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Five Palo Alto officers challenge city over Black Lives Matter mural

Original post made on Jul 7, 2021

Five Palo Alto police officers have filed a complaint against the city, which they claim discriminated and retaliated against them because of their concerns about a Black Lives Matter mural that 16 artists painted in June 2020.

Read the full story here Web Link posted Wednesday, July 7, 2021, 9:51 AM

Comments (153)

Posted by Chaya
a resident of Midtown
on Jul 7, 2021 at 10:17 am

Chaya is a registered user.

Fully support police with this one. The point of any movement should be one of change not antagonism.


Posted by Bystander
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Jul 7, 2021 at 10:19 am

Bystander is a registered user.

Prejudice against anyone is still prejudice. I fully support the police on this one.


Posted by John
a resident of Adobe-Meadow
on Jul 7, 2021 at 10:30 am

A great example why it’s so hard to fill police vacancies in PA.


Posted by Debra
a resident of Old Palo Alto
on Jul 7, 2021 at 10:31 am

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Support local policemen for getting equal treatment and respect.


Posted by Local Resident
a resident of Community Center
on Jul 7, 2021 at 10:47 am

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Racism and promoting violence should not be tolerated or accepted regardless of who is doing it.


Posted by Sheldon Silverman
a resident of Menlo Park
on Jul 7, 2021 at 11:01 am

Sheldon Silverman is a registered user.

For the unenlightened...art is oftentimes controversial but it is a vehicle to raise consciousness.

Would the outraged complain about Picasso's 'Guernica' just because it paints Nazi brutality in a poor light?

This is a petty and unnecessary lawsuit.

Perhaps the police should consider all of the people they offend on a regular basis.

Freedom of expression is what it is and no slander nor libel was involved in this artistic undertaking.

Besides, the mural has since been removed so why dwell in the past?


Posted by ekl
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Jul 7, 2021 at 11:03 am

ekl is a registered user.

When they refer to the supposed "New Black Panther Party logo" in the mural, are they talking about the black panther in the lower-right corner of the R?

Photo of mural: Web Link

That's the original Black Panther Party logo. It looks nothing like the New Black Panther Party logo -- except for the panther itself, which is part of both logos.

Black Panther Party logo: Web Link

New Black Panther Party logo: Web Link

This context should be included in the article.


Posted by John
a resident of Adobe-Meadow
on Jul 7, 2021 at 11:07 am

[Post removed.]


Posted by Paly02
a resident of Crescent Park
on Jul 7, 2021 at 11:09 am

Paly02 is a registered user.

[Post removed.]


Posted by Chaya
a resident of Midtown
on Jul 7, 2021 at 11:20 am

Chaya is a registered user.

Sheldon - don’t agree - bring Jewish I wouldn’t want any nazi symbols displayed in a mural promoting social change - freedom of speech or not. We need to be sensitive to offending all people of all colors and all races if we want to create positive change.


Posted by Eric Stietzel
a resident of Charleston Meadows
on Jul 7, 2021 at 11:38 am

Eric Stietzel is a registered user.

I'm an unquestionably white guy who has had exactly two unfortunate experiences with police with traffic stops. Not bad for someone who got his driver's license in 1956. Neither involved any humiliation or physical interaction. As a white male, I've experienced so many breaks and observed so much mistreatment of women and non-whites. The same can be said for the vast majority of white males my age (81). I just want to say, "White male lives matter, and all other lives matter just as much." When I was less than 8, I found out about the internment of Japanese-Americans on the west coast. I asked many times why we German-Americans on the east coast weren't interned as well. The subject was always changed, By the time I was 18, I'd figured out that because we Germans were white and the Japanese weren't that was all that mattered. I'm still somewhat embarrassed and ashamed by that and even more by what is still going on. You've almost certainly seen George Floyd's murder; if you haven't seen Rodney King's treatment by white police officers check out the video at Web Link King survived, much damaged by the event, but his plea was, "Can't we all just get along?" My question is, "How can these others maintain their humanity and dignity when they are treated with such disrespect and unequal treatment in public safety, criminal justice, education welfare, and both public and private healthcare. The list seems endless. At least, I understand why some may resent me because I'm white. I don't understand why so many don't, and when they do, there's no knee on my neck or a small, organized mob attacking me with billy clubs.


Posted by What Will They Do Next
a resident of Old Palo Alto
on Jul 7, 2021 at 11:45 am

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These officers are a reflection of just one segment of the population that is getting really tired of discrimination and equity messaging, and should have all of our support. Honoring a convicted cop killer and terrorist was incredibly stupid and should have never been allowed in the first place, but PC Palo Alto leaders didn't have the courage to reject the mural because of the perceived image it might convey to the social justice crowd.


Posted by Eric Stietzel
a resident of Charleston Meadows
on Jul 7, 2021 at 11:50 am

Eric Stietzel is a registered user.

I am impressed by Germany's public policies expressing blame for the Nazi era and acting to prevent any resurgence. I fear a resurgence of similar thinking on the right in this country and wonder why we Americans are not willing to take responsibility for our mistreatment of enslaved and native peoples. Middle-schoolers play favorites; grownups should outgrow such misguided behavior.


Posted by We Told You So!
a resident of Menlo Park
on Jul 7, 2021 at 11:51 am

We Told You So! is a registered user.

The above remarks and The Mind Set of the Police Officers are the reason that there is "Systematic Racism".
This is a "Mural" Telling a Story.
In "NO WAY" would the depiction or has the Mural caused Violence against Police Officers. These Murals are simple "Lessons". The Mural means NO HARM to Anyone. If there is a certain amount of discomfort feelings coming from the Officers direction. Learn the Lessons from those times and see that there was NO TRUE harm. And that Others dishonesty that had a "Cause and Effect".
The Mural Lesson relaying the Mindset of that ERA. Those TIMES. The Struggles of the entire Movement. Without the small placement of Shakur, would NOT hit home. It was crazy strange back then. Because things like that didn't occur before. But so is what is going on Today?
Let Me Add this. Violence I feel is not the way.

We all take in Information differently or want to See what isn't there. Rushing to a Judgement, without researching and finding out that those Humans honored were not (All) a threat then and certainly not now.
Unless like the "So Call" Tourist that charged the Capitol on January 6, 2021.
I Believe in that "Two Wrongs, don't Make a Right".
But this is about a "Mural" telling a True Story.


Posted by Sheldon Silverman
a resident of Menlo Park
on Jul 7, 2021 at 11:52 am

Sheldon Silverman is a registered user.

> My question is, "How can these others maintain their humanity and dignity when they are treated with such disrespect and unequal treatment in public safety, criminal justice, education welfare, and both public and private healthcare. The list seems endless.

Well said Eric...the police complaint is like a kettle calling the cast iron skillet black.

If the police want more respect, they need to treat EVERYONE (regardless of color) with additional respect and basic considerations.

Fat chance...bullies will always be bullies until they are held accountable.


Posted by Resident 1-Adobe Meadows
a resident of Adobe-Meadow
on Jul 7, 2021 at 12:00 pm

Resident 1-Adobe Meadows is a registered user.

At the time happened the "art Commissionwers" acted without any approval of the city. Our city street was taken over with no upper level approval. Each city needs to be in control of what happens in the city that directly affects the residents. The people who pay the taxes in this city need to feel like the city has control over the general goings on that affect them.
[Portion removed.]


Posted by Novelera
a resident of Midtown
on Jul 7, 2021 at 12:08 pm

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My response to these snowflake police officers: Oh, please.


Posted by What Will They Do Next
a resident of Old Palo Alto
on Jul 7, 2021 at 12:12 pm

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Eric ... What would you consider the Declaration of Independence, if not an admission that slavery and the mistreatment of slaves was wrong?


Posted by Paly02
a resident of Crescent Park
on Jul 7, 2021 at 12:23 pm

Paly02 is a registered user.

@What Will They Do Next, the opposite of what you say is true:

"The patriots’ efforts to get stories about 'instigated insurrections' into the mouths of American children culminated in the Declaration of Independence. In fact, it comes at the climax of the document. The Continental Congress accused King George of twenty-seven crimes. These were the 'facts to be submitted to a candid world' that led the colonies to the necessity of declaring independence. The very last one was about enslaved and Native peoples potentially joining the King to destroy American liberty."

pull quote from this Time article: Web Link


Posted by peppered
a resident of Community Center
on Jul 7, 2021 at 12:24 pm

peppered is a registered user.

IMHO, the behavior of these "officers" is despicable. I'd hazard a guess that none of them are Black.
Spare me the image of these "poor, harassed, victimized" armed men operating under color of authority contrasted with cases like George Floyd, Daunte Wright, Rodney King, etc., and many others, some of whom, lost their lives.
If these men in blue cannot empathize with the horrific burden of being Black in America, they should try another line of work.


Posted by Rebecca Eisenberg
a resident of Old Palo Alto
on Jul 7, 2021 at 12:27 pm

Rebecca Eisenberg is a registered user.

