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Marchers call for police chief's resignation

Original post made on Nov 9, 2008

Palo Alto Mayor Larry Klein addresses the crowd gathered at Palo Alto's City Hall Sunday to denounce alleged racial profiling by the Palo Alto Police Department. Between 150 and 200 people gathered for the rally following a midafternoon march from East Palo Alto's City Hall. ==B Photo by Veronica Weber.==

Read the full story here Web Link posted Monday, November 10, 2008, 8:27 AM

Comments (69)

Posted by HORRIFIED, a resident of Midtown
on Nov 9, 2008 at 8:02 pm

Oh my GOD! Reverand Darrington stated this:

The Rev. Anthony Darrington, pastor of the Jerusalem Baptist Church in Palo Alto, said the city has a 47-year verifiable history of profiling.

"Why can I not find a man of color who has spent more than three weeks [in town without being stopped by Palo Alto police including myself?" he said.

What I have just read is a lie, a bald faced outright LIE! And from a Reverand no less!!!! Why lie? Why do people lie just to strenghten their agenda? If it's not a lie, it's certainly selective reporting.

I was married to an African American man. We have African American friends. I have had these friends (of all ages, both sexes) to my home in Palo Alto many times. I have lived in Palo Alto for 34 years. NOT ONE OF THESE PEOPLE HAVE EVER BEEN STOPPED FOR ANY REASON!

I've been stopped. I am white. I've been stopped at various times over the last 34 years for expired reg, for a blown tail light, and once, for having one of my two license plate lights out. (You know, what some on these blogs seem to think would be a sign indicating I have a criminal propensity). In the seventies I was stopped because I fit the suspect profile of someone who robbed a liquor store. I had the same car and 'hair'. I was surrounded by three police cars and drawn down on, ordered to get out of my car at the Alma Lucky store parking lot. Did I go bawling and whining to the media and demand a march? No, I provided my info and went about my business! Yeah I got scared, but I was glad they were looking for the creep who pulled a gun and robbed a local business.

A few years later I was parked up on Page Mill Road, Los Altos section, with a boyfriend and was accosted by a Los Altos officer, wanting to know what we were up to and take a peek into my car. There had been some burglaries up there and he was checking things out. Was I a big crybaby about this? NO. Again, I talked to the Officer and he and we went about our business.

I am horrified at what I read in the above story. Mayor Klien was pandering to the crowd. It is NOT clear to most logical, sensible people worried about the increasing crime in our City that any sort of racial profiling indeed happened. Suspect profiling happened. Sorry, it's a reality, fact of life, DEAL WITH IT.

I am disgusted, truly disgusted with the actions of the City 'leaders', and I use that term lightly. We need a whole new City government, that much is clear.

Posted by If the Glove Fits, a resident of Midtown
on Nov 9, 2008 at 8:30 pm

I also was the victim of racial profiling. Ten years ago in Midtown I was pulled over and detained by six patrol cars and one detective because I fit the description of a man who exposed himself to a grade school playground. Did I complain, hell yes. The detective said, "sorry for the inconvenience , but we take this kind of crime very seriously." I replied, "if you take it so seriously, then put me in handcuffs in the back of a car and get the other 12 officers hanging around out there looking for the bastard."

Would you be shocked if I said I was Asian? In an uproar if I was Black? Does it matter? I looked like the guy so they stopped me. Good for them. Keep it up and don't fire the mayor, her crime was no more than a big foot in a big mouth.

Posted by Horrified, a resident of Midtown
on Nov 9, 2008 at 8:35 pm

You mean don't fire the Police Chief. As far as I am concerned, the Mayor can go. Chief Johnson put her foot in her mouth, but just a bit. She at least said 'consenual stops'. Mayor Klien stated absolutely there was racial profiling. LET US RID OURSELVES OF POLITICIANS WHO DON'T SUPPORT OUR COMMUNITY.

Posted by Disgusted, a resident of South of Midtown
on Nov 9, 2008 at 8:40 pm

I put out an idea before that I wish everyone would support.

I would like to see a REAL police blotter on line. Not just a few selective crimes or funny calls.

Just a factual DAILY reporting of all police calls for crime only (not domestics, aid calls etc) that result in a written report and/or arrest,investigation. Put the statistics out there, victim location, type of crime, race of victim, race of perpetrator, time, everything.

That will cover people of all races and let the public see our police situation as it happens so they can make up their own minds about how the Dept. is doing based on FACTS.

Posted by SoDamnDisgusted, a resident of South of Midtown
on Nov 9, 2008 at 8:56 pm

LaDoris Cordell, retired Santa Clara County Superior Court judge and a former Palo Alto council member, said Johnson's recent remarks about race touched into something deeper.

"There is a sense that people of color who live here [and in East Palo Alto have a feeling of 'otherness,'" Cordell said. "We're strangers in a foreign land."

Is that the only separatism we experience in Palo Alto? How about the huge difference in social and economic status between the wealthy and the lower income residents? How about the silent minority, of all income levels; the more conservative people who reside in this City? We have to remain silent, because otherwise we are ridiculed. Our signs torn down. Our homes and cars vandalized. We are called fascists, neocons, babykillers, warmongers. We are treated like lepers at community events. We are treated with disdain as if we couldn't possibly have an intelligent thought. As if we don't know compassion. As if we have no feelings. As if we are not people with families and friends. AS IF WE ARE NOT HUMANS.

