attorney's request to have San Jose PD do an investigation and when they did not find in his favor and found that the actions of the Officers were reasonable, he purposely witheld this information from the jury. That is a fact!!

Posted by anon
a resident of Adobe-Meadow
on Nov 12, 2008 at 8:14 pm

I rest my case.

Posted by Outside Observer
a resident of another community
on Nov 12, 2008 at 9:00 pm


Cops investigating Cops....

How do you spell "Conflict of Interest"?, or perhaps more relevant, how do you spell "3rd world country"?

Posted by anon
a resident of Adobe-Meadow
on Nov 12, 2008 at 9:19 pm

Okay, so a jury failed to convict them. They were not cops and major details were PURPOSELY left out of the trial by the Prosecutor. With that, they still did not have enough votes to convict them.

Third world country??? I came from and grew up in a third world country. have no clue what its like. People are spoiled here. If people in the third world country saw and experienced what Palo Alto is going through and what the complaints are, they would laugh. What a joke. Citizens are getting robbed and beaten with baseball bats and all everyone can focus on is what the Chief said. Wake up people. Those suspects who have robbed more than 20 people are sitting back enjoying their actions knowing now that the focus is on the police department and the chief...not them. Now everytime a cop stops someone, her or she will get grief because of what happened.

So now, cops will be gunshy of conducting proactive police work because of the publicity. If I were a criminal, I would go to Palo Alto and rob everyone. And if I get stopped and arrested, I'll resist and get beaten up so I can sue the cops and make money from all the tax payers when the city prematurely pays me off because they do not want to incur bigger city attorney fees. Then I'll add the race card and say I was profiled. That's how they caught me.

Wake up Palo Alto

Posted by anon
a resident of Adobe-Meadow
on Nov 12, 2008 at 9:40 pm

"Cops investigating Cops....

How do you spell "Conflict of Interest"? by Outside

So if you really mean that, then you're telling me that a cop will always back up another cop. That's why no cops have ever been investigated by another police agency and and found at fault and that there are no cops in jail or prison right now...because "cops investigating cops is a conflict of interest." Are you that naive? Or do you watch too much hollywood movies? There are bad cops and there are way more good cops. Remember, they are human. They eat, sleep, cry, have families, have children, and save lives. Of course, when a cop does something positive and solve a homicide (which happened recently in palo alto), nobody ever says anything. Do people know that the homicide that happened a few months ago has been solved and the the suspect was arrested??? I bet most people do not care and dont even know.

Posted by Outside Observer
a resident of another community
on Nov 12, 2008 at 9:53 pm


"Third world country??? I came from and grew up in a third world country. have no clue what its like."

I'm from the Philippines. Don't know where you are from, but I believe you've forgotten what it's like, otherwise you would see it here.

At least in the Philippines, the 3rd world corruption is within the means of most. A "contribution" to the court, a few piso's to the solider at the road block, and you got what you wanted or went on your way. Albert Hopkins never had that option. He couldn't afford it here.

Posted by anon
a resident of Adobe-Meadow
on Nov 12, 2008 at 10:01 pm

A contribution to the court is a bribe. And cops there ask for bribes all the time, otherwise you get a ticket or worse. You tell a cop in the philippines (Sambwanga or Pangpanga) to F off if they stop you, you would get beat up and robbed and maybe disappear..Pare. If you grew up would know better.

Posted by anon
a resident of Adobe-Meadow
on Nov 12, 2008 at 10:05 pm

If Hopkins was in the philippines and acted like he did when the cops stopped him (screamed and swung at them), all of this controversy would not have happened because he would have disappeared. Outside, you know that that is true.

Posted by Outside Observer
a resident of another community
on Nov 12, 2008 at 10:31 pm


Agree, but if Hopkins were in the Philippines:

A: He wouldn't have been harassed by the cops unless the cops thought they could extort him.

B: He would have given them some small sum and he would be on his way.

C: Your description: "screamed and swung at them" is what the cops said. Please google "Palo Alto" and "Jorge Hernandez" or "Nelson Galbraith" or "Pat Briggs"..... Do I really need to say more?

Posted by anon
a resident of Adobe-Meadow
on Nov 12, 2008 at 10:39 pm

Google Palo Alto and all of those names... Okay. Google Catholic Priests molesting kids. Google teachers who are sexual predators, firefighters who have been arrested for sexual acts, cops who have been arrested for crimes, engineers, lawyers, construction workers, parolees, probationers, doctors who have committed crimes...etc. What's your point? Its everywhere. Look at previous arrest records for Hopkins and tell me this is your model citizen. You just read one part of the story...which is what palo alto daily WANTS to place. And that is usually negative topics on cops because that is what people like to hear. It sells and it is a great publicity.