The PAPD officers' shameful response and irresponsible lawsuit -- which will cost taxpayer money to defend -- demonstrates how profoundly out of touch the PAPD is with the community. This symbol was not discriminatory or offensive in any legally recognizable way.

First, the Police is not a "protected class" under state or federal law. Anti-discrimination law protects only groups who have been subject to historic discrimination, and police do not qualify. In fact, the police are often the parties that DO the discrimination.

Second, the symbolism in the mural is far from clear. The inclusion of an image that appears to be Assata Shakur does not qualify as racist (racist against white people actually is rarely a thing) or anti-semitic (not that any plaintiff has standing to make that claim, since none is Jewish).

Third, the harassment claim is ludicrous. Even if I did not publish two articles about Hostile Workplace sexual harassment for the Harvard Law Review -- which I did -- a first year law student knows that to qualify as hostile, the workplace harassment must be "pervasive," which an ambiguous image in a mural is anything but.

The irony is that had the image been something truly harassing, such as Nazi swastikas, the officers would not have noticed. Racist imagery has existed for decades in Palo Alto without the PAPD caring the slightest. Several public schools were named after known anti-semites and racists until finally several years ago, students and parents forced PAUSD to rename them, while the police was silent. The record of the PAPD is rife with both willful blindness and active commission of discriminatory actions.

We know what this lawsuit is about: PAPD officers whose feelings are hurt because they think they are being called "racist." If the Police don't want to be viewed as racist, perhaps they should stop committing actions that create that impression, like this lawsuit, and instead should work harder to serve the *entire* community, including minorities.


Posted by Jess
a resident of Midtown
on Jul 7, 2021 at 12:39 pm

Jess is a registered user.

Fully support the police with this one. Discrimination should not be tolerated no matter whom it is towards to.


Posted by Janine Goldman
a resident of Old Palo Alto
on Jul 7, 2021 at 1:07 pm

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√ We know what this lawsuit is about: PAPD officers whose feelings are hurt because they think they are being called "racist." If the Police don't want to be viewed as racist, perhaps they should stop committing actions that create that impression, like this lawsuit, and instead should work harder to serve the *entire* community, including minorities.

^ Well said Rebecca.

This boo-hoo lawsuit on the part of the PAPD doesn't hold water.

We should not overlook all of the money the City of Palo Alto has had to pay out due to lawsuits citing various PAPD indescretions and bigotries.

Who are the police to complain about a mural that simply implies, 'let's try and treat everyone with some dignity and respect'?

The PAPD and other nationwide PDs are now being held publically and legally accountable for their countless misdeeds.

A long time coming.


Posted by Lei
a resident of Midtown
on Jul 7, 2021 at 1:42 pm

Lei is a registered user.

I support police in this case.


Posted by Banes
a resident of Greater Miranda
on Jul 7, 2021 at 1:58 pm

Banes is a registered user.

[Post removed.]


Posted by Kevin Lee
a resident of Stanford
on Jul 7, 2021 at 2:28 pm

Kevin Lee is a registered user.

[Post removed.]


Posted by Ismail Muhammad
a resident of Midtown
on Jul 7, 2021 at 2:44 pm

Ismail Muhammad is a registered user.

[Post removed.]


Posted by Chris C.
a resident of Community Center
on Jul 7, 2021 at 4:06 pm

Chris C. is a registered user.

The article claims that the officers had this art "in the workplace", and were "forced to physically pass and confront the mural and its offensive, discriminatory and harassing iconography every time they entered the Palo Alto Police Department".

The art was painted in the middle of a public street (Hamilton Ave), in front of city hall. Between city hall and that street is a plaza/park. The police department is located at the rear of the building, with entrances on Forest Ave (the main entrance), and car entrances on Bryant Street and Ramona Street. When this art was there, Hamilton Ave was... closed.

So to see this art at all, the police officers would have to leave their building, walk around it, cross a large plaza, then enter a closed street.

I wonder what was "forcing" them to do this. Or if they are simply claiming that the entire city is their workplace?


Posted by Fletcher James
a resident of Old Palo Alto
on Jul 7, 2021 at 4:29 pm

Fletcher James is a registered user.

>"The article claims that the officers...were "forced to physically pass and confront the mural and its offensive, discriminatory and harassing iconography every time they entered the Palo Alto Police Department".

>>...to see this art at all, the police officers would have to leave their building, walk around it, cross a large plaza, then enter a closed street.

^ In all fairness, perhaps the officers were 'walking the beat' to protect high-end University Avenue merchants from gang-related thefts and found themselves deeply offended by the artwork's message...love and peace.


Posted by Barron Parker Too
a resident of Barron Park
on Jul 7, 2021 at 4:36 pm

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We had a mural lionizing someone who murdered a cop. Eisenberg has no problem with that. Instead, she says that the police lawsuit objecting to the mural, an objection that seems entirely proper to me, is in her view RACIST.

Her statement that the police would not have even noticed Nazi symbolism in a city mural manifests her total disrespect for the police.

The next time she runs for city office, we need to remember that she stands with a small, noisy set of anti-police activists.


Posted by Reginald Williams
a resident of Triple El
on Jul 7, 2021 at 6:30 pm

Reginald Williams is a registered user.

I love how all the privileged people are just overlooking the fact that COINTELPRO was a thing, and that Assata obviously didn't kill a cop if you look at the evidence. It just didn't stop a white jury from convicting her. About on par for Palo Alto though.


Posted by Reginald Williams
a resident of Triple El
on Jul 7, 2021 at 6:32 pm

Reginald Williams is a registered user.

Imagine thinking the police are the ones being discriminated against in that scenario. As if the government didn't admit to hunting down black people.


Posted by S. Underwood
a resident of Crescent Park
on Jul 7, 2021 at 6:43 pm

S. Underwood is a registered user.

Please remember that in some disagreements, both sides can be embarrassingly wrong.


Posted by Shamika Smith
a resident of East Palo Alto
on Jul 7, 2021 at 8:10 pm

Shamika Smith is a registered user.

Why didn't the officers address this issue last year while the mural was intact?

Why wait a year later after it has been removed?

Were they apprehensive about expressing their 'affront' because they would have appeared insensitive?

Why now?


Posted by felix
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Jul 7, 2021 at 11:23 pm

felix is a registered user.

As I remember, Shakur was actually convicted of what is known in California as Felony Murder, and some other charges. It doesn’t mean she murdered someone. It means she was with someone who did so. In her case, as a passenger in a car. Correct me if I’m wrong.

As to you litigating officers - It seems you think you have experienced what some call a “micro-aggression”. Many a black and brown folk have been subjected to these for hundreds of years and mostly ignore them, choosing to sue on the big stuff to make it count. Revealing yourselves as micro-aggression newbies, you made yourselves the point and went all lawsuity. It’s not going to be helpful for you or the Dept.

The actual point was and is systemic racism in policing. That’s what got George Floyd, Oscar Grant, and Breonna Taylor murdered.
That’s what we must keep the focus on.


Posted by Optimist Pessimist Realist
a resident of East Palo Alto
on Jul 8, 2021 at 12:22 am

Optimist Pessimist Realist is a registered user.

[Post removed.]


Posted by Raul Mendoza
a resident of Stanford
on Jul 8, 2021 at 7:07 am

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It is a shame that five members of the PAPD have chosen to add further fuel to the fire with their trivial 'hurt feelings' complaint.

Do the police ever consider the 'feelings' of others when they stop countless people of color for unwarranted (racial profiling based) questioning?

Do the police strive to exercise restraint along with a certain degree of decorum when interacting with people of color?

Do the police consistently resist the the unnecessary discharge of their service weapons when encountering unarmed suspects...especially ones of color?

Do the majority of police officers privately and among themselves consider Derek Chauvin a martyr and a 'fall guy'?

The mural was created to address ongoing police brutality and racism and the victims of such unlawful police treatment should be the only ones with the 'hurt feelings'.

These five PAPD officers have unwittingly made themselves come off as weenies and whiners.


Posted by Maurice Pinchot
a resident of Adobe-Meadow
on Jul 8, 2021 at 8:22 am

Maurice Pinchot is a registered user.

Heightened public awareness of police-related improprieties has countless cops throughout the nation squirming a bit because they are now subject to further scrutiny.

Justifiable actions (as defined by the various police departments and police unions) are being further questioned and personal accountability as an officer of the law has become paramount.

The police officers don't like this evolving development because it limits their personal definitions of 'effectiveness' in carrying out their perceived duties.

No longer can they harass, rough-up, or openly gun down suspects without their actions being called into question.

The tide is gradually turning so now the police are playing 'the victim card'.

And not very convincingly.


Posted by Bystander
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Jul 8, 2021 at 8:49 am

Bystander is a registered user.

I support the police.

Police are people doing a job that the majority of us would not want to do. They should be supported for doing it, and the criticisms here against people doing a job which we expect to have them do is terrible.