This attitude runs from the parents to the children. Try being a conservative kid in a Palo Alto School. I have heard of everything from kids being taunted to threatened for a 'beat down'. Talk about feeling like strangers in a foreign land.

Now, tell me how that would play if the same treatment was enacted on African Americans. It would not be tolerated for a minute by any of the self-righteous ideologues in this City.

Funny how it's politically correct to discriminate against one group of people of ALL races because of their beliefs, but not against one particular race because of their color. How do you justify that?

Posted by Disgusted, a resident of South of Midtown
on Nov 9, 2008 at 9:08 pm

I'm sorry Retort, but I believe that to be a perjorative statement and I am uncomfortable about it. All races commit crimes, there is only a need to get specific when it is as a direct result of information gleaned from investigation. That is when the suspect description is defined and it's time to out and find the offender/s.

The bigger crime is denying that reality.

Posted by Resign and Move On, a resident of Professorville
on Nov 9, 2008 at 9:11 pm

Its past time to turn the page on this sorry situation with a resignation by the PAPD Chief.

Posted by No Resign, a resident of Palo Alto Hills
on Nov 9, 2008 at 9:21 pm

Chief Johnson should NOT resign. How would you like to be made to resign from YOUR job because you did not communicate well on a particular day? Especially in this bad economy. How would YOU like for someone else from another company to call for your firing/resignation? How would YOU like to be publically humiliated? How would you like to have your many apologies discounted? Easy answer. You wouldn't. How easy it is to slam on someone else, and not realize the cost.

Posted by Student, a resident of Old Palo Alto
on Nov 9, 2008 at 9:26 pm

This is ridiculous!!!!!!

I cannot believe that African-American people in East Palo Alto are going through all of this trouble to call themselves victims. They always play the victim card. Get over it and and stop making people feel sorry for you! There is a greater good that needs to be done here. Palo Alto Police are worried by crimes that were committed by African- Americans that fit a certain description..and of course instead you want everyone to feel sorry for YOU.

I am white and I have gotten pulled over several times for absolutely nothing. One time the police thought I was a drug dealer for no reason (just by looking at me) and wanted to search my car. We can all complain. But I choose not to.

Posted by EPA stay on your side, a resident of Community Center
on Nov 9, 2008 at 9:30 pm

Student, you are correct. The EPA community is bitter and simply wants to remain in "victim mode". It does not matter what color you are, if you are committing crimes, the police are going to be on the look out for you. It is a FACT that these recent crimes have been commited by Black males. Why is it wrong to be on the look out for them and have CONSENSUAL contact with them?

Posted by Jon S, a resident of Leland Manor/Garland Drive
on Nov 9, 2008 at 10:12 pm

What an interesting time for Palo Alto! Too bad I'm down in San Diego in college.

It's great to see the Weekly Online team take video of the protest. (brightcove is a great video host, no?)

This is why protests work, because the people have their voices heard when they come out in strong numbers making clear how they feel their freedoms have been encroached upon.

An economic boycott is obviously ridiculous and the product of misdirected emotion.

I would instead point back to the video segment that showed the protesters gathering prayer, and I hope the people of EPA will forgive those that have wronged them, and as Mr. Burt points out, takes our communities to a new level of cooperation and understanding.

Change is good, and I am proud to have campaigned for the man who is our president-elect, and I hope that race will not stand in the way of each person's role as their neighbor's keeper.

I had friends and neighbors who had their houses broken into, and the appropriate response is for both communities to stand up and work with our police force to target these criminals and to make it known they have no place in our towns.

I'll trade the higher probability of catching a thief through racial profiling for the constitutional rights each person is entitled to any day.

Posted by Fairview, a resident of Menlo Park
on Nov 9, 2008 at 10:28 pm

Fairview is a registered user.

Do not down play the enslavement of millions of people and do not compare it to the holocaust because there is no comparison. African Americans have had to endure hundreds of years of degradation that has not stopped yet ... just read some of your own comments. We do not cry victim we cry FACTS!!! You lost the Civil War; the enslaved were freed; now get over that.

Posted by No!, a resident of Old Palo Alto
on Nov 9, 2008 at 10:44 pm

Get over this: We are not Germany and we are not 143 years old. Put the blame and the past where it belongs.

Posted by What?, a resident of Barron Park
on Nov 9, 2008 at 10:59 pm

[Post removed by Palo Alto Online staff.]

Posted by sidney, a resident of Ohlone School
on Nov 9, 2008 at 11:06 pm

So in a few days we have gone from "yes we can" to "We want your money"

From 'Hope" to "Hate"

The politics of grievance and identity politics will rule, look at what has happened with the gays and the Blacks, what happened to E Pluribus Unum?