Posted by Outside Observer
a resident of another community
on Nov 12, 2008 at 10:40 pm


Agree, but if Hopkins were in the Philippines:

A: He wouldn't have been harassed by the cops unless the cops thought they could extort him.

B: He would have given them some small sum and he would be on his way.

C: Your description: "screamed and swung at them" is what the cops said. Please google "Palo Alto" and "Jorge Hernandez" or "Nelson Galbraith" or "Pat Briggs"..... Do I really need to say more?

Posted by anon
a resident of Adobe-Meadow
on Nov 12, 2008 at 10:42 pm

I knew they were gonna take my last blog out. Only negative things about the police... That's what sells... Lets see how long this stays.

Posted by anon
a resident of Adobe-Meadow
on Nov 12, 2008 at 10:45 pm

Cops investigating Cops....

"How do you spell "Conflict of Interest"?, or perhaps more relevant, how do you spell "3rd world country"? by outside

Outside, really??? Do you really view the palo alto police as one that is similar to cops in the third world country?...really??? c'mon...

really??? are you serious??? really???

Posted by EPA
a resident of East Palo Alto
on Nov 12, 2008 at 10:50 pm

Why happened to the killer of Officer May in EPA? Alvarez??? I think he is in jail. Why don't people talk about him??? He shot an officer point blank and came back and executed him while he was on the ground laying and dying. I bet nobody here knows about him. Why isnt anyone talking about that? Because the cop died and his executioner went to jail. Why isnt the white community boycotting against mexicans since alvarez was mexican. He was probably racist!! He RACIALLY PROFILED OFFICER MAY AND KILLED HIM BECAUSE HE WAS WHITE. End of story. It doesnt sound as nice as a cop beating up a black guy does it? no appeal at all....

Posted by anon
a resident of Adobe-Meadow
on Nov 12, 2008 at 11:02 pm


Good point. Remember the white professor who was robbed and killed by tongan males in the late 90's in palo alto? I think his last name was Kay. They beat him to a pulp and dumped him in a garbage container (the palo alto cops found the men and arrested them). Does that mean that all Tongans are racist because these men killed a white guy?

The point is...the Chief made a bad comment and automatically everyone thinks she and the whole department are racist. Are people really that ignorant and stupid?

Alvarez killed that white cop in epa. Are all mexicans racist now? Or are Alvarez's family, mom, grandparents, dad, cousins, aunts, and uncles racist too because their family member killed a white cop?

Posted by Outside Observer
a resident of another community
on Nov 12, 2008 at 11:06 pm


"Do you really view the palo alto police as one that is similar to cops in the third world country?."

No I don't. We've talked (and agree) about the Philippines, so I'll use that as an example. The majority of corruption there stems from the poverty in the Philippines, and under-paid cops simply trying to support their families. It's much the same as the starving man stealing a loaf of bread, but they use their positions of authority (and weapons) to do the same.

The motives in Palo Alto are much more insidious, but corruption is corruption and the level to which it exists in Palo Alto classifies them as 3rd world in my mind.... If I had a choice I'll take Philippines corruption, because it costs less and is justifiable at some level. That can't be said of Palo Alto.

Now, having said that, I'm sure all our posts will be pulled. Hope you get a chance to read this one before that happens.

Actually, I don't think we really differ much on this, at a minimum you are logically addressing my statements, and that's a rarity for Palo Alto.

Posted by EPA
a resident of East Palo Alto
on Nov 12, 2008 at 11:16 pm

I live in EPA and I'm Mexican American. I can't afford to live in Palo Alto because I dont have a high paying job. I'm so sick of people blaming everyone but themselves for their own predicament. I have a job and I have bills. I dont rely on people to make me richer or blame the government or whoever else I can blame for being lower class. I work hard for a living and do honest work. Face it, there are people committing crimes everywhere and robbing people on the street using violence to get what they want. People need to concentrate on catching these predators instead of focusing on the palo alto police or the chief.

On a side note with that guy hopkins... I grew up with strict parents and if I didn't show them respect and mouthed off, I would get beat down worse than hopkins did. And so did a lot of the older generation people. Does that mean that my parents were racist and abused their authority? The police were just doing their jobs. He did not do what they told him to and he tried to walk away. He deserved what he got.

Posted by anon
a resident of Adobe-Meadow
on Nov 12, 2008 at 11:18 pm


Im sure if we sat down and had a beer, we would agree on a lot of things and agree to disagree on some. Let's just say that a lot of people are truly truly misinformed about the police department. Leave it at that.