Crime is getting beyond a joke in Palo Alto. We have bike thefts, catalytic converter thefts, expensive handbag thefts from shopping center and downtown, and the list could go on. We dial 911 when we need police support and police come to help us. Instead of being thankful that the police are there when we need them, we find people criticizing the fact that they were disturbed by a piece of street art that made them feel uncomfortable doing their job.

Society is making a mockery of itself. If we want help when we dial 911 then we have to stop this attitude. If we don't, we will end up with no police and only crime in Palo Alto. Is that what we want?


Posted by Jennifer
a resident of another community
on Jul 8, 2021 at 8:59 am

Jennifer is a registered user.

I support the police too. The [portion removed] comments are a reflection on them, and it's sad. Everything is wrong, and everything needs fixing. It's a miserable mindset, and it's rooted in insecurity and low self esteem.


Posted by felix
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Jul 8, 2021 at 9:22 am

felix is a registered user.

Since 2018 -
The PAPD’s Sgt Benitez slammed a handcuffed non-resisting brown Palo Altan’s face into a windshield.

Officer Tom DeStefano made no effort at de-escalation once he questioned another brown Palo Altan for no real reason, resulting in broken bones.

Dog bites innocent sleeping PI man.

Federal civil rights lawsuits filed against PAPD, officers and city. Taxpayers pay. FBI investigating the PAPD. Benitez charged with 2 crimes by County DA.

Again - keep the focus on holding the PAPD
accountable.


Posted by Esther Davis
a resident of Community Center
on Jul 8, 2021 at 10:00 am

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"Crime is getting beyond a joke in Palo Alto. We have bike thefts, catalytic converter thefts, expensive handbag thefts from shopping center and downtown, and the list could go on."

^ And what is the PAPD actually doing to curtail these crimes other than writing another 'after the crime' report?

The police do not prevent crime...they merely respond to a robbery scene after the suspects have already gotten away and write another report.

No need for a service weapon...just a ballpoint pen and a laptop.


Posted by Nayeli
a resident of Midtown
on Jul 8, 2021 at 11:49 am

Nayeli is a registered user.

@ felix: You're being disingenuous. Those first two suspects that you mentioned ("brown" as you label them) did indeed RESIST arrest. They didn't comply with law enforcement. If anything, these officers were more patient than most of us would ever be.


Posted by Optimist Pessimist Realist
a resident of East Palo Alto
on Jul 8, 2021 at 12:19 pm

Optimist Pessimist Realist is a registered user.

[Portion removed.]

I’m wondering the same thing as Shamika Smith is. The mural is long gone. That said, the inclusion of Shakur was in poor taste. I guess they couldn’t resist the bait set.


Posted by Todd Whitmire
a resident of Los Altos
on Jul 8, 2021 at 12:22 pm

Todd Whitmire is a registered user.

Incredible...the various police advocates and supporters here seem to be endorsing police brutality as part of the job.

In other words, only police lives and their personal feelings matter?

This speaks poorly of America and the immediate San Francisco Bay Area.

Is this a clandestine mindset among closet bigots in Palo Alto to keep their fair city predominantly WHITE and free of any homeless populations and/or poorer people of color?

If so, the PAPD is merely reflective of those they are sworn to 'serve and protect'.

A scary thought


Posted by Marianne
a resident of Professorville
on Jul 8, 2021 at 12:42 pm

Marianne is a registered user.

[Post removed.]


Posted by Jennifer
a resident of another community
on Jul 8, 2021 at 12:51 pm

Jennifer is a registered user.

No, supporting the police is human nature. It means you're a law abiding citizen, and a decent person. Enabling criminals and making excuses for them when they resist arrest is a skewed mindset.

Anyone, regardless of race, class, religion, sexual orientation, etc. will be on the receiving end of police brutality if they don't comply. Police brutality is wrong, but criminals bring it on themselves. Comply with the police, and chances are things will go smoothly. You have to get to the root of the problem, and refusing to comply is the reason. It's part of the equation Every. Single. Time. Criminals refuse to comply because they don't want to be arrested, and they have no respect for the police. There are consequences.


Posted by Juan G.
a resident of another community
on Jul 8, 2021 at 2:16 pm

Juan G. is a registered user.

~ Anyone, regardless of race, class, religion, sexual orientation, etc. will be on the receiving end of police brutality if they don't comply....Comply with the police, and chances are things will go smoothly...Criminals refuse to comply because they don't want to be arrested, and they have no respect for the police.

@Jennifer/a resident of another community:

Spoken like another white conservative 'law & order' person who doesn't seem to get it.

I agree that compliance is the best route to take when confronted by the cops but let me share a story...

Awhile back I was pulled over for a rolling stop and when the police ran a records check, they determined based on my appearance and common Hispanic surname that I was wanted in another state for armed robbery.

I complied and tried to explain that they were mistaken. After some gruff and 'disrespective' retorts on the part of the officer, I apparently insulted his IQ by questioning his non-professional methodology and was immediately handcuffed and forced to sit in the back of his squad car.

30 minutes later, it was finally established that I was not the individual on the wanted list and I was released.

The officer's parting words, "I'll be keeping my eye on you" and he offered no apology for his oversight.

So why should I respect someone who disrespects me based on racial profiling?

BTW...I did not flee the scene but apparently ' hurt his feelings' with my comments pertaining to his lack of overall intelligence.

Free speech is guaranteed by the First Amendment and as you once mentioned in an earlier thread, "what's right for the goose is right for the gander".

The police like to dish it out but they cannot take it.


Posted by F. Montoya
a resident of East Palo Alto
on Jul 8, 2021 at 2:58 pm

F. Montoya is a registered user.

Welcome to the club Juan.

Law enforcement has a racist past and it carries over into the present.

My ancestors are from the Lone Star State and many of the original Texas Rangers were former Klansmen bent on terrorizing Mexican families to ensure that white ranchers could acquire (aka steal) prime grazing land formerly granted to these Mexican families by the Mexican government.

And as a result, many former Mexican landowners became impoverished and had to work for the white man at a subsistence existence level.

The same thing occured in California except that the Klan/Rangers were replaced by various carpetbagging thieves like Leland Stanford, Colis Huntington, Charles Crocker, and Mark Hopkins...all of whom became quite wealthy over time and who are now viewed as key individuals in California history.

The cops are merely henchmen and hired guns for the avaricous whites who continue to exploit all people of color in order to satisfy their insatiable vanities.

There's nothing spiritual about these people and that mural should have been even larger.


Posted by Jennifer
a resident of another community
on Jul 8, 2021 at 3:02 pm

Jennifer is a registered user.

If you believe that "compliance is the best route when confronted by the cops" then do it. You can't tell the police "they're mistaken." If you don't want to be pulled over, don't roll through stop signs. You can hit and kill someone.

If I "disrespected" every man that was ever "sexist" would I run out of men to talk too? Or would I rise above it? I go with the latter.






Posted by F. Montoya
a resident of East Palo Alto
on Jul 8, 2021 at 3:08 pm

F. Montoya is a registered user.

"If you don't want to be pulled over, don't roll through stop signs. You can hit and kill someone."

True...but cops have also been known to fabricate vehicle code infractions. That is why we have traffic court, to challenge their embellishments (aka lies).

In Texas we have a saying, "best not to trust or play with rattlesnakes."


Posted by Ismail Muhammad
a resident of Midtown
on Jul 8, 2021 at 3:13 pm

Ismail Muhammad is a registered user.

[Post removed.]


Posted by Carlise Williams
a resident of East Palo Alto
on Jul 8, 2021 at 3:19 pm

Carlise Williams is a registered user.

Until there is a level playing field both socially and economically, these problems will persist, including police brutality and unwarranted harassment towards poorer people of color.

Only lily-white conservative mindsets support the police and their civil rights violations.

That speaks volumes.


Posted by Ismail Muhammad
a resident of Midtown
on Jul 8, 2021 at 3:22 pm

Ismail Muhammad is a registered user.

[Post removed.]


Posted by Ben Pierce
a resident of Barron Park
on Jul 8, 2021 at 4:05 pm

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[Post removed due to same poster using multiple names]


Posted by Ashley Tyler
a resident of Palo Alto Hills
on Jul 8, 2021 at 4:44 pm

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[Post removed due to same poster using multiple names]


Posted by Observer
a resident of Old Palo Alto
on Jul 8, 2021 at 4:46 pm

Observer is a registered user.

Lot of victims on this forum with mind sets that will never help black culture get ahead.

It's like telling a young Japanese person that they are responsible for Pear Harbor.

You get pulled over you respect the police no matter what and follow directions and go from there.

If you disrespected my intelligence I would get angry too!

USA is the best place in the world to live and if you feel like playing field is not level for everyone go live in Iran or China and let us know how that goes.

Slavery was horrible but it is 2021 with nothing but opportunity for black cultures so now up to that culture to make strides and stop living in the past!

It always goes back to the PERSON in the mirror for change to happen!

I also don't need my kids being taught they are racist because they are white or suffer from white fragility, my kids know about the harms done to blacks in the past and them being taught that in school sure as heck is not going to change what is going on in Chicago every weekend.