Posted by let it go, a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Nov 9, 2008 at 11:35 pm

What? you are rather clueless about the history of black slavery. Jews and black slaves were treated as sub-human. it's hard to compare atrocities of this nature. both groups have been treated in the most hateful ways. racial prejudice is evil.

anyway, i thought that ladoris cordell hadn't shown up, but she did. so now i'm convinced that this whole thing really is an outsized effort by some attention getters who are licking their chops at the prospect of chief johnson getting fired. being in support of civil rights is one thing - - grandstanding over race, and manufactured outrage are soooooooooooo tired, and so pathetic. we're all prejudiced to some degree. we all struggle...most of overcome... i've been singled out as a person of color, but i've seen whites singled out too. it's a damned shame to see mayor klein kowtowing to the marchers. there may be a few bad apples in the pa police department, but that's no reason to fire someone who has worked hard for diversity her entire career, and has ironically suffered in silence as certain people in that crowd this afternoon have attacked her over and over and over and over again because of the difference that she (johnson) represents as a female and in other aspects of her life. not once have i ever seen johnson defended from these past and current hateful attacks by the city representatives there today - - that says volumes about them - - the hypocrisy in that crowd, from the epa mayor, to cordell, and people like aram james is thick as molasses. the leaders in that march should be ashamed of themselves for taking things this far, and mayor klein should rethink his role in encouraging and rewarding the fringe behavior of wannabe al sharpton's. we need to get together, and work together, not listen to the hateful fringe and manipulators on either side, who seems to relish the expansion of conflict as a cynical career move. we need balance, not fringe. we need to grow up. mostly, we need to learn to get along over and above the cynicism that's fueled by grandstanders and newspapers who thrive on the conflicts that difference create. is that conversation even possible, given the way stuff like this gets presented to people, and manipulated for private gain of power? i wonder...and grieve...hopefully, we'll see more of the kind of maturity that barack obama exibited under fire, instead of the egging on of hate and lies that the leaders of that march have made their careers on...

Posted by Allen, a resident of Woodside
on Nov 9, 2008 at 11:38 pm

Chief Johnson is doing a great job!

Posted by Business Owner, a resident of Downtown North
on Nov 10, 2008 at 12:46 am

The Chief of Police should NOT resign, and City Council and Palo Alto residents must support her.

Please chime in if you support her! How else are you going to do it?

EPA must not be louder than Palo Alto residents.

Posted by Horrified, a resident of Midtown
on Nov 10, 2008 at 1:05 am

I support Chief Johnson.

Posted by Walter_E_Wallis, a resident of Midtown
on Nov 10, 2008 at 2:02 am

EPA should look back on the success of their participation in the Grape Boycott - a quarter century with no supermarkets and a weed filled lot where Littlemans used to be; an educational diaspora and a self-imposed apartheid. Rioting has NEVER improved the lot of the Black man and, with all due respect to Dr. King, neither have marches and sit-ins. If a foreign nation did to EPA what they and their well wishers and "Community Organizers" have done to themselves it would be a legitimate cause for war.

Posted by concerned about it, a resident of Ventura
on Nov 10, 2008 at 3:17 am

.......... OK, it all starts at THE BRIDGE...........
Those of you who cross over from EPA have to make SURE that your tail lights are working...turn signals, stop lights too. That seems to be the biggest car stopper that police use to pull people over.
IF ONLY East Palo Alto still had three grocery stores~ a bank...EPA had driven itself into the ground when the crime was pretty bad back in the '70's~ come on, you who lived there know what I am talking about.Youngsters heard stories, I'm sure. So many unreported robberies among the masses then.. drugs were being used rampidly then like now, only it's in the epidemic stage now. Those predisposed to drug use are still carrying on the damaging crime sprees to maintain habits.
I grew up in and around East Palo Alto when there was nothing much there but chicken farms, a few barns around Pulgas Ave. and happy people. I watched how it progressed into a very dark period of time where people were afraid to come out of their homes to enjoy the sunshine because of the local violence in the streets..........even a small trip to Crystal's diner out by Bay Road became scary.
Trips to the Garden Supermarket ceased and the bars came up across the windows and doors. There were groups of people hanging around who motioned to you while you tried driving down the street~ No thanks, I didn't use drugs, didn't want any, didn't need any. Heard about "dirt bag Freddie" who eventually got shot for selling bad drugs there on the corner. Yipes. Then shortly after, EPA was nick named the MURDER CAPITOL OF THE U.S....Many headknockings, killings and shootings later, EPA finally gained back a little momentum. There became a bit of clean ups on the streets. Bad wannabees went to prison. Business' were moving into the neighborhood. Young punks had to turn theirselves around or go down. Housing took on a new look in the hood. Businessmen built apts. (and then raised the rents a little too high to the dislike of low income tennants who were just making a small living to begin with.)
Trying to keep a lid on it all was the Palo Alto Police Dept., who were being faced with an upserge in physical crime on their side of the bridge. They said it was due to "outsiders" coming into Palo Alto, looking for easy pickings. Guess we all know now how the Chief of Police was trying to get a handle on the crime spree. Still, suspects have not been caught as of yet.Poof, vanished. Snitching is the only way perhaps one may get caught.The last guy who did snitch was gunned down a few months ago after returning to EPA after a year after the incident. That puts a bit of fear into the hood. So how to handle those desparados?????? Answers, please!
Those of you with complaints of "profiling"...If you look out of the norm, conform. You don't have to wear a suit and tie, but you obviously should not be wearing all black with a hood, either on a hot day. No one should tell you how to dress, how to behave~ if your out of grade school, you should know by now.
Don't get your panties all wrinkled up, go about your business and enjoy yourself as it will radiate when your walking down the street WHEREVER you are at.
Always hold your head up high and have meaning to what you are doing.
BE the positive person that reflects and attains that goal in your life that is yours alone. B FREE!!!!!!!
Sharing in the world.
In peace.
In pride.