Posted by copbuddy
a resident of another community
on Nov 13, 2008 at 12:44 am

Maybe we should think a little bit about what officers have to go through and realize that they are humans just like us. My good police officer friend gave this to me before he was gunned down. Rest in peace my friend....

The Officer stood and faced his god
Which must always come to pass
He hoped his shoes were shining
Just as brightly as his brass

Step forward now, Officer
How shall I deal with you
Have you always turned the other cheek
To my church have you been true?

The Officer squared his shoulders and said
No Lord I guess I ain't
Because those of us who carry badges
Can't always be a saint

I've had to work most Sundays
and at times my talk was rough
and sometimes I've been violent
because the streets are tough

But I never took a penny
that wasn't mine to keep
though I worked a lot of overtime
when the bills got just too steep

I never passed a cry for help
though at times i shook with fear
and sometimes god forgive me
for I've wept unmanly tears

I know I don't deserve a place
among the people here
they never wanted me around
except to calm their fears

There was a silence around the throne
where the saints had often trod
as the Officer waited quietly
for the judgment of his god

Step forward now my Officer
you've borne your burdens well
come walk a beat on heaven's streets
for you've done your time in hell

Posted by Resident
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Nov 13, 2008 at 8:51 am

That was wonderful.

It needs to be seen more often.

Thank you.

Posted by Cops need oversight
a resident of Midtown
on Nov 13, 2008 at 9:07 am

I hate to say this in this atmosphere, but most people on here will never understand until they are in the police cross hairs. Being accused of doing something you are innocent of by overzealous cops is not something to be taken lightly. The police have historically been known to bend and even break the law to try to catch criminals. There is very little recourse for their actions, so they get away with much more than we see in the news.

I never really understood it until now - there is some truth in what they say, "sometimes the only difference between a criminal and a cop is a badge." Do you know they can serve a "secret" search warrant and raid your home and take all your possessions based on just one statement? I did not believe that until it happened to me, nothing like having 9 cops show up at your home for no reason.

The police do not care about what impressions they give to your neighbors, friends, and family, and you are treated like a criminal until proven innocent (not the other way around). There is not even an apology afterward.

Fortunately, I grew up privileged and have a good attorney (and no, I am not black). What about those less fortunate who cannot afford one?

Again, you can never related (I never had) until you been there. I personally applaud the negative attention given to the Chief, and I believe that the rest of the station should be aware that they are responsible for their own actions.

Posted by Leslie
a resident of Midtown
on Nov 13, 2008 at 10:54 am

The problem here is caused by the criminals, not the police. We are being forced to sit still and let these crimes go unanswered because of this scourge of political correctness. If a perpetrator answers to a certain description it only makes sense to try and catch him by looking at people who answer to that description. If our city were more integrated it would still make sense to look for someone who resembles the perpetrator. This is very unfortunate for anyone who resembles him, however this is an absurd excuse to just let him get away with it. We are being held hostage by a town with rampant crime within its borders and where rather than do anything to improve its own situation, sends its children here to be educated and sends its thugs here to rob us. Now we are being blackmailed into silence about it. I'm outraged.

Posted by Cops need oversight
a resident of Midtown
on Nov 13, 2008 at 11:14 am

I think you will feel very different if you were the one being targeted. What if the cops came and searched your home on no basis other than a 3rd party claim that you are the criminal by someone you have never met? Maybe even because of a post you made on this very board? Have them look through your computer, your phone bills, your text messages.

The reasons you mentioned above are the exact reason why we really don't have any civil liberties and why what the PAPD did is wrong.

Posted by anon
a resident of Adobe-Meadow
on Nov 13, 2008 at 11:26 am

Crime will go up and criminals will frequent palo alto more because of whats going on. The police will not stop anyone and will be hesitant to do so for any reason because everyone will bring up racism and prejudice against the police. Watch as crime will skyrocket because of ignorant people who are tartgeting the police instead of the crooks.

Posted by Cops need oversight
a resident of Midtown
on Nov 13, 2008 at 11:35 am

Again, I have to believe that we would feel VERY different if they were profiling white male and female as potential suspects. Do they not commit crimes as well? I do believe there are very affluent minorities that reside in Palo Alto as well.

Posted by Leslie
a resident of Midtown
on Nov 13, 2008 at 12:15 pm

They are welcome to search my home. I have nothing to hide. They are welcome to stop me when I'm driving if I violate any laws, or if I look like anyone who has been breaking the law. Again, it is not the fault of the police if criminals have a certain description. It is the choice of the criminals. I have chosen to follow the rules as have many people who look like me. If they did not I would have to answer questions and submit to scrutiny. Not the fault of the police or their chief. It's the criminals!

