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Mountain View birthday party ends in violence

Original post made on Aug 14, 2008

A birthday party on East Middlefield Road in Mountain View turned into a violent melee Saturday, with police forcefully arresting six people. In the process, two partiers were injured and a third was zapped with a Taser gun.

Read the full story here Web Link posted Thursday, August 14, 2008, 12:15 PM

Comments (41)

Posted by Hulkamania, a resident of Duveneck/St. Francis
on Aug 14, 2008 at 6:18 pm

Good ol' demon rum strikes again.

Posted by KT, a resident of Midtown
on Aug 14, 2008 at 9:01 pm

I congratulate the cops for getting the situation under control. At least we are not mourning a police officer right now and just tending some defensive wounds that were necessarily inflicted in order to resolve a situation that was completely out of control!!!
People think that cops are aggressive and mean, but they won't be unless you think twice before opening your big mouth and starting a fight with an officer!!

Posted by Police are out of control, a resident of Downtown North
on Aug 14, 2008 at 9:33 pm

Is anyone else disturbed that the reporting here is so one-sided? It sounds to me as though the police invaded a private party and a number of people, who otherwise would have spent the afternoon celebrating a birthday, were sent to the hospital.

The reason that the police department leaked this story to the newspapers was clearly pre-emptive: they know they are wrong, there are quite a few witnesses who will testify about the true sequence of events, and the department is doing a quick CYA in hopes of avoiding legal action against them. However, I don't think the department is going to be able to suppress this scandal.

Posted by Character Witness, a resident of Atherton
on Aug 14, 2008 at 11:12 pm

In time, the true story will come out.

Based on what I've heard, this is a clear case of unprovoked brutality by the police. The most disturbing things I've heard indicate that the environment around the MtView Police department may encourage and defend outrageous, violent behavior on the part of their police officers.

Posted by left town, a resident of another community
on Aug 14, 2008 at 11:41 pm

I have seen this before.
Back in 1997 MVPD shot someone next to my aprartment. The individual was about to surrender when the officer fired three shots (all shots were fired towards my apartment). This happened at the Westwood Garden Apt on Tyrella, Mt. View.
During the last seven years the MVPD would harrass my for riding his BMX, and mountain at 25mph. They were always giving us a hard time for standing up for our shelves.
When it came time to fight the slum lord, the city, and the MVPD would not help.
Maybe we have to many rules now.
Maybe this is why we will never come back.

Posted by Grateful, a resident of another community
on Aug 15, 2008 at 8:13 am

Sounds more like the partygoers were the problem to me. The cops were there to ask them to turn off music in response to complaints, a real hard task for someone to comply with....

Posted by a friend, a resident of Crescent Park
on Aug 15, 2008 at 8:39 am

Grateful, just wondering, are you a cop?

The people at the party did turn the music off when the police arrived. But apparently that wasn't enough. They had already called for back-up, and as far as they were concerned, it was time to party. And when police party, innocent folks get hurt.

Unfortunately for the Mountain View PD, the 11 (not 15) people at the party have quite a few friends and family in the area. The injured parties are seeking legal redress. This does not bode well for the MVPD, and they brought it on themselves.

Posted by Victor, a resident of Charleston Gardens
on Aug 15, 2008 at 8:54 am

it's always somewhat amusing reading these types of articles and recognizing names from one's high school past. sounds like this would have been a fun brazilian party, had there been no violence.

Posted by Puhleaze, a resident of Menlo Park
on Aug 15, 2008 at 8:57 am

When the cops show up at your place after numerous complaints, you gotta cooperate. Otherwise, you eat asphalt, get arrested & your life is screwed up.

What is this thing about multiculturalism re this incident? Where were the party-goers from?

Posted by out of control cops, a resident of Professorville
on Aug 15, 2008 at 10:21 am

From all accounts (other than those of the police department--and we understand that they are trying to justify their illegal actions) the party goers did cooperate, having been assured by other officers, who had responded to the previous two calls, that the music was not problematic.

I would guess that an anonymous busybody neighbor must have been repeatedly calling the police. I expect that the police get a lot of calls from busybodies, and hope they do a better job of handling them than they did this time.

The police cannot take the law into their own hands. If the officers are not sanctioned for their behavior, we should all be afraid because our rights are being eroded so fast that we're in danger of becoming police state residents.

Posted by Janelle, a resident of Midtown
on Aug 15, 2008 at 10:47 am

It sounds like drunk party goers being disrespectful to law enforcement. If the cop says to turn down the music, zip your lips and do it. Being confrontational and aggressive with police will get you no where.

Posted by Don Frances, managing editor of the Mountain View Voice
on Aug 15, 2008 at 11:02 am

Don Frances is a registered user.