Posted by E C, a resident of Triple El
on Nov 10, 2008 at 6:26 am

WHAT - Guilty of misspoken words NOT racial profiling!

The Mayor has a hidden agenda, he clearly has something against Chief Johnson, he is using the misspoken words by Chief Johnson as leverage to have her removed from office.

PAPD is only enforcing all laws as they are supposed to. Their effective use of the laws have kept crime down in Palo Alto as compared to neighboring cities. (Should the cops nap all day)

Chief Johnson is a great person, PAPD is doing a great job, Mayor Klein is using misspoken words to get rid of Chief Johnson.

Its gotta be tough for the Chief when she has not violated any persons civil rights, she has effectively commanded a police department for 20 or more years, and then you make a slip of the tongue and the Mayor throws you under the bus before any investigation is complete??

Shame on you Mayor Klein

Posted by Tim, a resident of Crescent Park
on Nov 10, 2008 at 6:34 am

EPA needs to clean up their own city before "marching" into ours! I and many others support the Police Chief and feel her and the other officers are doing a great job.

Posted by must resign, a resident of Downtown North
on Nov 10, 2008 at 7:39 am

Chief Johnson must resign.

Posted by Mike, a resident of Southgate
on Nov 10, 2008 at 8:13 am

Mayor Klein is a sell out.

Posted by gotta go, a resident of Midtown
on Nov 10, 2008 at 8:19 am


Posted by Allen, a resident of Crescent Park
on Nov 10, 2008 at 8:21 am

EPA residents are encouraged to boycott palo alto forever--that way, they won't be stopped by the palo alto police.

Posted by Boycott, a resident of Charleston Gardens
on Nov 10, 2008 at 8:27 am

Of course Klein had a hidden agenda--he wants Johnson gone since she dared to investigate his good friend Pat Briggs from PACT.
He worked behind the scenes, in a clear conflict of interest, to obstruct the police investigation, denigrated the police and now he is sees an opportunity to get rid of Johnson.

From the story:

"Palo Alto leaders who attended the rally, including Klein, Vice Mayor Peter Drekmeier and Councilwoman Yoriko Kishimoto, expressed reservations about the boycott idea."

I would think the Climate Change Troika would welcome a boycott--less traffic, less stores, less global warming.

I live in Palo Alto and plan to boycott PA stores--the hypocrisy of Klein, Kishimoto and Drekmeier is outrageous.

Posted by Albert, a resident of Meadow Park
on Nov 10, 2008 at 8:46 am

> I live in Palo Alto and plan to boycott PA stores--the hypocrisy
> of Klein, Kishimoto and Drekmeier is outrageous.

Anyone thinking of recalling the city council .. this would be a good time. These three are ripe for removal.

Posted by fireman, a resident of another community
on Nov 10, 2008 at 9:03 am

Has anyone noticed, The City of Palo Alto attacks all.

It's employee's
It's citizens
The Cities that border it.

Anyone or thing that is not out for, TOTAL CONTROL! Hitler would be so PROUD of Palo Alto.

That is the Matter of Pride they reach for. Total abuse of power!

Posted by SIck&Tired, a resident of Crescent Park
on Nov 10, 2008 at 9:09 am

Chief Johnson has done a great job. STAY.

Mayor Klein GO.

Tim is right: Residents of EPA - work to improve your own neighborhood - your rally could have been in YOUR town to improve YOUR conditions rather than blaming others.

Posted by Resident, a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Nov 10, 2008 at 9:16 am

The most ridiculous comment I heard on the coverage on tv was from our former mayor, K, who said that descriptions of criminals should be given without disclosing race!!

Posted by Time-For-Klein-To-Go, a resident of Greenmeadow
on Nov 10, 2008 at 9:58 am

> The most ridiculous comment I heard on the coverage on tv was
> from our former mayor, K, who said that descriptions of
> criminals should be given without disclosing race!!

Yeah .. like:

"the suspect is a man, whose height is estimated to be about 6 feet".

[Portion removed by Palo Alto Online staff.]

Posted by Big Al, a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Nov 10, 2008 at 10:09 am

did somebody say there was a rally?

Posted by barbara, a resident of Greenmeadow
on Nov 10, 2008 at 10:44 am

Chief Johnson,

Have courage and keep up the good work.

Posted by Misguided Frustration, a resident of another community
on Nov 10, 2008 at 10:52 am

I listened to part of the rally. One speaker was upset because the police contacted her at her work and home because she was related to a murder suspect. I hope she understands that being related to a murder suspect means you may have to endure some embarrassment when the police show up at your door step looking for him. I don't think that's racially profiling, I think that is called police work. Unless the cops get ESP, they are going to have to still stop people, contact then at work, etc.