Posted by mott the hoople
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Nov 13, 2008 at 12:52 pm

its not my fault im not white,i shouldnt be profiled ,its not my fault that whites dominate the world and my kind are at the percieved lower level.i should not be profiled because justice is supposed to be balanced.maybe america needs to live up to its promise written in thev constitution.thats what the force you to learn in school.

Posted by fireman
a resident of another community
on Nov 13, 2008 at 1:49 pm

Leslie. You would rather put a blindfold on the rights of people. Or on the law?

Or just not write anything down? Blindfold everyone but who? You. You are so PALO ALTO.

Next time, do not cut eye holes in your white pillow case. See how you like it?

Posted by Cops need oversight
a resident of Midtown
on Nov 13, 2008 at 1:51 pm

I hate to say this, but I used to be on your side of the fence. After what happened, I'm very much sympathetic to the cause.

Not only search your home Leslie, but take your possessions (and see every web page you ever viewed, every download you ever made, regardless if you erased it or not), without telling you why, or whom made the charges. Make a huge scene for your neighbors to see. Keep you in limbo on what exactly is going on. It can come from an angry neighbor for all you know.

You seem very inexperience with this matter. Hearing from my attorney, this is a very common problem. Because the DA and the officers and judge are "all in bed" together, there is very little they will do to prosecute the "bad apples". You have no idea how little legally you can do in response to an overzealous officer.

Posted by narnia
a resident of Midtown
on Nov 13, 2008 at 2:23 pm

Who defines what is wrong is not you. You may think you have nothing to hide but if someone else defines what you did as wrong it doesn't matter what you think. To NOT be considered guilty a priori because you are of a different ethnicity, race or religion is precisely why this country was founded. That is why the bill of rights exists. Smart founders.

nobody is really white and nobody is really black as we know. Race as we know is a social construct. being "white" or black is just skin color, not a descriptor, otherwise police would stop all whites males when crimes are committed by a white male. 1/3 of all crimes in Palo Alto are committed by whites and more murders in Palo Alto in the last few years were committed by caucasians residents than by any other "race". So is police stopping whites frequently? It doesn't look like it.
Crime is rampant in Palo Alto? In fact, the crime rate is very low in Palo Alto. Not that it is pleasant when it happens but you need to have some sense of proportion. So does the police. I can assure you that it's much better to be a cop here than in the bronx , in Ulster, south boston or for that matter San Jose.
I believe that the great majority of cops in Palo Alto are good cops mindful of the law and trying to be sensitive to social issues in what is certainly a very difficult job and fraught with split second uncertainties. They should have the benefit of the doubt when
in a situation where they have to be swift and decisive but be well trained so that when it occurs it CAN"T be perceived as a violation of anybody's rights. That is why I think Chief Johnson should resign. A good leader is someone who leads in a calm manner and focus the force in diffusing rather than inflame tensions. Inevitably some will take her words to their ultimate consequences and it won't do anyone any good and it will not reduce crime.

Posted by fireman
a resident of another community
on Nov 13, 2008 at 3:45 pm

anon, Funny you make the point, misinformed. True.

You just lose the fact that you are one of them? or just will not believe it? when told so. your choice.

Ever worked public safety? for real? or just talked to and know people who have?

Posted by anon
a resident of Adobe-Meadow
on Nov 13, 2008 at 5:16 pm

my dad was an lapd cop before he was killed by a crip. I'm not white and I don't hate blacks. I dislike people who bag on cops. Especially the ones who have no clue what it's like to be one.

Posted by fireman
a resident of another community
on Nov 13, 2008 at 5:20 pm

So no you have never worked public safety?

Sorry to hear about your dad. Maybe your are a little to close to judge fairly. Maybe?

Posted by anon
a resident of Adobe-Meadow
on Nov 13, 2008 at 5:37 pm

nobody can judge fairly unless they are in public safety. You happen to be in the mix of things and I know people who are in public safety. You have your opinions and so do they. So what makes you right? You say you've seen it all the past twenty years and you have your opinions about corruption. I have friends who are in law enforcement and they do support and stand by what they do. To each his own on opinions. How many times have they passed you up for promotion? I'm sensing you are disgruntled about that.