In response to comments by "Police are out of control" and others, I'd like to clarify: the police did not "leak this story to the newspapers." The story came to our attention from an anonymous caller who knew one or more of the party-goers. We then had to ask police for details.

Since hearing about this incident, we've tried repeatedly to get comment from people who were at the party or live next door to it. So far no luck, but we'll keep trying.

Posted by Truth, a resident of Old Palo Alto
on Aug 15, 2008 at 11:33 am

Janelle, they turned down the music. But even if they hadn't, would that have been grounds for the police inflicting injuries that sent a couple of people to the hospital? Is a noise complaint grounds for ignoring property rights? There are a few people in my quiet neighborhood who regularly call the police for annoyances that the rest of us try to overlook. Fortunately, I don't live in Mountain View and I have never known anyone who was a victim of police brutality.

Don, I question your statement. I have spoken to party attendees, and no one has been contacted by your publication. I also emailed the writer, and received no response from him. Remember Albert Hopkins? The incursions suffered by the parties you name in your article are far more serious. The City of Palo Alto paid Mr. Hopkins $750,000 not to file a suit. I suspect that the consequences for Mountain View and its police department will be far more significant and potentially more expensive. If I were you, I would think about the possible consequences of publishing defamatory statements as fact.

Posted by Janelle, a resident of Midtown
on Aug 15, 2008 at 12:18 pm

Truth -

Ignoring police authority is the problem. Being a property owner does not make it ok to disrespect the police or your neighbors. According to the article the party goers became aggressive. That's all I need to hear to know that the cooperation of the party goers was lacking. If you resist the police a bloodied face may result.

Posted by Annoyed, a resident of another community
on Aug 15, 2008 at 1:23 pm


Check your facts. The City paid Hopkins 250,000 not 750,000. If you don't live here, how did you "contact" party attendees? The article said that the Police went out a final time so there must have been repeated visits. Even if this was the first time, when faced with aggresive behavior someone is going to jail. if they get hurt while resisting the police didn't create that behavior.

I am so "annoyed" with people who want to blame the cops every time that they disagree with an event like this and believe me, anyone who wan't there, is porely speculating about what happened.

Posted by truth, a resident of Old Palo Alto
on Aug 15, 2008 at 3:02 pm

Forgive my typo. Yes, it was 250k.

I am sorry you are annoyed, but someone needs to protect our basic freedoms--yours too! The police do not have the right to introduce violence into an otherwise peaceful situation, no matter how loud the music is. The law is very clear about allowable force, and the police overstepped.

They were not breaking up a fight, and if a bottle is a weapon, then everyone's home is full of weapons, heaven protect us all. There was no reason to use force.

I expect that the DA will drop the charges, and that Mountain View will be fortunate if the victims of this attack do not press charges.

Posted by W, a resident of Mountain View
on Aug 15, 2008 at 4:14 pm

Truthseeker it sounds like these are friends of yours too, and that you know the true story as well. I have an article that I am preparing for the MTV Voice and the City Council that I'd like to run some ideas past you with. I've been a victim of Mountain View police harassment as well, and would love to see justice done. Please email me at truthseeker at mailnicks dot com

Posted by ShawnP, a resident of Barron Park
on Aug 15, 2008 at 5:31 pm


I was waiting for someone to bring up "freedom" and "rights" as an excuse for the party goers behavior towards law enforcement. If you want to talk about rights the cops have the right to enforce the law. If you choose to be aggressive and resist, then watch your freedom of having a party be taken away. Simple as that...

Posted by concerned, a resident of Charleston Gardens
on Aug 15, 2008 at 5:40 pm

Wow. Amazing comment thread. What's baffling is that even with the severe police bias in the article, it still smells very fishy. If a swarm of 15 party goers attacked a couple of police who called for backup, where in the article does it say what the injuries were that the police sustained? Would the police not have fired off warning shots or withdrew their weapons if they felt threatened? If they were attacked by 15 partygoers, why were there only a handful of arrests and 3 assault charges? This sounds like a blatant case of abuse.

Posted by truth, a resident of Old Palo Alto
on Aug 15, 2008 at 5:45 pm

Shawn P, what do you know about the victims' behavior toward law enforcement? You only know what the police want you to know. Witnesses agree that the peaceful (if loud) party became violent only when, and only because of the police intervention.

No one resisted arrest. No one was aggressive, other than the police.

Personally, if the police walked into MY backyard, I would be within my rights to question their presence. If they construed my question as "assault" (bear in mind that I'm short and skinny and not real intimidating) and used that as a reason to throw me to the ground, then I would be pretty angry.

I am astonished that everyone isn't outraged about this incident.

Posted by truth, a resident of Old Palo Alto
on Aug 15, 2008 at 5:50 pm

Concerned, my understanding is that there were 8 people present and approximately 20 police officers. Six people were arrested and held in jail for hours before given medical treatment.