Another speaker said officers should have to hand out business cards with their names on it when they stop someone and the other day someone was saying they need more race relations training. I'm confused by this because PAPD volunteered some years back to collect racial demographic data. They collected stats about all their stops. The data showed there was no evidence of profiling. They still collect this data even today. As opposed to venting your frustration out on perceptions of profiling, how about just tell the Chief you don't like her comments. If you mandate cops go to race relations training, do you really think the Chief will go with them? I doubt it. Instead let the cops concentrate on catching bad guys, make the Chief go to some training, and keep an eye on her. She is the one who said the comments, not the coppers. If you think the problem is larger than that, look at the stats. This info is published so read it. If you haven't yet read it how do you think you are able to comment? Please don't tell me you are using your own opinions to form your arguments of racial profiling. Remember, your opinions and those of your friends are anecdotal and subjective. Remember, even the pastor said he doesn't believe the chief is racist, just that she said something terrible.

If there is no statistical proof of racial profiling, then they are just your subjective and anecdotal opinions. And because the stats have already been collected, there is no racial profiling. You FEELING that there is doesn't make it a reality.

Posted by Mireya A., a resident of Midtown
on Nov 10, 2008 at 10:54 am

This is the dumbest protest ever!

I am noticeably Hispanic...and have NEVER been targeted. In fact, I have never been shown anything but kindness by the police.

It seems like liberals prey upon impressionable minorities...just so they can have something to protest.

Even when things are going well, some activists will find something to complain about. Is this healthy cynicism...or an attempt to simply turn society into what extremists want it to look like? I am liberal is some ways, but it would be healthy if members of the far-Left would realize that the majority of the nation does NOT want the country to resemble San Francisco-type of socio-economic liberalism.

As far as "profiling:" It seems that the police are profiling CRIMINALS and not races. It just happens that quite a bit of the violent crimes in this community are being perpetrated by members of two distinct ethnic or racial groups. As a Hispanic woman, I am afraid to walk down the street if I see two Hispanic men approaching. It isn't "profiling;" It is simply realizing the greater risk associated with the statistics of reported crime.

I urge all of those liberals who want to join in this nonsense: Go walk down at 8 P.M. in downtown East Palo Alto with your wallet in hand. Let me know if you aren't just a little afraid for either life, limb or future credit rating. If so, then you are guilty of "profiling."

Posted by Judy, a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Nov 10, 2008 at 10:57 am

A lot of people have said things to sound pompously good, Klein and Foster and Darrington included.

The police has the job of protecting us - catching the criminals before they frighten and assault more people.

If they see someone acting suspiciously who fits the description, be they orange, green or purple, the police have to be mindful of what is happening.

The African American community needs to acknowledge that the number of crimes their youth commits is out of proportion to their percentage in the population. That's where the problem lies.

Posted by Mireya A., a resident of Midtown
on Nov 10, 2008 at 11:04 am

Speaking of unfair targeting: Can we throw the City Council members out?

They targeted EVERYONE regarding a ban on plastic bags, when the misuse of those bags are only committed by a few. Their stupid decision will now affect the rest of us -- particularly the working middle class and the poor.

Instead of finding a reasonable solution (such as working to ban plastic bags from beaches, increased education about recycling or more visable recycle containers at public places), the City Council took upon themselves to ban plastic bags without ever considering the views of local citizens OR the actual facts about plastic bags.

Now, people like myself will travel outside of Palo Alto for our groceries (causing local stores to suffer). The end result will simply be more non-local plastic bags in our community. I will continue to recycle like a good citizen. Yet the problem will continue because our City Council will continue to use questionable logic in finding "solutions" (*cough cough) to local problems.

It is too bad that some local residents and the City Council cannot see the forests because of all of trees that are in the way.

The Chief is doing a great job. If you want to think differently, just visit a city like San Francisco, Oakland, East Palo Alto, or Redwood City.

Posted by Bye Bye EPA Shoppers, a resident of Professorville
on Nov 10, 2008 at 11:16 am

Seriously? The residents of EPA are boycotting the stores in Palo Alto? Uh, ok.

Good job, Chief Johnson.

You're fired Mayor Klein.

Posted by disgusted, a resident of another community
on Nov 10, 2008 at 11:23 am

The Chief should NOT resign! It's a shame the Chief has to put so much energy into being p.c. If your son or daughter were slain or victimized by an unknown assailant, how would you want the description given to the police officers? If you could only "personalize" these crimes, I think you would feel differently about Chief Johnson's supposed mis-step. The people that keep crying foul like the "otherness" people coming over the bridge should instead become concerned citizens to help make EPA and PA a safer place. The line of color falls away when we work side by side and realize that our fears and battles are all the same. Safety of our families, steady income, getting our teenagers through the tough years. All of us worry about our kids taking drugs, getting pregnant, falling into crime, hanging with the wrong kids. We're no different, crime occurs everywhere, demographics just change some of the nature of the crimes committed. What's really amazing is the people that believe the chief was guilty of racial profiling are now DISCRIMINATING against the innocent business owners! How about we all do this boycott through the end of the year or maybe into next year. Then we'll watch you all cry foul as the businesses close their doors and the city loses tax revenue and then cuts back on staffing the police force!