Posted by Cops need oversight
a resident of Midtown
on Nov 13, 2008 at 7:30 pm

The Police Department is the same as any other corporation. There are good people and there are bad. Goal is to be promoted and get public acknowledgment, and some members may abuse their powers to do so. Each individual has their own reason for being there, but you can't say out of the collective whole they're all there for the good of society. Sociology tells us that at lease a few are there for their own selfish reasons.

The people you interacted with formed your opinions. One of you may have been friends with the good apples while another with the bad. I think both sides have valid points, and both exist. There is no need for personal attacks.

Within our current financial crisis, a few bad apples made everyone hate Wall Street. Does this mean everyone who works at Wall Street is evil? No. Does it mean we need to watch things more closely for those few bad apples? Yes.

I believe the same applies to what happened here.

Posted by Ray Charles
a resident of Downtown North
on Nov 13, 2008 at 8:10 pm

I understand the tough on crime ideology however; unless you have had your rights or those of your loved ones violated by the police then it is hard for you understand how ethnic minorites feel in this area. If you are charged with a serious crime then you need a good attorney which will cost you around l million dollars. Obviously the poor cannot afford these rates. A lot of the defense attorneys are in it for the money, no money no representation no representation no justice. Even if you are rich it is an uphill battle and a lot of attornys not all but alot have ties to the judges so he has to play ball with the powers that be. Some prosecutors are former cops and some judges are former prosecutors are you starting to get the picture.

You talk about Albert Hopkins getting beat up, he deserved the treatment he got. You don't know or you watch too much TV. The system is nothing like you read in the papers and you can never know unless you are wrongfully charged then you get it. Unless you have had this experience you will never understand the rage. The police can take away all of your rights throw you in jail and you can't do a thing. If you have some money you will lose it in your attorneys fees and guess what the cops know this amd so do the prosecutors. So will they overcharge & you are expected to cop a plea. Cop a plea and you are still a felon for the rest of your life even if you are innocent. Do you get it I don't think so.

That is why they will think twice about arresting a rich white man driving a mercedes vis a vis an African American driving his 92 Ford. If you have access to representation it is a whole different ball game. But you can go on about strict constitutionalists and liberal judges making up the law but unless you have been arrested and had your rights obliterated you will never know.

Try talking to a public defender they know what is up. Try talking to a good defense attorney, I mean a good one and they are hard to find but if you do they know the score. The system is broken in many cases and there is no oversight for overzealous prosecutors and police or judges. They have layers and layers of immunities which you can never touch, this is why they are so arrogant because they know the system they do this every day and you are just another chump. If they arrest you then they will convict you otherwise you might have a chance at a section 1983 civil rights claim. But then again how to find a good lawyer to represent you and again do you have the money to afford one.

So if you are poor, a minority or can't speak the language you are low hanging fruit. People are afraid of the system and they have every reason to be. No one wants to say a word so that just emboldens the players even more.

The problem with our system is the police, prosecutors and judges have way too much power. The judges and prosecutors should only have good faith immunity but in many cases they enjoy absolute immunity. That means manufacturered evidence, snitch testimony, & false testimony can be used during the trialto convict you and you cannot sue them, they have ABSOLUTE IMMUNITY see Briscoe v LaHue. And what they love to say is: "He was convicted by a jury of his peers!" Meanwhile the judge won't let any of your evidence in and guess what the prosecutor will have every advantage because the judge is a former prosecutor, are you starting to get the picture I don't think so.

So nothing is going to change in Palo Alto not that I can see. So the city council will go through the motions and in a couple months things will be back to normal. No checks and balances no oversight they all know this and guess what we pay for their salaries.

Posted by fireman
a resident of another community
on Nov 13, 2008 at 8:21 pm

Anon, You have not worked in Palo Alto. You know what is a huge problem, When good firefighters or Police officer will not take promotional exam because they can not follow the leaders that are in place. When you have people giving back promotion because the leaders are doing thing that they can not buy into.

I have seen all the above. No I was not passed over, that happened to many good firefighters in the city of palo alto. I refused to lie to the public, so I did put myself in that position.

You can not think all people that do not think like you are bad or have some reason.

I am not taking what I think, I am talking what I saw,heard. A gang member killed your father. That does not mean all gang members should be put down.
Crime equals punishment.
Get both sides of the story before you judge. Also if you back someone into a cornner, don't cry if what comes out eats you.
maybe you should not have backed then into that cornner.

The end of your post shows if someone does not agree with you, They have some kind of problem?
That thing on your shoulder is a CHIP. BTW
I got mine, Mine not someone elses. You seem to want to carry other peoples chips with yours.

Do you know how many police officers are in jail, Several from Palo Alto, explain that?