Note that "assault" does not require injury or physical contact. The legal definition only states that the assaulted person had reason to be afraid of the person who committed assault.

Posted by Jake, a resident of Downtown North
on Aug 15, 2008 at 6:21 pm

Truth - where are you getting your information? Were you there? Do you know the witnesses and/or party-goers?

Posted by joel, a resident of Duveneck/St. Francis
on Aug 15, 2008 at 6:35 pm

As this crime was in MV why should Palo Altans care.

Crime is rampant in EPAWeb Link

it is not our problem.

Posted by e, a resident of Midtown
on Aug 16, 2008 at 11:40 am

police misconduct exposes itszelf despite the downplay on palo alto online! these stories are coming up .polce agression in 911 era will come to light and no amount of downplaying will work youre just going to ave to talk about it and take action on the faascist takeover of he states

Posted by Nora Charles, a resident of Stanford
on Aug 17, 2008 at 1:35 am

Nora Charles is a registered user.

Put yourselves in the shoes of the police. They are confronted with a large, drunken group and fear for their safety. If the party-goers had complied with police requests perhaps they would not have been forced to the ground, tasered, arrested, et cetera. And what does multi-culturalism have to do with this? If a group is drunk in public and a nuisance to neighbors and abusive to police it should not matter what race or color they are.

Years ago in my high-spirited days I attended many a party (in another city) where the police dropped by to ask us to tone it down. They were always polite, simply asking the homeowner and merrymakers to turn down the music, not shriek in the streets, keep the booze inside, and so forth. They might even have visited again for another sterner warning. But they were NEVER abusive nor did they arrest anyone, simply because we were polite to them, not brandishing beer bottles and challenging them. Clearly this Mountain View party was a doozy and completely out of control. I say bravo to the police department; they are rarely thanked for performing a very dangerous job.

Posted by alex, a resident of Midtown
on Aug 17, 2008 at 6:57 am

"Zapped with a Taser gun", you gotta be kidding me. "Zapped"? Please find new writers.

Posted by GD, a resident of Mountain View
on Aug 17, 2008 at 8:28 am

I cant beleive how many people automatically doubt the police and favor those who resisted, these guys put their lives on the line everyday working 18 hr shifts only to be sued by idiots at the end of the day for not being nice

Posted by mary, a resident of Mountain View
on Aug 17, 2008 at 8:56 am

I hope they check the immigration status of everyone involved in this thug event and that they are punished to the full extent of the law.

Posted by truth, a resident of Downtown North
on Aug 17, 2008 at 8:56 am

Nora, why do you assume that the partygoers were not polite? Note also that this was not a public party; it was held in a private, secluded, fenced backyard.

Simply put: there was no problem until the police arrived and made trouble. And throwing people to the ground and sending them to the hospital is a huge step past "not being nice."

Posted by Jake, a resident of Downtown North
on Aug 17, 2008 at 11:26 am

Truth - You still haven't answered my questions from 2 days ago. Where are you getting your information? Were you there? Do you know the witnesses and/or party-goers?

Posted by truth, a resident of Downtown North
on Aug 17, 2008 at 12:26 pm

Sorry, Jake, didn't see your questions. I have obtained my information from people who were present at the party, and have no reason to doubt the veracity of their statements. I have seen the injuries that were inflicted. I offered to talk to the reporter but the newspaper does not seem interested in presenting a balanced picture of the events.

That said, I do not think that this is the appropriate venue to try this case.

Posted by Nora Charles, a resident of Stanford
on Aug 17, 2008 at 10:45 pm

Nora Charles is a registered user.

Truth, I gather that some of the party goers were not polite because the article stated that some became "argumentative and aggressive," and one threatened to throw a beer bottle. Not exactly putting out the welcome mat for police or exhibiting civilized behavior. It doesn't matter that it was in a "private, secluded, fenced backyard." If it was a boisterous gathering and thus disturbing neighbors, that can warrant a visit from police.

Posted by truth, a resident of Downtown North
on Aug 18, 2008 at 12:14 am

The article presents the police officers' perspective. A bit one-sided, wouldn't you say? The California Penal Code has specific guidelines, and the courts, all the way through the Supreme Court (eg Graham v Connor) have been clear: police may not use excessive force.

The question isn't whether or not the gathering was noisy. The issue is whether it is appropriate for the police to inflict injuries on otherwise peaceful partygoers whose main crime was listening to loud music. When we start to excuse this kind of violence, we are accepting the distinct possibility that we may be its next victims.