Posted by cliff black, a resident of Midtown
on Nov 10, 2008 at 11:26 am

Chief Johnson should not resign based on these latest issues. We citizens of Palo Alto have seen a rapid rise in strong armed, life threatening robberies ALL OF THEM by hispanic (and or) young black males. Any reasonable peace officer needs to use color (a physical id) as well as height, age, dress and any other identitys as a criteria to question citizens. Color (a physical attribute) combined with dress, body language, attitude and other police training is just prudent police work. My wife and I have stopped walking after sunset because we are old and feel unsafe in a city that was very safe just a year ago. We citizens have seen police officers sitting in coffee shops and asian restaurants (alma and rengsdorf) instead of patroling the streets! Why can't these peace officers just drive around? We need better police leadership and probably they need more resources to do a more effective job. Let's not tie their hands with this "victim logic".
Sincerly - C

Posted by a citizen, a resident of Midtown
on Nov 10, 2008 at 11:56 am

How is it in the best interest of the City of Palo Alto for its Mayor to publicly state that the City is guilty of racial profiling, a crime according to the Mayor himself? Why not have the Police Auditor or a Grand Jury find the facts, before publicly condeming anyone?

If the Mayor thinks that the City of Palo Alto has violated the law, wouldn't it be in the City's best interest for the Mayor to allow the City Attorney's Office to handle statements that put the city at risk of law suits?

If the City has broken laws under the Mayor's tenure, then shouldn't he be held responsible for his failed oversight? Why just blame the Chief of Police?

Racial profiling is wrong. Racism is wrong. Hatred is wrong.

How can we all work together to live in peace without hate and fear?

Posted by Lewis, a resident of Duveneck/St. Francis
on Nov 10, 2008 at 11:57 am

I know Pat Foster, and she's a reasonable and intelligent woman who loves her city, loves the people there, and does a lot of good for the kids there -- not just as mayor, but as a private citizen. So my belief is that she did not intend to create a firestorm by sending a letter admonishing Lynne Johnson, she simply intended to offer visible support to her community.

Of course the response I'll get from that is that it was Chief Johnson who set off the firestorm, and she obviously had a role in it, but fire takes more than one ingredient. It takes a spark, it takes fuel, and it takes oxygen, and to keep going, it takes more fuel and more fanning of the flames.

Chief Johnson's remarks could be (and obviously were) interpreted as racial profiling. It is a bad thing when people are harassed or targeted or treated badly or with suspicion because of their skin color or ethnicity, and we ought not do that. If we still haven't learned that lesson 48 years after To Kill A Mockingbird, we are even more dull than we give ourselves credit for.

But when police are actively looking for criminals, using the best information available to them regarding descriptions of those criminals is a good thing.

If this kind of protest works, and Chief Johnson resigns under pressure -- and I firmly believe she should not resign -- then I'm going to start a protest on behalf of drivers of white vans, as used in one of the recent strong arm robberies. After all, paint color profiling ought to not be allowed, lest drivers of white vans begin to feel like victims.

Posted by Mark, a resident of Old Palo Alto
on Nov 10, 2008 at 12:30 pm

When I attended Stanford Law School 27 years ago I had a friend, an African American woman, who reported that at least once every other week she was stopped by police for no apparent reason while driving home from the Law School in a Palo Alto residential neighborhood. Her feeling was that the only crime she committed was "driving while black". There's a long history here, and I have no issue with the Reverend's characterization.

Posted by Just-the-Facts, a resident of Barron Park
on Nov 10, 2008 at 1:00 pm

> who reported that at least once every other week she was
> stopped by police for no apparent reason

There are generally only a few Palo Alto police on patrol duty at any given time (15-25 at best). Even if she were stopped a couple of times, it's difficult to believe that they police didn't become familiar with her, and stop stopping her.

So -- why was she stopped? Did she ever get any tickets? And why did a lawyer in training not make an issue out of this with the Police Department at the time?

Sorry .. but this story doesn't pass the smell test.

Posted by Al, a resident of Charleston Meadows
on Nov 10, 2008 at 1:04 pm

> Those of you who cross over from EPA have to make SURE that your
> tail lights are working...turn signals, stop lights too. That
> seems to be the biggest car stopper that police use to pull people
> over.

All of these are required by law. People in EPA above the law?

Posted by I agree, a resident of Old Palo Alto
on Nov 10, 2008 at 1:09 pm

I agree with Just-the-Facts. I've read a few different totally unrealistic & fabricated "stories" on these message boards about people being stopped "for no reason". Blahblahblah. 27 years ago...blah blah blah TWENTY SEVEN YEARS AGO!!!
Look people, the whole point of Lynn Johnson's words was TO PROTECT THE COMMUNITY. She simply mis-spoke and was framed and set up to do so on purpose. How is it that our society has become so backward that political correctness and people's outlandish emotions are more important than facts and the safety of the community? [Portion removed by Palo Alto Online staff.]

Posted by Perps, a resident of Menlo Park
on Nov 10, 2008 at 1:10 pm

Back to the original question at hand. Did they catch the black guys that did the crime?