Posted by Tyrone Lawrence
a resident of East Palo Alto
on Jul 8, 2021 at 7:09 pm

Tyrone Lawrence is a registered user.

[Post removed.]


Posted by Jane
a resident of Midtown
on Jul 8, 2021 at 7:20 pm

Jane is a registered user.

[Post removed.]


Posted by Javon Petrie
a resident of another community
on Jul 8, 2021 at 7:46 pm

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[Post removed due to same poster using multiple names]



Posted by Ismail Muhammad
a resident of Midtown
on Jul 8, 2021 at 9:16 pm

Ismail Muhammad is a registered user.

[Post removed.]


Posted by Ismail Muhammad
a resident of Midtown
on Jul 8, 2021 at 9:22 pm

Ismail Muhammad is a registered user.

[Post removed.]



Posted by Jennifer
a resident of another community
on Jul 8, 2021 at 9:47 pm

Jennifer is a registered user.

A victim mentality is correct. It's an oppressive mindset, and what I was referring to -- insecurity and low self esteem.

I'm not a conservative (moderate Independent) but I do have a support the police mindset. Without the support of the community (any community) you're hindering your relationship with the police, and you're hurting yourself and the community.

I've been told by people of color that liberals "marginalize" them, and that's why more minorities are becoming Republicans. I'm NOT a Trump supporter, but Trump got more minority votes than any other Republican president, and that's sad. Woke liberals are alienating minorities, sending the wrong message that minorities need "extra help." No they don't. This is 2021 and we all need to pull ourselves up by our bootstraps if we want to succeed in life. No exceptions. No excuses.


Posted by Rebecca Eisenberg
a resident of Old Palo Alto
on Jul 8, 2021 at 11:33 pm

Rebecca Eisenberg is a registered user.

To those defending the police: I hear you. I do not doubt that the police do a great job of protecting you. It is clear that the police protect you; and that the system works well for you. You are grateful to the police, because the police protect you! How could you not be?

What you perhaps don't realize is that the police do not protect everyone like the police protect you. I don't need to be wrong for you to be correct. In other words, you are correct that the police protect you and keep you safe. But I also am correct that the police do not keep everyone safe, and also that for some people, the police cause danger. You call victims of police brutality "victims." You are correct. Many of those victims are dead because the police shot them. They are victims, as are their family members who lost a beloved husband, wife, son, daughter, father, mother, or friend. (etc.) Those slayed by the police are overrepresented by minorities, a shockingly large percentage of whom were innocent and peaceful.

Given that you have been part of a group of people protected by the police, perhaps you have not had opportunity to learn about the harm that the PAPD (like most PDs) often inflicts upon the people whom they don't protect the way they protect you. The PAPD has a known, documented record of police brutality against minorities. This history is so bad that it led to dozens of multi-million dollar lawsuits that have proceeded to trial (and thus not dismissed, as this suit will be, possibly with sanctions), and also has inspired investigations by both the FBI and the USDOJ Civil Rights Division. You can google this.

I hope you choose to expand your perspective. Again, no one is questioning your own perspective & experience. The question is: is it enough that the PAPD protect only SOME people in our community, or even most people in our community? Or, do you believe that the PAPD should protect ALL members of our community?

PAPD must protect ALL, I know you agree.


Posted by Nayeli
a resident of Midtown
on Jul 9, 2021 at 12:33 am

Nayeli is a registered user.

@ Juan G. - You wrote (about Jennifer), "Spoken like another white conservative 'law & order' person who doesn't seem to get it."

First of all, as a Hispanic woman, I find this offensive. Imagine if this was reversed. Imagine if someone said that you "speak like another brown liberal 'pro-crime' person who doesn't seem to get it." How would you respond? If you desire respect, it should be mutual.

Secondly, the "doesn't seem to get it" is a fallacy of logic. I'd argue that most people who support the police DO, in fact, "get it." You simply disagree with what they "get" (just as they disagree with what you "get").

As for your experience: You're under some notion that your detainment was indisputably due to racism. It doesn't matter than you might have shared the same name and description of a suspect. It certainly didn't help that you "insulted his IQ" (as you said).

Like most people, I've never had a problem with police.

I'm not white.
I'm a woman.
I wasn't born in this country.
I grew up very poor (as a migrant farm worker).
I speak with an accent (because I didn't learn English until I was entering high school).

I've been pulled over by police several times for things like a headlight being out or even speeding. Each time, I was respectful to the officers. I never feared them because the stereotypes and generalizations of cops are just that -- silly stereotypes and generalizations. As a result of my attitude, I was treated respectfully.

I'm not saying that there aren't bad or disrespectful cops. However, the vast majority of officers are good people doing a difficult job.

Of course, it doesn't help that many people who are like us are NOT respectful. Most of the claims of "police brutality" usually happens when a person is detained and becomes belligerent, disrespectful and, of course, resists arrest.

Therefore, I don't judge police by the behavior of a few bad apples JUST AS I hope that they don't judge me on the basis of bad Hispanic apples either.


Posted by Rennie Winters
a resident of Duveneck/St. Francis
on Jul 9, 2021 at 7:21 am

Rennie Winters is a registered user.

It is unfortunate how a temporary street mural condemning racism has created a such a controversy that could involve litigation against the City of Palo Alto.

Art can be both enlightening and disturbing in the same light as its intent is to raise an awareness from the artist's perspective.

Couldn't the PAPD commission an artist to create a mural or sculpture that conveys or validates its viewpoint on the George Floyd murder, race relations, or any other police-related controversies?

Palo Alto likes to think of itself as a city of art lovers and such an undertaking would not be that difficult to initiate.

And it too could be painted on Hamilton Avenue for a limited timeframe.


Posted by Pat McPheeters
a resident of Charleston Meadows
on Jul 9, 2021 at 9:52 am

Pat McPheeters is a registered user.

Was this mural in question considered to be actual art or political and social graffiti?

If it is considered art, then there should be no more questions regarding its content or theme.

On the other hand and since it was eventually painted over, graffiti is considered vandalism in most cases despite this controversial mural being sanctioned by the Palo Alto Arts Commission.

There are very few cases of disposable art otherwise it would never be remembered.


Posted by Marion Harvey
a resident of Old Palo Alto
on Jul 9, 2021 at 3:04 pm

Marion Harvey is a registered user.

One way to further endear the PAPD to the Palo Alto community would be for the off-duty officers to hold a barbeque at Mitchell Park and invite all Palo Alto residents including those of East Palo Alto to attend.

The officers (in full uniform) could do the grilling and the city could provide the necessary food and beverages from their sumptuous municipal budget.

Entertainment by a local cover band and pinatas filled with little plastic PAPD badges for the children would also add a nice touch towards healing the wounds inflicted by past police improprieties.

Such an event would also encourage BLM advocates to rethink their opinions of the police departments around the nation.

An opportunity for law enforcement and people of all colors to congregate, and get better acquainted.

Perhaps over Labor Day after more people have been vaccinated as this event could draw thousands of attendees.


Posted by Reginald Williams
a resident of Triple El
on Jul 9, 2021 at 3:27 pm

Reginald Williams is a registered user.

This is an article about a depiction person who was systematically harmed, and fought back. The government admitted it, yet somehow the police are the ones offended. If you even try to bring up documented systematic racism, you somehow have a "victim mentality". Such an interesting form of gaslighting.

And for those who keep mentioning slavery, systematic oppression didn't end at slavery... obviously.


Posted by Cyrus Taylor
a resident of Ventura
on Jul 9, 2021 at 3:38 pm

Cyrus Taylor is a registered user.

[Post removed.]


Posted by Seer
a resident of Meadow Park
on Jul 9, 2021 at 7:52 pm

Seer is a registered user.

Police people. If you had let me know of some evening hour when there would be no police going to be at the mural, I would have happily improved the letter to be either just a floral pattern, or a picture of that Palo Alto officer who saw me run through a stop sign on a "T" intersection street and told me "I support biking, so I'm just giving you a warning, have a good day". Or of a police officer saving a life.

The shocking truth is: The US is a less violent country than average around the world. The glut of guns means that police will shoot more people becasue they are on a hair trigger. Nevertheless, only about 1000 people a year are killed by police and most of them are armed and dangerous. Most of the wrongfull death killings are indeed done by a few bad apple cops. All such people have multiple cases where they are on a power trip and/or racist.

With the ongoing over-reaction, many times more blacks have been killed by gangs who feel it's open season. This creates sever structural factors in black neighborhoods becasue you cannot open a business, sell a house for a profit or even go to school where gangs rule. With all the "defund" hype, my distant cousin was helped in a crisis by social workers ... who needed police backup. There was no "savings" on police by using the social workers -- police simply have to go along on crisis cases even though in this case the cousin wasn't violent and they handled it quite well.


Posted by Seer
a resident of Midtown
on Jul 9, 2021 at 8:19 pm

Seer is a registered user.