I will help you, Police are human and make mistakes.
If you can not see a history of poor leadership in this city for many years.
I can not help you. You are unhelpable.

And if you do not think cops will cover for cops, Write your list for santa.

I have covered for Palo Alto cops, more than 1 time.
killing them all will not bring your father back.

Posted by kimboley
a resident of East Palo Alto
on Nov 13, 2008 at 9:24 pm

my thing is will this ever stop were us as black folks can just enjoy life. I dont wont to fill like i don't belong in palo alto. Man can some people just look at me as a young black man that trying 2 make it to the next level. Wat should i tell my kids they dont belong in this town. Forget that they should be able 2 go anywhere they won't and not worry about the po po messing with them. Man is this wat palo alto is about?

Posted by anon
a resident of Adobe-Meadow
on Nov 13, 2008 at 9:31 pm

I dont understand what you are trying to tell me. Are you against the whole palo alto police department or just the bad apples? On some of your posts it sounded, and I could be wrong, that you are totally against the department as a whole. Meaning, you may think cops are racist and have no integrity. You say you covered for Palo Alto cops more than 1 time. Why? If what they did was immoral (bad enough for you to cover them), why not report them and do what is right. Dont you have a duty to do the right thing since you are a public servant and held at a higher standard? By covering for these cops more than 1 time, you are no different than they are. Help me understand.

Posted by fireman
a resident of another community
on Nov 13, 2008 at 9:58 pm

Anon, Not all police are bad, We need them ,must have them. Not all firefighters are bad.

In this City, when I worked there. We had so very bad leaders. If a leader in Palo Alto can not make a positive impact. No one can anywhere. This city has money, has good people working here. Has Stanford next door. Resource after resource.

And look what the citizens and employee's have gotten. Leaders who can not even NOT MAKE THING WROST. These people give inept a total new meaning!

Then the stories they tell the public and the people that get thrown under the bus. To cover up their actions?
I have and friends that still work their,I care about them. No person should have to work in the condition that this city has caused.
Well their is no law against it, WORKS.
AND well if we put it that way, it's illegal, so change a couple words and do the same thing. IS HOW IT WORKS HERE.

I help cover for the person, the cop, Because in a culture of fear, when a city is SO OUT OF CONTROL. You never what they will do. How crazy they will attack someone,
So you just say nothing, It really is the good employees against the city and the ones who will do anything to get ahead.
Anon, its called LEADERSHIP, RESPECT comes with respect, give it, get it.
How many issues have be lead poorly in this city.

I support good,hard working police and fire personal. And forgive their mistakes.
Treat them all the same. with respect.

I do not support liers and people who abuse their power. People who use politics and back stabbing to grab position they should never hold.
I do not see BSing the public as a talent, Wasting the publics money and lieing about it. Nope not me.

To help police and firefighters, you must listen to them, all of them. Then take a good, honest look at what they are telling you.

Silence tells you a lot. See how many officers backing the chief. let me guess, the one who lost his temper with the Other police officer when he stop him. The one who tried to get an innocent man convicted of murder.

Let me tell you one very sad thing, watching good firefighters leave to work other places because this city is ,SO SCREWED UP. Have seen it many times. Or knowing people in the business will not take your test. WORK IN PALO ALTO, ya right you nuts?
Then there are the good firefighters who , just go to get paid every two weeks. That is what it takes to survive, A CULTURE OF FEAR.

Posted by anon
a resident of Adobe-Meadow
on Nov 13, 2008 at 10:07 pm

Thank you for sharing that. I completely agree with what you say. I do not work there and I don't know much about the politics. I misunderstood you for someone who was racist against all cops. If its the city and the culture, then you know more than me. I apologize for attacking you.

Posted by Cops need oversight
a resident of Midtown
on Nov 13, 2008 at 10:37 pm

"The system is broken in many cases and there is no oversight for overzealous prosecutors and police or judges. They have layers and layers of immunities which you can never touch, this is why they are so arrogant."

Ray Charles is spot on. I never realized how corrupt the system was until I was in the cross hairs. I was fortunate enough to have the money to hire a competent attorney - and guess what, he was a DA, and he is expensive.

The fear they put you through even though you're innocent is unreal. Having to watch your back and worry if anything you do can be misinterpreted. Having to worry that the overzealous detective will try to entrap you. Having your own lawyer tell you that from his experience as a DA, cops and detectives do not question you because they want to clear up a situation, but instead looking for evidence to incriminate you. Having to wait to even figure out what they are trying to charge you with (yes, they don't have to tell you).

