Nearly six months after an East Palo Alto police detective was accused of making inappropriate comments on Facebook about "open carry" advocates, Police Chief Ron Davis released a statement on Tuesday saying the detective was in violation of department policy.
In February, the Police Department received information, along with numerous phone calls and e-mails, about improper remarks posted on a Facebook page by East Palo Alto Detective Rod Tuason.
The Facebook comment in question, allegedly made in jest, suggested that people who practice or support open carry -- which is the carrying of holstered, unconcealed and unloaded guns in public -- should be shot.
The practice is legal in California, but many law enforcement personnel oppose it because they say it compromises public safety since officers don't immediately know if the gun is unloaded or not.
On Tuesday evening, Responsible Citizens of California, an open carry group, and their supporters met outside East Palo Alto City Hall to protest the department's response to the incident. Although police said the department immediately launched an internal investigation to determine if there was merit to the allegations, the advocates said the department was stalling.
Yih-Chau Chang, a spokesman for Responsible Citizens of California, said the Police Department only issued a statement confirming that the detective's remarks online were not appropriate about an hour before the scheduled protest.
"So we turned the protest into a celebration of sorts," Chang said.
Police released few details about the investigation and said in a statement that they could not discuss disciplinary matters with the public. Chang said the open carry group hopes Tuason is removed from any position where he would be interacting with the public.
"We consider his statements to be pretty discriminatory," Chang said, adding that someone making such threatening remarks should not be working on the streets in a protective capacity.
East Palo Alto Police Capt. Carl Estelle would not comment on the length of time it took to complete the investigation or the disciplinary action that might be taken against the detective.