Posted by It's the law, a resident of Professorville
on Nov 10, 2008 at 1:11 pm

Your tail-lights and turn signals should be working regardless. It's called being a responsible driver.

P.S. Those of you crossing over from PA in to EPA to get over the bridge, IKEA, etc.. be sure you wear a bullet proof vest and carry NO CASH. It's the biggest car stopper & seems to be the means for the thugs to rob and kill.

Posted by Hopeful, a resident of Downtown North
on Nov 10, 2008 at 1:13 pm

No but they think it's a few crack heads. Go figure. I hear sirens right now and I'm downtown. Probably another robbery. [Post removed by Palo Alto Online staff.]

Posted by Boycott, a resident of East Palo Alto
on Nov 10, 2008 at 1:22 pm

I have mixed feelings about the boycott - and no wonder, since I'm white. I don't want to switch banks because of this. I do think the PA chief needs to clean up her act - she has blown it before dealing with the public.

It's disturbing to read these "us vs them" comments on these boards - the comments make me want to boycott PA more than the chiefs comments, to be honest.

Since the chief opened her big clumsy mouth, I have taken the majority of my shopping to MP, doing my own near-boycott. Most of MP is so in its own little world, it's pretty funny. Oh, and the taquerias are way better in MP, anyhow.

As much as people on this board complain about EPA residents acting like victims, many PA resident posters behave like over-entitled, whiny, spoiled, biased brats. Yuck - really unsophisticated and dumb thinking. Give me self-absorbed MP anytime - they're even too self-absorbed to be smug, unlike PA.

Posted by HAHA, a resident of Downtown North
on Nov 10, 2008 at 1:26 pm

[Post removed by Palo Alto Online staff.]

Posted by Bill, a resident of Charleston Meadows
on Nov 10, 2008 at 1:34 pm

> Do you really think your boycott will affect
> Palo Alto's business?

How much business EPA residents do in Palo Alto is hard to say.

Supermarkets generate very little sales tax.

Posted by anonymous, a resident of Duveneck/St. Francis
on Nov 10, 2008 at 1:43 pm

From the account above (and the PACT fiasco) I have a poor opinion of PA's mayor.
The PA police chief apologized, as was proper, and we need to get on with the business of catching criminals who are targeting this city.

Posted by Justme, a resident of Duveneck/St. Francis
on Nov 10, 2008 at 1:50 pm

I rpopose we stop arguing about most of what is being discussed in this thread and focus on the real root problem: the criminal activity that often seems to come from East Palo Alto. I am not going to fault the city leaders or lay blame, I simply want to know what it takes to help EPA clean up a bit. Look at the roads over there, I have driven there and many roads almost require 4wd. Looks at the murder and assult rate, the gang activity, the drugs. I am not saying that these things don't exist in Palo Alto and other cities, but EPA seems to have a bigger problem with them than other cities. Is it funding? Is it obstructionist activity by people with a vested interest in keeping EPA crime-ridden? I don't know, but I suspect that if we could help EPA with some of the very real problems it is facing many of the other problems would simply evaporate. I realize that they are in another county, but they are affecting both Santa Clara and San Mateo counties, so it might behove both counties to pitch in on some real solutions. More police over there? Better equipment? Improved infrastructure? Better schools? More parks and public resources? What does it take to make EPA a better place to live? Then perhaps one side of the creek would not fear the other side as much.

Laying blame is not finding solutions, we need solutions.

Posted by To HAHA, a resident of East Palo Alto
on Nov 10, 2008 at 2:01 pm

I do think curtailing spending my $$ makes a difference - as I historically have dropped a lot in PA. Restaurants, gas, car servicing,groceries, Walgreens's/Longs, bookstores, gifts, clothing, shoes - it all adds up. I'm happy for the majority of it to go to my county's coffers, via Menlo and Redwood City. For my family and myself, I drop over a grand on those items per month.

Posted by Koa, a resident of Midtown
on Nov 10, 2008 at 2:17 pm

This is an outrage! For a public official to institute and cheerlead a policy of discrimination, harassment, and collective punishment in a community that prides itself on its tolerance and diversity is embarrassing. If she could so callously and carelessly tell a community meeting that she has instructed officers to stop blacks to "find out who they are," I shutter to think about what she actually tells her officers behind closed doors during the morning briefing.

How disgraceful that if President Elect Obama ever decides to visit our city, he must be warned to have his papers in order and a good reason to be here; lest we drive by and see his hands spread on the hood of a PAPD cruiser. There is nothing "consensual" about a police shakedown.

This racist excuse for a police chief warrants a swift firing (a resignation will not do)and nothing short than a full FBI investigation for civil rights violations.

Posted by Calm down, a resident of Midtown
on Nov 10, 2008 at 2:18 pm

Chief Johnson should not be getting all this criticism. She is trying to protect the people of Palo Alto so we can feel safe walking on our streets and in our homes. The Mayor and City Council should be standing by her with their support. Instead of being critical East Palo Alto should be helping our Police Department because stopping these street crimes should be their concern too.

Posted by Beyond supermarkets, a resident of East Palo Alto
on Nov 10, 2008 at 2:27 pm

Beyond shopping for groceries, here's a list of what I know that my neighbors and I shop for/utilize services in Palo Alto:

Car repair
Car sales
Hair cuts

Posted by Janice, a resident of Old Palo Alto
on Nov 10, 2008 at 2:45 pm

[Post removed by Palo Alto Online staff.]