Posted by ISO full truth, a resident of another community
on Aug 18, 2008 at 11:36 am

truth (half truth) --
I'd hardly call threatening to throw a beer bottle "otherwise peaceful". You yourself are looking at it very one-sided. Maybe (emphasis on the word maybe) you've only spoken with the peaceful ones in the backyard. Maybe you haven't spoken to the ones who answered the door, or the ones who were argumentative or agressive. Or maybe they're less than forthcoming in their version of events. I find it hard to believe that the police were solely responsible for escalating the situation.

Posted by truth, a resident of Downtown North
on Aug 18, 2008 at 12:42 pm

ISO full truth, if you did any research, you would find ample examples of police escalating a situation. A former Daly City police officer is currently serving time for a similar episode: Web Link

The California Penal Code has entire sections devoted to preventing police brutality. Why? Because it's human nature to let power go to your head, and the legislature understands the importance of reminding the police that self restraint is not only admirable, it's mandatory.

No one can be certain of the exact sequence of events, and it's likely that the videotape will be "damaged" before a jury has a chance to see it. I might ask you if you have talked to any of the witnesses. I have, and I have read the police account. Perhaps you should do the same before drawing conclusions.

Posted by ISO full truth, a resident of another community
on Aug 18, 2008 at 1:28 pm

Fair enough. Then can you tell me, since you seem to have greater access to facts than the rest of us, was there a threat to throw a beer bottle? I have no reason to believe that this was made up.

I don't believe in jumping to conclusions and over-villainizing EITHER side. It's hard for me to believe that the police were entirely to blame while the party-goers did NOTHING more than listen to loud music, which is how I interpret your point. In your effort to defend the partiers, you seem to ignore important truths yourself.

Posted by Don Frances, managing editor of the Mountain View Voice
on Aug 18, 2008 at 4:28 pm

Don Frances is a registered user.

Person calling himself "truth":

Your claim to have tried to contact us at the Voice is false. We've followed up on every phone call received, and spoken to all of the callers personally. By now we've contacted several of the arrestees, however none will talk on the record because their lawyers are advising against it.

In lieu of any other usable account of what happened, we have only the police version to go on, plus a broad and general denial of that version by those at the party. Your unverifiable and anonymous account put forth here is definitely not usable.

Want to change that? You can talk to me personally and on the record about what happened. My direct number is 964-6300, ext. 26.

Posted by truth, a resident of Downtown North
on Aug 18, 2008 at 5:30 pm

Don, I emailed the writer of the article, not you. I did not call. I agree that it would be inappropriate for the victims to talk to you. I'm still puzzled by your decision to run the police version of the story to impugn the reputations of the accused. I can't think why your newspaper would want to risk being a party to the inevitable lawsuits.

ISO full truth, I hope you find it. Meanwhile, there is quite a bit of fascinating and informative material on the topic. You can start by googling "California Penal Code" "excessive force." And do continue to put your blind faith in the your own peril.

Posted by Annoyed, a resident of another community
on Aug 18, 2008 at 9:01 pm

You're starting to sound like sided and unwilling to see both sides rationally.

Posted by Stop police brutality, a resident of Mountain View
on Aug 20, 2008 at 7:03 pm

While reading this, I'm not surprised how this situation was handled by the MVPD. Unfortunately, I was able to experience first-handed how the Mountain View Police can escalate any situation into an arrest without any good reason. The MV police uses police-terrorism tactics such as intimitadion, excessive use of force (phisically and verbally) to make up charges where they don't exist. It seems like Mountain View is becoming a "police state" community.

I feel sorry for the victims' suffering, and I hope that justice will prevail at the end.

Posted by final word..., a resident of another community
on Oct 8, 2008 at 10:16 pm

Hmmm, interesting. Truth, how many times have your put on a uniform and a bullet-proof vest. How many times have you had to take a gun with you to work instead of a pen or laptop computer? What you fail to recognize is that officers CHOOSE to do that every day. Police officers are human, have feelings, families, hobbies, fears and joys. It is VERY hard to become a police officer these days and I can tell you here and now that the officers involved were NOT in the wrong. One thing led to another at that party, one person got arrested...not for loud music but for OBSTRUCTING or DELAYING the officers in the performance of their duties! Then, as often happens, others people (who let the ALCOHOL dictate their actions)became involved in a situation in which they should have stayed out of. An officer has a duty, OBLIGATION to go home at the end of their shift ALIVE. If a person exhibits force, it will be answered by force. The person who had the bottle is lucky they only got tazed...the officers would have been justified to do more. Because I know you are going to ask, no I was not there but I have been in many, many situations very similar. Truth, until you have the guts, the pride or honor to devote your life to the protection of others whom you do not know, and run toward trouble and not away, all you will ever do is talk! And by the being able to voice you opinion is another RIGHT you have which officers protect, in some countries the police would have been breaking down your door to arrest you for some of the things you have said. Be glad you live in America where there are people willing to protect your rights while you verbally spit in their face.

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