News

Detective catches heat for Facebook comment

East Palo Alto detective violated department policy with anti 'open carry' comment, chief says

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.

— Bay City News Service

Comments

Like this comment
Posted by Joe
a resident of Downtown North
on Jul 22, 2010 at 10:20 am

People in government/education should be very circumspect about what they say/write in public. Suppose this police officer were to have "accidentally" shot someone after he posted this Facebook comment. It wouldn't look good.

There is nothing wrong with saying nothing.


Like this comment
Posted by Gun Owner
a resident of Professorville
on Jul 22, 2010 at 10:28 am

Any open carry type reaching for their toy is inviting anybody in the area who has already pulled, which could be police, to defend themselves. They very likely could get shot.

The only inappropriate comment about open carry types is to call them "intelligent."


Like this comment
Posted by Mr. Ironic
a resident of Midtown
on Jul 22, 2010 at 12:17 pm

I agree with "Gun Owner" except the last sentence.

I was always taught guns are not toys and dont show it unless you are going to use it. These guys walking around with their guns visible are just asking for trouble.

Are cops just supposed to trust that since its visible its unloaded?


Like this comment
Posted by Concealed
a resident of Embarcadero Oaks/Leland
on Jul 22, 2010 at 12:50 pm

Open carry is a joke, why won't California allow controlled Concealed? As gun owners, oh wait I meant California citizens, lots of our life is controlled and regulated in comparison to other less nanny states surrounding us. I say bring on the California version of concealed. If it means attending classes every month, registering all firearms, extensive background checks and interviews, so be it. As it stands right now, in Santa Clara County if you want to defend yourself you have to have money, and that is wrong.

I say make it legal, but make it california style... aka such a pain in the butt only those that really need it go through the process. Take away the elitest attitudes in regards to carrying a firearm. I dont agree that for 20,000 USD and or being a senator is the only justification to pack heat in our County.

(CCW permits can and will be issued in Santa Clara county with a donation of 20,000 USD even then it is a discriminatory process in which if you look at the facts no minority individuals have qualified over the last 10 years.... Look it up! its scary stuff)

(Diane Feinstein the woman who wants to take guns away has and does conceal carry a .38 special handgun Web Link)


Like this comment
Posted by Hmmm
a resident of East Palo Alto
on Jul 22, 2010 at 1:41 pm

Tempest in a teapot. RCC is bunch of whiners. I get that the detective violated department policy, and it was unwise for him to comment. Perhaps he thought his comments were protected by free speech or privacy laws (which is not exactly FB's ouevre). But really, making a mountain outta this silly molehill is a waste of time, department money & resources. Given the past history of the department, which has been rife with real problems, and the overworked cops trying to make a low income town safer, on the balance, the RCC should just move on & leave us alone. Whiners.


Like this comment
Posted by concerned resident
a resident of East Palo Alto
on Jul 23, 2010 at 1:40 pm

Anyone knows where this chang person resides. Leave EPA Police activities to the chief!!


Like this comment
Posted by Hmmm
a resident of East Palo Alto
on Jul 23, 2010 at 6:09 pm

Dunno where Chang lives, but I doubt it's EPA. Open carry is provocative by nature, not to mention ridiculous. Yep, let the chief handle personnel issues.


Like this comment
Posted by I open carry
a resident of another community
on Aug 1, 2010 at 7:55 pm

How much has been made out of Oscar Grant? While that case is over, think about what would have been the reaction if BART officer Johannes Mehserle had said a day before, or a month before, that he wanted to shoot a BART rider in the back?
Would it not have cause a lot more hell if he had? Of coarse it would.
The reason we are upset with Det. Tuason is that he said he would be willing to shoot a LAW ABIDING CITIZEN in the back just so he could get 2 weeks off.
While he MAY have been joking, that is not the right type of joke for any LEO to say. As proven by the Chiefs actions.
He has left the city of EPA wide open for a civil law suit if and when he is ever involved in any shooting.
Det Tuason has sworn an oath to protect the public and the U.S. and CA state constitutions. While he may not like the laws, it is his job to abide by them, not kill people that are.


Like this comment
Posted by I open carry
a resident of another community
on Aug 2, 2010 at 5:51 am

This was posted on Police Link, by a true officer of the LAW
"I am a firm believer in the 2nd amendment and support the right of the people to keep and bear arms. I also believe that we all have a right of free speech. However, when that speech advocates and even encourages criminal acts, such as the murder of innocent, honest citizens who are exercising their rights, then I have a problem with it. When such speech comes from a member of the law enforcement community I have a bigger problem with it. We are charged with protecting the rights of the citizens, and for an officer to suggest that citizens be shot for using those rights is cause for alarm. Whether it’s our right to keep and bear arms or our right to peacefully assemble or of free speech we must protect those rights for ourselves and our posterity. I believe the second amendment supports all of our other rights. It is a force to be reckoned with if someone wishes to violate our forth amendment rights. The right of the people to be secure means so much more when we have the ability to defend our security."


Sorry, but further commenting on this topic has been closed.

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