I am not black, and I am the one with the nice car. I can only imagine if I had no money, and I was someone of color. The system only works for the wealthy and connected - everything else to the "bad apples" are fair game.

Even if you are wealthy, an overzealous cop may decide to take a shot. Potential for big publicity, reward, and promotion, and financially every expensive for the defendant to retaliate.

Posted by interesting
a resident of another community
on Nov 13, 2008 at 11:12 pm

[Post removed by Palo Alto Online staff.]

Posted by OhlonePar
a resident of Duveneck/St. Francis
on Nov 13, 2008 at 11:35 pm

Cops need oversight,

There's a saying among defense attorneys:

A conservative's someone who's been mugged.
A liberal's someone who's been wrongly arrested.

And, yes, most people have no idea how much power prosecutors have been given in the last 20 years.

Posted by politicos need oversight
a resident of Old Palo Alto
on Nov 14, 2008 at 8:27 am

And who oversees the mayor, and the city council members? They pander shamelessly to certain special interest groups regardless of what the city really needs. They arrogantly do whatever they want because they can.
This grangstanding mayor has just asked for the police chief's job because of an honest and trivial mistake in her choice of words. It's politics vs. the safety of the residents. This is just the latest incident in a long list of their abuse of power.

Posted by Cops need oversight
a resident of Midtown
on Nov 14, 2008 at 8:44 am

Politicos, that is a fair point. The city council members are, after all, politicians. We are the ones who elected them to the position, are we not? Ultimately, they have to answer to the citizens in terms of if we re-elect them or not.

What about the PD? They are not elected positions.

Posted by Ray Charles
a resident of Downtown North
on Nov 14, 2008 at 9:08 am

Hopkins is not the issue. It could be anybody. Minority, immigrant, the vulnerable whether they are the elderly or the mentally handicapped and yes even the rich white guy in rare instances. Now whether Hopkins had priors is no reason to have assautled him. Obviously in our judicial system I don't think that evidence would be allowed in, it is not relevant but maybe in Santa Clara County judges have a way of ruling in favor of the prosecution. Try reading a trial transcript and see how many times the defense attorneys motions are overruled and the prosecutors are sustained? Many times police are trained how to void your miranda rights that is what is left of them! Let's look at Rick Walker who served 13 years in Mule Creek and Pelican bay was he railroaded? The court later admitted he was factually innocent so what does that say about the investigation? Was evidence withheld or was it just conveniently misplaced? But this information only came out because a brave and ethical attorney came to his defense and I believe most likely her fees were pro bono. But for the courageous attorney who went against the DA Rick would still be sitting in Pelican Bay. How about the Rick Walkers who are not so lucky, this happened in Palo Alto not Beloxi Mississippi yes right in the heart of Silicon Valley. And how about those who participated in this miscarriage of justice, were they fired, was there oversight into their behavior? So since the prosecutor "was intimately associated with the judical process" you can't touch them again absolute immunity for their behavior during the trial. Now the district attorney could prosecute their own but when does that ever happen? Prosecutors and judges should only have good faith immunity not absolute immunity for their behavior in court. Why should they be afraid if they are obeying the law? Just like some people say they are not afraid to be pulled over by the police, why not make the playing field even? If a cop is sued he has free representation from the city and the police union.Will the city attorney weigh in against the police? What about you the citizen? Have you got a big bank account? Can you afford a lengthy trial? Will the best criminal defense attorneys defend you if you have no money? Can you hire expert witnesses to testify at your trial and pay them for their fees? Will expert witnesses who work both sides of the playing field testify and tell all of the truth? Chances are they are looking at their next paycheck too and they wouldn't want to ruffle the feathers of those who might be their next employer. There are Queensbury rules that those in the business play by you are last on the list. Their relationships between the DA and judges are paramount, you your just the sucker who pays their fees. The best system in the world? Our only saving grace is the jury system. It seems the only oversight are the people and when they exercise their inherent rights by demonstrating they are criticized as being agitators, community organizers, acorn or whatever. You are deemed radical if exercise those God given rights under our constitution and bill of rights. Is this the process that is due us? Can we do better? We can't vote the police out of office nor the chief of police. We should hire more African American police officers not because we need affirmative action, we need watchdogs to oversee those in the system. How about an effective citizens review committee? How about money for an innocence project? Why should we be in the business of locking up the innocent? The police need more transparency and until the citizens take an active role in their own government these abuses will continue to plague us. Why not let the citizens participate in reviewing the Chief's behavior? I always thought George Washington set the example for our country after two terms he stepped down. Why not legislate term limits for the police chief, I am sure there are many talanted law enforcement officials who could fit the bill? Let's make sure that minorities are representative throughout our police department so even the hint of abuse can be avoided. Let's make our government for the people by the people and of the people. Bring back trust to our highly paid governmental officials.