@Raul Mendoza

By my googling:
> Do the police ever consider the 'feelings' of others when they stop countless people of color for unwarranted (racial profiling based) questioning?

Yes in the vast vast majority of cases. There is a slight bias against blacks and hispanics when you measure stops that find nothing, but there is also a statistic that a greater percent of such stops do yield weapons, drugs or evidence of criminal activity.

> Do the police strive to exercise restraint along with a certain degree of decorum when interacting with people of color?

The vast majority of stops: yes. There are over 50M stops/year. Almost 100% nothing goes wrong.

> Do the police consistently resist the the unnecessary discharge of their service weapons when encountering unarmed suspects...especially ones of color?

Heck yes! Over 50M stops/year, 1000 killings, but almost all those killings involved people engaged in violence against police or others. So, at of countless millions of interactions with blacks, whites etc, almost never does anything bad happen regardless of race.

> Do the majority of police officers privately and among themselves consider Derek Chauvin a martyr and a 'fall guy'?

I don't know. Of the one police officer I know: nope. Since the vast majority of police officers never dischage their gun in their entire careers, I'd hazard: nope. All statistics point exactly the other way: there is nothing systemic in the police, there are a few bad apples, they tend to get protection by police unions. I'd guess most police don't like these bad apples. Do the majority of people from BLM regard ALL police as murders etc?


Posted by ron
a resident of Esther Clark Park
on Jul 10, 2021 at 12:18 am

ron is a registered user.

5000 dollars per letter was paid by the city!


Posted by Ferris Young
a resident of Greenmeadow
on Jul 10, 2021 at 7:20 am

Ferris Young is a registered user.

"5000 dollars per letter was paid by the city!"

And then to be painted over? Is this a good use of taxpayer dollars?

A painting or tapestry permanently displayed in the City Hall lobby would have been a better art investment.

And then the PAPD might have something to complain about.


Posted by Baron Wong
a resident of Charleston Meadows
on Jul 10, 2021 at 8:36 am

Baron Wong is a registered user.

This concept would have had far more reaching impact if the original artwork had been converted into posters with every merchant, restaurant and office building in town displaying them at their option.

People would then see them everyday and everywhere as the overall message would become ubiquitous in Palo Alto...much to the chagrin of certain individuals.


Posted by Betsy Grimes
a resident of College Terrace
on Jul 10, 2021 at 8:56 am

Betsy Grimes is a registered user.

As a show of community solidarity, the artwork could also have been converted into little pins that PA municipal employees (including police officers), students, and local residents could have worn to show their continued support.


Posted by Ara Silverman
a resident of Menlo Park
on Jul 10, 2021 at 10:07 am

Ara Silverman is a registered user.

Police accountability has become a nationwide concern and this mural poignantly addressed the issue.

Some ways to ensure additional police accountability and to avoid future murals...

(1) Mandate that police officers must always have their bodycams 'on' while on duty. This is no different than the intersection cameras that are always turned on to check for vehicle-related infractions and license plates.

(2) Have 4-digit unlock codes on their handgun holdsters that must be activated in order to free the weapon. This will help to curtail any 'accidental' and unwarranted shootings.

(3) Encourage officers to take a lower division Sociology of Race course at one of the local junior colleges to get a better understanding of society as a whole. The city could easily pay for course registration and allow time-off pay for attendence and completion of the course.

(4) Encourage officers to aim their firearms at other body areas if the suspect is fleeing and unarmed.

Then there will be no further need for murals decrying police brutality along with any unsubstantiated 'hurt feelings'.


Posted by Dobbs
a resident of Midtown
on Jul 10, 2021 at 11:36 am

Dobbs is a registered user.

Oh the irony here is so think, castigating officers and claiming they have the "victim mentality". Aren't most of you making assumptions and stereotyping the officers? Isn't stereotyping and bias what we are hoping to correct from our officers while at the same time doing the very thing we hope to eradicate?


Posted by Aaron Heisler
a resident of Stanford
on Jul 10, 2021 at 1:22 pm

Aaron Heisler is a registered user.

>> Oh the irony here is so think, castigating officers and claiming they have the "victim mentality"...Isn't stereotyping and bias what we are hoping to correct from our officers while at the same time doing the very thing we hope to eradicate?

Law enforcement is currently being plagued by the actions of a few rogue officers who never should have been hired in the first place.

By proper pre-hire vetting and expedient disciplinary actions by their superiors for wrongful police actions, this victimhood claim on the part of both people of color and a few disgruntled police officers would never have arisen.

The police have only themselves to blame.


Posted by Barry Jameson
a resident of Downtown North
on Jul 10, 2021 at 2:57 pm

Barry Jameson is a registered user.

Maybe if the PACC were to designate a Police Appreciation Day the officers wouldn't feel so hurt.

A parade and community picnic would add a nice touch.


Posted by Lars Dietrich
a resident of Los Altos
on Jul 10, 2021 at 4:44 pm

Lars Dietrich is a registered user.

"To serve & protect" are the key words that every police officer should remember.

And even suspected criminals and perpetrators have civil rights.

Unfortunately the police frequently overlook this consideration given the countless civil lawsuits against them.


Posted by Preston Layne
a resident of Crescent Park
on Jul 11, 2021 at 7:45 am

Preston Layne is a registered user.

I suspect that many people base their distaste and contempt towards cops based on a few bad ones.

Using a bell curve to visualize and out of a hundred cops, 10-20 are probably bad ones while 10-20 are most likely decent individuals.

Like people, the other 60-80 probably fall somewhere in the middle.


Posted by Judy Hoag
a resident of Menlo Park
on Jul 11, 2021 at 9:10 am

Judy Hoag is a registered user.

Speaking of the 10-20% bad ones, in any profession whether it be clergy or law enforcement the bad examples are oftentimes self-loathing individuals prone to either hypocritically condemning or taking it out on others because of one's own inner demons.

It doesn't take a psychoanalyst to put 2+ 2 together.


Posted by Loretta
a resident of another community
on Jul 11, 2021 at 10:26 am

Loretta is a registered user.

Being in a rural area, we don't have any regular encounters with city police departments and officers, just the county sheriff's department and since there are no African American residents in our locale, this controversial downtown mural would have been considered irrelevant where we live.

Most folks here just keep to themselves and mind their own business as there is no need to be overly concerned about matters that do not directly involve us.


Posted by Midtown Citizen
a resident of Evergreen Park
on Jul 11, 2021 at 12:25 pm

Midtown Citizen is a registered user.

The facts of the underlying case are far from conclusive; an objective reading of the medical evidence presented at trial is that it was almost certain that Shakur was shot while holding her hands up and that it would have been anatomically impossible for her to pull a trigger after being shot. The facts make clear that Shakur and the others in her car were wanted for violent crimes, a traffic stop happened, and multiple people, including a cop, died as a result. A reasonable interpretation of the events leading up to the traffic stop is that the car was stopped for "driving while black"; the legal justifications were weak at best ("broken tail light", traveling "slightly above" the speed limit), but that was reality in the 1970s (and, shamefully, today). Assuming the best intentions for Foerster, it was tragic that he died that day, but to make the leap to Shakur being a "cop killer" is baloney. If the presence of Shakur on the mural make cops upset, it is because their fragile egos require the public to view them all as heroes and any deviation from that narrative risks them being seen as the flawed human beings they actually are. Some cops do heroic things, some do terrible things, and most just try to do a good job. Pretty much like everybody else.


Posted by Jason Brown
a resident of Barron Park
on Jul 11, 2021 at 3:42 pm

Jason Brown is a registered user.

It is unfortunate that the five PAPD officers are fixating on a now long gone mural that was created to acknowledge humanity and basic American civil rights over a year ago.

Why didn't they express their outrage and 'hurt feelings' at the time of its presentation to the public?


Posted by Name hidden
a resident of Downtown North

on Jul 11, 2021 at 11:22 pm

Due to repeated violations of our Terms of Use, comments from this poster are automatically removed. Why?


Posted by Loren Pfister
a resident of another community
on Jul 12, 2021 at 9:02 am

Loren Pfister is a registered user.

"Why didn't they express their outrage and 'hurt feelings' at the time of its presentation to the public?"

The five PAPD officers did not raise their complaint at the time of the mural's display because they would have appeared callous and self-serving during a time of public mourning and outrage.

The entire nation and the City of Palo Alto were addressing the wrongful police-inflicted death of George Floyd and condemning racism.

To have protested the mural at the time of its presence would have been a blatant endorsement of both racism and police brutality...bad PR for the PAPD.

So they waited until later to lodge their complaints.


Posted by Jennifer
a resident of another community
on Jul 12, 2021 at 9:38 am

Jennifer is a registered user.

The anti-police mural shouldn't have been allowed across from City Hall. Shakur IS a cop killer, and she escaped two years into her sentence. She's been on law enforcements radar for over forty years. The first woman to make the FBIs 10 Most Wanted list. Palo Alto taxpayers will pay for this, and once again -- thank the social justice warriors.