Posted by Yes, and?, a resident of Community Center
on Nov 10, 2008 at 2:46 pm

Beyond shopping for groceries, here's a list of what I know that my neighbors and I shop for/utilize services in Palo Alto:


Car repair

Car sales



Hair cuts











***Yes, and so? What is your point? So do thousands upon thousands of people. Do you think you and a few others will make a dent? Unlikely. Next.

Posted by eric, a resident of Barron Park
on Nov 10, 2008 at 2:46 pm

[Post removed by Palo Alto Online staff.]

Posted by HAHA, a resident of Community Center
on Nov 10, 2008 at 2:48 pm

[Post removed by Palo Alto Online staff.]

Posted by Garry Wyndham, a resident of Midtown
on Nov 10, 2008 at 3:17 pm

It's tough to be a police officer in any city, but tougher in Palo Alto whose safe neighbourhoods adjoin quite unsafe neighbourhoods just across the freeway.

Let's continue to welcome our neighbours to our schools, our stores and our homes.

Let's continue to be grateful for our safe neighbourhoods and for our wonderful Police Department.

And let's get over our Police Chief's choice of words. She regrets them and will be more careful in the future.

Posted by Social Barometer, a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Nov 10, 2008 at 4:22 pm

It appears to me that perhaps the idea of boycotting the entire city of
palo alto was a little hastily planned. If you want to boycott something
you should be a little more organized in order for it to work. When Dr.
King organized the boycott in Montgomery in 1955 he was very organized,
as were the black citizens in that case. This boycott was extremely effective
due to the fact that the black community fully supported it. They had been
pushed too far, and were not going to take it anymore. Now, in this case, the
boycott is aimed at the entire city of Palo Alto, even though the entire city of
Palo Alto (which most likely voted for Obama) is to blame for the actions of its
misguided police chief. Perhaps a more specific boycott would be suitable, such
as refusing to ride in the back of any palo alto police cars, and to insist that
you get to sit up front, next to the officer driving the vehicle. Atleast in this case
your demands wouldn't cause further alienation amongst the people living in both
communities, and the folks in palo alto, while they may find your demands a bit
unrealistic, would still be slightly empathetic to your cause. Just some things
to ponder while we suck in some wind this evening. Goodnight.

Posted by narnia, a resident of Midtown
on Nov 10, 2008 at 4:31 pm

One suspect in a high number of street robberies is in custody.. That suspect is white.
Of the 16 robberies committed 2/3 of the suspects are black or hispanic, 1/3 white.
But what's more: the great majority of the most violent crimes were committed by white residents.
Does police stop whites seeking "consensual" interaction?

Chief Johnson wants her officers to approach black people "in a congenial way" to "find out who they are." Blacks who have the nerve to pass through Palo Alto or live here get that "congenial" gift. The message is clear: if you're black, you don't belong here.
It is hard to think of such blatant disregard for the rights of citizens. To declare that some of them, because of the color of their skin deserve not to be able to venture into Palo Alto without the justified fear of being singled out is morally reprehensible and unconstitutional.
Words do matter. The Chief's words renewed the injury of those who came to our shores in shackles. What she did is undoable even if she apologizes . In order to consider that her apology is a reflection of the awareness she feels for the harm she caused she must resign. Only then can the Palo Altans who claim she is right begin to understand the harm that their own words ( some in this forum) causes.
Each of us wants to be considered on our own merits and not on those of our skin color or ethnicity - the great variety of african americans should settle for less?

the stupidity of some of those posts (mainly clearly uneducated people) is staggering.... I learned long ago not to attribute to malice what can be justified easily but lack of critical thinking. Maybe there is really nothing that can be done about those who have made up their minds about race long ago - when bad will and stupidity collide, one of the results is racial profiling.
Mayor Klein and some council members have shown leadership on this matter. I hope that
Chief johnson recognizes she can too and resign before this matter arrives to major newspapers and news of a paradise lost start percolating throughout the land. Despite many of these posts, Americans showed clearly that they believe blacks are as good citizens as any others of different skin color and that they really want to live in a more color blind America. Many would not want to live in a racially segregated town. A minority who do already live here if as some of these posts show.

Posted by reallydisgustednow, a resident of College Terrace
on Nov 10, 2008 at 4:36 pm

reallydisgustednow is a registered user.

Excuse me, but I thought this was a free speech forum? Why is commentary now restricted to 'registered' users?

And instead of just deleting this, please post an answer.

I feel like this is some underhanded attempt for someone in power, whether it be the City Council or the newspaper to find out the identities of it's detractors.

Please say that ain't so. Freedom of Speech should be the rule here.

Posted by reallydisgustednow, a resident of College Terrace
on Nov 10, 2008 at 5:14 pm

reallydisgustednow is a registered user.

Mayor Klien, please resign. Take the entire City Council and City Manager with you too, please.

Chief Johnson, my vote is for you to stay.

I am a Palo Alto resident of many, many years and that is MY input to MY City where I work, live, play, and where I put my dollars.

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