Posted by let it go
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Nov 14, 2008 at 10:07 am

what makes anyone think that a minority os more or less honest than anyone else? minority representation is important, but so is ability to do the job. do you honestly think that there are no bad minority police? this is way more a community roots issue than a policing issue. the police have a tough job and they sometimes mess up. also, there are a few dishonest cops and prosecutors. get rid of them. and let's start looking into the root causes of poverty and crime and at the same time start holding people and communities responsible for their behavior...that's's pretty specious to be complaining about being stopped 4 times for having a tail light burned out...fix the darned tail light!! another thing, we are in the sad situation in this country of having many people ignored by the educational system...and lots of others falling through the cracks...that's the real problem...that's the problem that causes crime

Posted by Frankly
a resident of Palo Verde
on Nov 14, 2008 at 10:29 am

I guess the best answer is wait until it happens to you. Then you will understand. Until then you won't get it. I guess they were wrong when they said "Change we can believe in" or "Yes I can" we should just say "No I can't" and "Get Over It!"

Posted by fireman
a resident of another community
on Nov 14, 2008 at 10:55 am

anon, Thanks, I too am very sorry. This is what has happened in the City of Palo Alto.

It is so screwed up. Good people can not even go to work and try to do a good job.

The City is mostly good, This world is a hard place to do business in.

But the leaders of this city have been out of control for a long,long time.
Then the efforts to cover up there action. And the amount$$$ they take from the city and citizens, when they leave a HUGE mess in there wake.

It has tostop. Think about the good police officers trying to do a good job. Then all this.

The nuts are running the nut house. And making a good living at it. Not doing a good job. Just getting the benefits and moving on.

That is the problem. Well one of the problems.

Posted by Reality
a resident of Old Palo Alto
on Nov 14, 2008 at 11:00 am

Racial/economical prejudice and profiling will always be there. It is our human nature. To ignore it and pretend it's not there is just being ignorant and naive, two factors that Palo Alto residents have historically prided themselves not to be.

Simple test: if you were walking through the University/ Alma Ave underpass, alone, at 2am. Would you be more comfortable having the oncoming guy be (1) elderly and white, or (2) young and black? Would you be more comfortable if the guy was (1) in an Armani suit, or (2) thugged out?

I think you will pretty much have the answer. But is the elderly white man really less dangerous than the young black man? Is the guy in the Armani suit really less dangerous than the thugged out kid?

This is the exact reason why we as Citizens should have oversight and make sure our Officers are kept to a higher standard.

Posted by firman
a resident of another community
on Nov 14, 2008 at 11:50 am

Reality, A higher standard? Sounds great.

How about just being fair and using common sense.
Higher standard is a personal thing, The min standard? would work here. They just can't figure out what that means. Take a look around. Where is the standard. there seems to be more than one.

The standard does not change for who you are? or should not change.

Posted by Anon
a resident of Adobe-Meadow
on Nov 14, 2008 at 11:59 am


Race doesn't matter. It could be a Hispanic, Asian, Black, or White thug walking down the alley and I would prefer having the elderly guy regardless of his race, come across me. I'll take the old guy anyday over some thug.

Posted by fireman
a resident of another community
on Nov 14, 2008 at 2:06 pm

Anon, Lots of old ones abuse, attack with power. City leaders do the same. department heads. A man with a breif case ,can steal more money than any man with a GUN?

Sad that it comes down to those kinds of choices.

Posted by William Kozinski
a resident of Monroe Park
on Nov 15, 2008 at 11:25 am

Just reading the data makes me cringe. Anyone with an objective viewpoint would have to conclude that African American rights are being abused. Well I take that back, I am sure one can find some expert somewhere who can skew the results. The chief got her hand caught in the cookie jar and is now prolonging the process. I guess it is hard to let go of the power however; Palo Alto deserves better. I do not want my property taxes supporting those who violate the rights of any group or class of people. Palo Alto has a bad reputation, so let's clean it up. African Americans have been complaining about this problem for a long, long time, why don't we listen? Palo Alto is a law suit waiting to happen so why wait until we have another train wreck? Even if there are those who are not concerned about civil liberties what about the financial cost of these policies?

Posted by fierman
a resident of another community
on Nov 15, 2008 at 11:59 am


Power and ego, When the 2 go crazy together. You get Palo Alto

The City can not follow your logic, Common sense and the fairness stuff. no good in palo alto.

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