I'm reminded of attending an LAPD barbeque while attending college in Los Angeles. An African American police office told me "cop killers cut deeper than black men being lynched in the South." I believed him. The Palo Alto police officers have every right to sue, and their lawsuit has MERIT.


Posted by Kamika Washington
a resident of East Palo Alto
on Jul 12, 2021 at 10:25 am

Kamika Washington is a registered user.

"Shakur IS a cop killer,"

"to make the leap to Shakur being a "cop killer" is baloney."

Assata is no different than the intrepid Angela Davis (a former UCLA, UC Santa Cruz, and SF State professor and avowed Communist) who was acquitted by an all-white jury in Santa Clara County Superior Court for her alleged role in the Marin County Superior Court killings over 50 years ago.

Angela Davis is a hero to many African Americans as is Assata Shakur for their pro-actives roles in exposing the pervasive societal inequalities stemming from white racism.

Angela Davis was also on the FBI's Most Wanted List...a further testament to her courage and vision.


Posted by Alex
a resident of Barron Park
on Jul 12, 2021 at 10:37 am

Alex is a registered user.

Pathetic. If these babies can't pass by a mural to go to work, they have no business being in a position of authority.


Posted by Vera Billingsley
a resident of Stanford
on Jul 12, 2021 at 10:48 am

Vera Billingsley is a registered user.

>>An African American police office told me "cop killers cut deeper than black men being lynched in the South." I believed him.

This commentary speaks volumes...an African American police officer in denial of the historical violence inflicted upon his people and a presumably WHITE college student buying into such drivel.

Meanwhile five PAPD officers are suing the city because their feelings were hurt over a since removed mural chastising
pervasive law enforcement racism?


Posted by James Fisher
a resident of Menlo Park
on Jul 12, 2021 at 11:42 am

James Fisher is a registered user.

The police have a job to do and if this involves being non-PC about it, they will continue to do so despite any public outcry.

That said, we cannot have various perpetrators of any color disrupting the safety and well-being of law abiding American citizens.

Nevertheless, racism on the part of predominantly white police departments has been detrimental towards ensuring overall equality when it comes to police-related stops and interventions.

Racial profiling is simply a reference tool based on past statistical indescretions and should not be considered an absolute.

And as for this now controversial mural...if such a small number of PAPD officers have such a problem with it, then perhaps consider being less racist and reactionary towards suspects of color.


Posted by Willie Jefferson
a resident of East Palo Alto
on Jul 12, 2021 at 12:39 pm

Willie Jefferson is a registered user.

My daddy once told me that when a woman ceases to be a lady, he ceases to be a gentleman.

And the same applies to the police.

When they cease to treat EVERYONE regardless of color with dignity and respect, then people don't owe them any dignity or respect.


Posted by Reginald Williams
a resident of Triple El
on Jul 12, 2021 at 2:39 pm

Reginald Williams is a registered user.

@Jennifer

No, she isn't. Your unwillingness to look at the case is an entirely different problem. Your lack of understanding of the era is even worse.


Posted by Joaquin Morales
a resident of another community
on Jul 12, 2021 at 2:45 pm

Joaquin Morales is a registered user.

~ When they cease to treat EVERYONE regardless of color with dignity and respect, then people don't owe them any dignity or respect.

So true! Whenever I encounter an unruly cop, I always cooperate and end the conversation by saying, "I'll see you in court, Blueblood." (sarcastically because they are not Bluebloods by any sense of the word, just bullies with badges).

And to date + based upon the triviality of the offenses (i.e. minor traffic infractions, suspected DUI etc ) I have walked free because I was innocent.

It's no wonder the cops have a bad rep...they perpetuate it.


Posted by AlexDeLarge
a resident of Midtown
on Jul 13, 2021 at 12:10 am

AlexDeLarge is a registered user.


"Watch out, you might get what your after." - David Byrne


Posted by Penny Kobiesky
a resident of Los Altos
on Jul 13, 2021 at 7:59 am

Penny Kobiesky is a registered user.

By not authorizing the mural, this furor on the part of the PAPD would not have occured.

Mountain View and Palo Alto tend to be more active on social issues and that is commendable.

In Los Altos, a general focus on matters that actually impact us directly negates these kinds of controversies.


Posted by L. Malbec
a resident of Portola Valley
on Jul 13, 2021 at 9:17 am

L. Malbec is a registered user.

Concurring...while the mural had a purpose towards raising social awareness, it also raised the ire of the PAPD and I suspect that many officers were seething inside.

They felt betrayed by the public they are serving and their feelings were deeply hurt.

In PV and akin to Los Altos, most of us are not overly concerned with police improprieties because the majority of us do not have any confrontations with law enforcement other than an occasional DUI which can happen anywhere.

On the other hand, had the Palo Alto Art Commission sought the prior approval and endorsement of this mural by the PAPD, chances are it would have been met with some resistance.


Posted by Laurian Cannon
a resident of Menlo Park
on Jul 13, 2021 at 11:37 am

Laurian Cannon is a registered user.

If the mural was that noteworthy or an actual work of art, it would not have been permantly removed.

It was just another example of nondescript street graffiti that PA taxpayers actually subsidized.

Money well spent given the pending lawsuit?


Posted by Lei Ping
a resident of Charleston Meadows
on Jul 13, 2021 at 1:23 pm

Lei Ping is a registered user.

At least the City of Palo Alto had the courage and gumption to address a troubling national scenario.

In Hong Kong such a display and gathering of protesters would have been met with suppression and beatings by the local police.


Posted by Larry Delgado
a resident of Ventura
on Jul 14, 2021 at 9:07 am

Larry Delgado is a registered user.

Instead of waiting over a year to lodge their complaint, why didn't the offended officers simply address the George Floyd/BLM demonstration with megaphones and convey their opinions of Assata Shakur?


Posted by Consider Your Options.
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Jul 15, 2021 at 11:46 am

Consider Your Options. is a registered user.

I don't get it. What part of the mural was offensive to the police generally? I thought it was a beautiful expression of feelings about freedom and oppression, but I don't recollect any part of it specifically attacking local police.


Posted by Open Range
a resident of another community
on Jul 15, 2021 at 11:50 am

Open Range is a registered user.

To be offended by art and literature is the sign of an ignoramus.

And if the shoe fits...wear it.


Posted by Andy
a resident of Stanford
on Jul 15, 2021 at 12:08 pm

Andy is a registered user.

Both Palo Alto and Mountain View's PD have had some leaders and staff more interested in PR/politics than public safety.

For example, the former social media person for Palo Alto (Katie Nelson) moved to the Mountain View PD.

Under MV's current chief, Chris Hsiung, they spend most of their time on social issues with other PD's across the country for PR and fun, all while being paid MASSIVE salaries.

We need police to focus on public safety...period. That means NOT being political or taking sides in social causes.

If anyone on any cause wants to speak peacefully and lawfully, that is fine and the police's role should be to make sure it's safe...that's it. Not interject themselves into any side.

IF the Mountain View city manager or city council reads this (or anyone knows them), please fire Chris Hsiung and Katie Nelson ASAP.

And, Palo Alto Police should not be part of any BLM or any mural except a tribute to taxpayers who pay for their salaries.


Posted by Olivia Montenegro
a resident of another community
on Jul 15, 2021 at 4:33 pm

Olivia Montenegro is a registered user.

This is just a PR stunt by a few disgruntled PAPD officers who did not get the full drift of the mural or gathering.


Posted by Aric Chopra
a resident of Duveneck/St. Francis
on Jul 15, 2021 at 5:10 pm

Aric Chopra is a registered user.

Why do these five PAPD officers wish to present themselves and their department in an even poorer light by going forward with this lawsuit?


Posted by We Told You So!
a resident of Menlo Park
on Jul 15, 2021 at 5:13 pm

We Told You So! is a registered user.

I have to say that I LIKE the Majority of the Police first off.
I don't like "narrow minded police" though?
I took a Civic 101 Class, where we toured the Courts, Jails, Dispatch Office.
I loved watching the German Shepherds performance. Sniffing out the drugs etc.
We Toured the New Jail. I liked the Inmates caring for Animals. I didn't like it when we visited where the children came to visit their parent in a little 20ft room. This made it limited to visitors. If the parent had 4 kids only 2 could visit.
The Office doing the tour said to me, "its the parents fault. So let the children Suffer". I thought that COLD.
Those are the Police I want out of our Forces.

Shakur did not shoot anyone. Just like Huey Newton did no crime.
Let's see how many of those "Insurrectionist" are charged with the Murder of the Capitol Policeman that were Murdered in Living Color?
Or the Female Veteran that was killed in accordance with the Crime?
Someone has to stand accountable. Just like they want Shakur stood accountable
In Their Eyes.

I haven't heard if those 5 Palo Alto Policemen were/are calling out for those Policemen that were in that Crowd committing a Crime. In of All places OUR Capitol? How about the Lady that (once) Owned the Candy Shop on Santa Cruz Ave. In Menlo Park? She's since high tailed it out? Why did she leave, if that was so innocent? Most POC standing 2 Blocks away seem to get charged as an "Accessory"?

