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What will police reform look like in Palo Alto?

Original post made on Jun 12, 2020

As the Palo Alto City Council pivots from offering symbolic support for the Black Lives Matter movement to debating real reforms, one question that the city has yet to grapple with is: "What should change look like?"

Read the full story here Web Link posted Friday, June 12, 2020, 6:54 AM

Comments (11)

Posted by Online Name
a resident of Embarcadero Oaks/Leland
on Jun 12, 2020 at 10:22 am

It's being widely reported that the Minneapolis cop who killed Floyd will retire with a pension of between $1 million and $1.5 million even if he's convicted of murder as required by the police union contract.

What's PA doing to limit these payouts to PA cops who "retire" with much more lucrative payouts even while we the taxpayers pay the legal settlements to their victims? Penalizing bad cops for their actions ,might encourage good cops to rein them in.

Posted by Joe
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Jun 12, 2020 at 10:47 am

The following are the Part I crimes that have occurred in Palo Alto
the past few years. The PAPD has responded to all of these crimes.

It's doubtful that anyone in the small group "protesting" the PAPD
have any idea that these crimes happened here--or give a care about
the victims of these crimes.


Notice that the Part I crimes have been fairly constant until 2019. It's
a shame that the Council seems unaware of the level of crime in the PA,
or never discusses it at council meetings. The PAPD chief certainly
should have been more proactive in his defense of his department--
particularly since many of those arrested for these crimes are not
Palo Alto residents.

It would pay for the PAPD to produce more data about the department's
activities--but that information would be of no value to this mob screaming
for blood.

Would be interesting to know how many of those in this throng have been
arrested in the past for crimes here in Palo Alto, or elsewhere.

Posted by FBI Invistigating PAPD
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Jun 12, 2020 at 11:41 am

NBC announced today, 6-11, that the FBI has opened an investigation of the PAPD.
See article here:
Web Link

If the PAPD cannot be held accountable, then all the reforms in 8 Can't Wait won't matter.

Not only do the PAPD Use of Force guidelines instruct all Officers present to intervene when an Officer is using inappropriate force such as Sgt. Benitz did when he brutalized Gustavo Alvarez, they also are to immediately report it to a PAPD Supervisor. Yet none did after the Alvarez incident. Not one Officer filed a report or contacted a Supervisor, intentionally ignoring all guidlines.

Then there was Julio Arevalo whom Agent DeStefano alone injured, seemingly needlessly. We see this incident in gory detail, not from PAPD video, which nearly a year later has not been released, but from Happy Donuts video. Other police arriving on the scene clearly saw Arevalo injured, yet he was not taken prompty to the hospital but to the police station, counter to guidlines. Only later was he taken to Stanford hospital.

Somehow accountability must be addressed not only for Officers but up the chain of command where Benitz was a Sgt, Perrez a Lieutenant, now a Capt. And the Chief.

Posted by ResidentX
a resident of South of Midtown
on Jun 12, 2020 at 2:17 pm

Is logic and sanity completely gone from Palo Alto?
Every action has consequences. If you convert police into someone who will talk to a guy braking into YOUR car, a guy holding a knife to YOUR throat, someone braking into YOUR home: "I am sorry, sir, can you please take this person's money, car, house, and go?"
I really hope that every person writing comments and articles asking for moving Palo Alto closer to anarchy will experience it 1st person on the victim receiving end (and only them hopefully).

Posted by Carl Jones
a resident of Palo Verde
on Jun 12, 2020 at 2:27 pm

Let's put our money where our mouth is. [quote from the article above: Jonsen said Monday that the city's department is already "really closely aligned" with "8 Can't Wait," in at least seven of the eight areas.]

If our current policies are "well aligned" or "consistent with" 8 Can't Wait, then let's formally adopt them and join other cities and police departments across the country who are publicly committing to following these rules. I support this not in any way to punish our police department. I have attended the Palo Alto Citizens' Police Academy and recommend it highly to anyone who wants to know more about the department, the men and women who work there, and what their job entails. I support it because I believe that it is the right thing to do.

If there is a 'downside' to doing so, then let's have the Chief document and present the particulars to the City in a public session.

Posted by Resident
a resident of Downtown North
on Jun 12, 2020 at 2:44 pm

PAPD is being sued for police brutality
Web Link

Between PAPD Chief Jonson, City Manager Ed Shakida and City Mayor Adrian Fine, we have quite the trio in Palo Alto that led to the perfect storm of a ridiculous Palo Alto Curfew of 10 days.

Any single one of them could have stopped the curfew from happening but the 3 came together and thought it was a great idea, leading to ALCU threatening to sue our city.

Then you had Liz Kniss backing Mayor Adrian Fine at the last city council meeting for his incompetence. Not only do the current council members never take responsibility for their mistakes (ex. Mayor Adrian Fine and 10 day city wide curfew) but then you have a system where they have developed relationships so Liz Kniss then backs up Adrian Fine's actions, no matter how outrageous it is (and vice versa).

LIz Kniss is being termed out. Here is to hoping she doesn't pull the strings of Adrian Fine from behind the scenes after she is no on City Council.

Posted by Nice Reporting
a resident of Duveneck/St. Francis
on Jun 12, 2020 at 3:29 pm


Nice reporting and article!

Posted by Resident
a resident of Midtown
on Jun 12, 2020 at 3:41 pm

Other than the Buena Vista incident, has there ever been a problem with Palo Alto police officers? What is this sudden fabrication that we need to reform the Palo Alto police, of all forces.

And based on what you see on their CNN screens, Palo Alto residents suddenly think its time to turn on their own police, the same entity that has kept your town safe and squeaky-clean for decades?

Show some respect!
Show some appreciation!

Posted by Online Name
a resident of Embarcadero Oaks/Leland
on Jun 12, 2020 at 4:00 pm

Yes, there have been other problems. Just read the Diana Diamond piece from a few days ago about whether or not it can -- or did -- happen here.

Web Link

Posted by Bay
a resident of East Palo Alto
on Jun 12, 2020 at 9:20 pm

I didn't even bother reading the article for Gennady Sheyner white washed all of Chief Jonsen's violations in Gennady's story, "Q&A with the top cop," Web Link

The article cites Chief Jonsen admiting that he is withholding videos in violation of the law; and that he refuses to explain why an officer's recordings are missing even though he knows why.

He claims that all of the incident was recorded but the second officer who did record the incident separated from the sergeant when she illegally entered and searched the woman's house. There is no video when the sergeant was by herself with the woman suffering from a brain tumor.

Posted by Online Name
a resident of Embarcadero Oaks/Leland
on Jun 14, 2020 at 8:30 am

Maybe you could get comments on the FBI civil rights investigation into PA police reported just this week and that in addition to the Benitez incident "The TV station said the FBI might also be investigating other incidents or possibly the entire Palo Alto Police Department." (June 11)

Web Link

" FBI Probes Civil Rights Complaints Against Palo Alto Police Department
Court records show the FBI is investigating the violent arrest of a Palo Alto man in 2018. Video and audio from the incident shows a Palo Alto police officer slam the handcuffed man's head into a car windshield, and later, appear to mock him for being gay. "

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