I think the 5 Policemen wanted it like it was or thought it was always in Palo Alto.
Whyte Supremacy on Top in Palo Alto. Like it once was. They can see their power waning.
To the People that think it was in simply a "POOR TASTE" matter to Include Shakur in the Mural? I say to you what do you have against "Creative License"?
Poor taste is when you plaster Thousands of "Swastik stickers" all over the place targeting an Entire Human Race. Like Wind Mills waving out, all over in the Air.


Posted by Aric Chopra
a resident of Duveneck/St. Francis
on Jul 15, 2021 at 5:22 pm

Aric Chopra is a registered user.

Interesting to note that it was the white supremacists (aka self-defined patriots) who stormed the Capitol on January 6th.

Now if it were people of color doing the same, imagine the potential bloodshed and lives lost.

There are two different worlds in America.

One is black and the other is white.

As for the five PAPD officers filing this suit, don't you have anything better to do?


Posted by Anonymous
a resident of Duveneck/St. Francis
on Jul 15, 2021 at 7:26 pm

Anonymous is a registered user.

I disagree with those who imply “Whites” are white supremacists.
I would guess the latter are less than 1% of the population.
Sounds horrible, hope I NEVER run across any nor do you.
Meanwhile “whites” are lumped together like a monolith, as if experiences, cultures are all the same - wow someone of my far, far, far northern ethnicity is quite different culturally from many other “whites.”
Plus, people are individuals.
I am ambivalent about “the police” in view of the terrible killing of George Floyd.m
Palo Alto police I view as a separate entity - open to hearing about them -
Not sure city money should be used for such a mural in their faces (here)


Posted by Ismail Muhammad
a resident of Midtown
on Jul 15, 2021 at 7:34 pm

Ismail Muhammad is a registered user.

[Post removed.]


Posted by Rev. Amy Zucker Morgenstern
a resident of Fairmeadow
on Jul 15, 2021 at 11:36 pm

Rev. Amy Zucker Morgenstern is a registered user.

Yes, Assata Shakur was convicted of killing a police officer. The correctness of that conviction, however, is deeply in doubt. The medical evidence strongly supported her contention that she had her hands up when she was shot in the incident, making her unable to fire as the prosecution claimed she subsequently did, and there was no gunpowder residue to support the prosecution's claim that she had fired a weapon. I wonder if the five officers who are suing are aware of this.

I also wonder where they got the idea that the logo of the New Black Panther Party (which I agree is a despicable organization) appears here, even in part. Their logo is a prowling panther (drawn from the original BPP logo) over the shape of Africa:

Web Link

And here is the mural:

Web Link

I don't see the logo on it anywhere. Do you?


Posted by Rev. Amy Zucker Morgenstern
a resident of Fairmeadow
on Jul 15, 2021 at 11:48 pm

Rev. Amy Zucker Morgenstern is a registered user.

Ismail Muhammad, where are you getting your statistics about the race and sex of the perpetrators of anti-Asian violence? My understanding is that this information is largely lacking.

However, the Viral Hate Project at the University of Michigan analyzed the fraction of cases in which it is available, and found that a disproportionate number of attackers were white (89%, though white people make up only 77% of the country's population) and a greatly disproportionate number were men (76%, though men make up under 50% of the country's population).

Web Link


Posted by We Told You So!
a resident of Menlo Park
on Jul 16, 2021 at 11:08 am

We Told You So! is a registered user.

@Ismail Muhammad?
I consider all of this as a Teaching Moment.
Respectfully, Your Statistics are off. You are believing what you See on your TV Set.
If you go to the FBI Website, you will see Who is committing Crimes.
You are entitled to Your Opinions, but not your Facts.

I am glad that I had the opportunity in reading your post, that you felt would violate standards here? I'd like to address your feelings Regarding the state of the Race that seem to create violence? (Not to get into the Minds of the 5 Officers), but it appears that they made an Opinion based on (in error) Court
Bias findings. They seem to be perpetuating an unchallenged decision from that "Era"?
As to mostly African Americans rioting/pillaging and attacking Asians. You have to get into the "Dynamics" that covers decades. We cannot "Cherry Pick". History is Written by the Winners. There is a "Cause & an Effect". Things just don't happen for "Invisible" reasons. And the Effects tend to remain. Effects don't go away, just because of someone else's "Wants & Needs".

You claim statics, but they aren't correlating with the FBI's Website?
Ismail, this perpetuate Stereotypes. Solely because you see things happening on TV, the 6 O'clock News? Doesn't make it a "Life" tradition for that Race. Look I could Say that your Last Name could perpetuate a "Stereotype"? Assumptions.

Look at The paragraph You wrote about Those that are in Denial. YOU state this...
"There’s a reason why certain racial groups often come into more confrontations and unpleasant situations with law enforcement… it is not due to systemic racism or police bias… it’s because different racial groups do not commit crimes at the same rate and proportion."
Sorry, but what you are creating is "Systemic". Are You NOT aware of what "Systemic" is?
I am So Happy that you took time out to respond with Your Impressions, which I am sure express those of others with the same views.


Posted by Ismail Muhammad
a resident of Midtown
on Jul 16, 2021 at 11:14 am

Ismail Muhammad is a registered user.

[Post removed.]


Posted by Ismail Muhammad
a resident of Midtown
on Jul 16, 2021 at 11:18 am

Ismail Muhammad is a registered user.

[Post removed.]


Posted by Consider Your Options.
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Jul 16, 2021 at 11:34 am

Consider Your Options. is a registered user.

On the whole, I think most Palo Alto police behave professionally and are dedicated public servants. I'm grateful for their service. They have a difficult, but necessary job, and I appreciate the work they do. Every human organization has "problem people". Police are not immune to this. It saddens me that some on this thread do not recognize the many good folks who work in the PAPD and serve our community with serious dedication to fairness under the law.

All of that said, PAPD is presently grossly understaffed. I would like the city to build up the traffic team and patrol. We are seeing an large increase in home burglaries and driver behavior problems have escalated, creating unsafe conditions.

Neighbors, could we PLEASE recognize that policing is really hard work--and that it is needed? Yes. Police reforms are needed, and the city is working actively on that. We citizens can support our police by reporting incidents that need their attention...and by behaving like good citizens. That is, obeying speed limits and other vehicle code that their services are less needed to manage community safety.

Finally, with all due respect to the officers engaged in the suit, I don't see how that mural was about you. It was about systemic racism--which is real. Personalizing it as though it was an attack on you is not helping your valued cause--treating people equally under the law.

Stay safe, officers. I value and appreciate your important work.


Posted by Raul Montez
a resident of another community
on Jul 16, 2021 at 3:28 pm

Raul Montez is a registered user.

The mural made its statement and the five PAPD officers made theirs.

Time to move on.


Posted by We Told You So!
a resident of Menlo Park
on Jul 17, 2021 at 1:53 am

We Told You So! is a registered user.

[Post removed.]


Posted by Biff Connors
a resident of Barron Park
on Jul 17, 2021 at 8:46 am

Biff Connors is a registered user.

This is a frivolous complaint on the part of the five PAPD officers.

They could have addressed the issue at the time of the mural's actual existence rather than waiting for the rampant anti-police sentiments over the George Floyd killing to die down.


Posted by Michael Kastner
a resident of Stanford
on Jul 17, 2021 at 9:56 am

Michael Kastner is a registered user.

For many black social activists, Assata Shakur is no different than Nathan Hale who chose liberty over death during the American Revolution.

The white people are entitled to their legendary heroes as are the black people and it is not for anyone to judge.

Life is complex.


Posted by Philomena De La Cruz
a resident of another community
on Jul 17, 2021 at 12:47 pm

Philomena De La Cruz is a registered user.

The police are incapable of looking at themselves in the mirror..in a concerted effort to end brutality and harassment towards people of color.

This petty complaint is nothing more than sour grapes because the police is now being held accountable for their past and present transgressions.

No sympathy whatsoever.


Posted by Rufus Taylor
a resident of Woodside
on Jul 17, 2021 at 1:27 pm

Rufus Taylor is a registered user.

Big city police are the worst offenders in terms of blatant human and constitutional (aka civil) rights.

Palo Alto is small potatos and the five PAPD officers should consider being grateful for the easy job they have rather than griping about trivialities.


Posted by Jenna Wilson
a resident of another community
on Jul 18, 2021 at 8:11 am

Jenna Wilson is a registered user.

It seems that most people are either pro-police or anti-police leaving very little middle ground.

Kind of like eating liver...you either enjoy it or detest it.


Posted by Chantel Withers
a resident of East Palo Alto
on Jul 18, 2021 at 9:54 am

Chantel Withers is a registered user.

[Post removed.]


Posted by Ezra Stein
a resident of Portola Valley
on Jul 18, 2021 at 10:39 am

Ezra Stein is a registered user.

A pro-police rally and mural defending their unwarranted actions against black people would be frightening for those who survived the Holocaust.


Posted by Elmo Jameson
a resident of Menlo Park
on Jul 18, 2021 at 12:34 pm

Elmo Jameson is a registered user.

It would also be frightening to believers in a free society that promotes equality and justice for all.


Posted by Morgan Powers
a resident of Menlo Park
on Jul 18, 2021 at 1:44 pm

Morgan Powers is a registered user.

"a free society that promotes equality and justice for all."

There are laws to promote equality but no justice.

Right now, police forces throughout the country are being viewed in a very poor light and the five PAPD officers are merely trying to salvage an already damaged departmental reputation by lodging this petty complaint.


Posted by Roberta Prescott
a resident of Downtown North
on Jul 19, 2021 at 11:48 am

Roberta Prescott is a registered user.

> the five PAPD officers should consider being grateful for the easy job they have rather than griping about trivialities.

Yes...don't look a gift horse in the mouth.

Just enjoy your brioche and coffee.


Posted by Citizen
a resident of College Terrace
on Jul 19, 2021 at 4:40 pm

Citizen is a registered user.

Shakur was convicted of being an accessory to murder in the killing of a police officer. She is a cop killer. She should not be celebrated using our tax dollars and the city did use our tax dollars to pay for this offensive mural portraying and celebrating a cop killer.


Posted by Citizen
a resident of College Terrace
on Jul 19, 2021 at 4:41 pm

Citizen is a registered user.

It's not a petty complaint.


Posted by TimR
a resident of Downtown North
on Jul 19, 2021 at 5:23 pm

TimR is a registered user.

"To be offended by art and literature is the sign of an ignoramus."

Art such as the bronze statue of Teddy Roosevelt in front of the Museum of Natural History? Or the mural at George Washington High School in SF? Or the many, many other works of art that "progressives" find offensive? Yes, I agree, the people trying to remove those are ignoramuses to the Nth degree!


Posted by Miles Hertzke
a resident of Stanford
on Jul 20, 2021 at 8:10 am

Miles Hertzke is a registered user.

@TimR

Point well taken but I imagine you would agree that removing the statue of Nathan Bedford Forrest/founder of the KKK was justified.


Posted by Valerina Petrovsky
a resident of Stanford
on Jul 20, 2021 at 10:12 am

Valerina Petrovsky is a registered user.

If the PAPD spent as much time and effort PREVENTING crime rather than whining about a long-gone street mural, the city would be even safer.

Instead the PAPD focuses on issuing minor traffic tickets and writing crime reports 'after the fact'.

Meanwhile the perpetrators have gotten away...as usual.

There are no Kojaks or Dick Tracys on the force...not even a Columbo.


Posted by JasonAtLarge
a resident of Stanford
on Jul 20, 2021 at 11:28 am

JasonAtLarge is a registered user.

Like when was the last time you saw an off-duty police officer at an art exhibit, opera, or the symphony?

They are not exactly 'culture vultures'.

Thus the sully furor over a mural comes as no big surprise.

And chances are, most of the younger cops have never heard of Assata Shakur.


Posted by Bryne Corbin
a resident of Greendell/Walnut Grove
on Jul 20, 2021 at 3:21 pm

Bryne Corbin is a registered user.

If they were 'culture vultures' or academics, chances are these individuals wouldn't be police officers.

As some have said, it takes a certain type of person to become a cop and fortunately I don't know of or associate with any of them.


Posted by Frank
a resident of Midtown
on Jul 20, 2021 at 7:04 pm

Frank is a registered user.

The article mentions the "city" invited artists. May we know specifically who authorized a "political message" to be posted on public property? May we hold these folks accountable for the cost to "city" for lawsuit. May we take the cost out the city manager's salary?

Is the "city" going to invite artists to message "Blue Lives Matter"?

By their nature "political messages" are controversial; they are likely to offend someone. Posting political messages on public property is a BAD idea. It is BAD public policy. May we get the city manager to focus on delivering the public services expected of city government?


Posted by Jim Prentiss
a resident of Crescent Park
on Jul 21, 2021 at 8:06 am

Jim Prentiss is a registered user.

"Is the "city" going to invite artists to message "Blue Lives Matter"?"

Maybe someday...but only after the police assume a position that 'all lives matter'.

For the longest time, the police have been granted immunity from prosecution for unwarranted shootings and various brutalities towards people of color.

The Minneapolis/George Floyd/Derek Chauvin incident raised national consciousness and the Palo Alto mural was merely an extension and reflection of this growing public sentiment demanding full accountability on the part of law enforcement.

No sympathy here for any personal affront and 'hurt feelings' on the part of the five PAPD officers...the police brought this on themselves.


Posted by Terrence MacCafrey
a resident of Community Center
on Jul 21, 2021 at 8:56 am

Terrence MacCafrey is a registered user.

No empathy here for the PAPD '5'.

Courtesy and respect is a two-way street and if law enforcement cannot practice this concept on a regular basis, why should the public have any respect for the police?


Posted by Vance Johnson
a resident of another community
on Jul 21, 2021 at 11:54 am

Vance Johnson is a registered user.

The police do not owe belligerent suspects any courtesy or respect unless the suspects are proven innocent in a court of law.

Until then, anything goes.


Posted by We Told You So!
a resident of Menlo Park
on Jul 21, 2021 at 12:35 pm

We Told You So! is a registered user.

Just another Way of attempting to Control Others.

Simple as that and to Appear to Be On Top of holding their foot on the
necks of the those that they don't care for. If They could, they would have it like in the "Old Days".
Have anyone that they don't care for, to cross on the opposite side of the Streets.
They can't look'em in the eye. No Body Cams etc.

I say to the 5 Policemen this....
Take care of Your Jurisdiction and Leave "Creativeness" to The Artist.

But I still like Most Police. Just not Narrow Minded ones.


Posted by Pierce Latham
a resident of Stanford
on Jul 22, 2021 at 7:43 am

Pierce Latham is a registered user.

The PAPD in a best case scenario, could create a mural that encourages the public to get vaccinated against Covid-19.

Oh wait...only 60% (or less) of the PAPD is fully vaccinated.

Back to the drawing board.


Posted by Felicity Jameson
a resident of Duveneck/St. Francis
on Jul 22, 2021 at 8:51 am

Felicity Jameson is a registered user.

The PAPD could also issue a statement testifying that they support the BLM movement and condemn unwarranted police violence against suspects of any color.

And what are the odds of that ever happening?


Posted by Philomena Jacobsen
a resident of another community
on Jul 22, 2021 at 9:18 am

Philomena Jacobsen is a registered user.

> And what are the odds of that ever happening?

About the same as the entire PAPD being vaccinated against Covid-19.


Posted by Lettie Schoenberg
a resident of Old Palo Alto
on Jul 22, 2021 at 10:48 am

Lettie Schoenberg is a registered user.

[Post removed.]


Posted by Marcus Jackson
a resident of another community
on Jul 22, 2021 at 12:22 pm

Marcus Jackson is a registered user.

[Post removed.]


Posted by Kimberly Thompson
a resident of Los Altos
on Jul 22, 2021 at 3:21 pm

Kimberly Thompson is a registered user.

The difference between Palo Alto and Los Altos when it comes to the police...

In Los Altos, the police answer to the residents and not the other way around.

On the other hand, being a predominantly white upper middle class community, there is minimal crime in Los Altos.

Best case scenario regardless of demographics...avoid the police at all costs for they are not your friends.


Posted by Justin Case
a resident of Mountain View
on Jul 22, 2021 at 3:58 pm

Justin Case is a registered user.

> avoid the police at all costs for they are not your friends.

Law enforcement is their first priority.

Friendship is a distant 10th.


Posted by James Lochner
a resident of Barron Park
on Jul 23, 2021 at 8:40 am

James Lochner is a registered user.

The mural wasn't particularly aesthetic and created a distraction for motorists.

If the mural was considered true art rather than graffiti, it would not have been painted over.

So all things considered, the five PAPD officers should move on and return to the jobs they are being paid to do.

Like how many of us are offended by spray painted messages on a passing railroad boxcar?


Posted by Mandy Caine
a resident of another community
on Jul 23, 2021 at 9:14 am

Mandy Caine is a registered user.

[Post removed.]


Posted by Chantille Watson
a resident of another community
on Jul 23, 2021 at 11:24 am

Chantille Watson is a registered user.

[Post removed.]


Posted by Roger Lemon
a resident of Community Center
on Jul 25, 2021 at 9:45 am

Roger Lemon is a registered user.

Hopefully this issue had died down with the five PAPD officers resuming their
salaried responsibility to the public.

That is to serve + protect (including a 100% vaccination rate among its patrolmen and internal staff).


Posted by Robert Montez
a resident of Greenmeadow
on Jul 25, 2021 at 11:54 am

Robert Montez is a registered user.

The artwork was kind of crappy but it made a profound statement given the events of the day.

And if the PAPD is that upset, perhaps they can commission a tapestry or sculpture to counter the BLM mural.


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