News

Inspired by protests, Palo Alto promises to reform — but not defund — police

City Council passes a resolution backing Black Lives Matter movement

Protesters stand outside of the Palo Alto Police Department during a march against racism on June 6. The Saturday protest in part led the City Council to pledge to reform police policies at its June 8 meeting. Photo by Lloyd Lee/PaloAltoOnline.com.

Spurred by a public outcry for social justice and police reform, the Palo Alto City Council vowed on Monday night to improve accountability in the Police Department and to strengthen agency policies that prevent racism and discrimination.

After hearing from dozens of speakers, many calling for the city to reform or defund the Police Department, the council unanimously approved a resolution supporting the Black Lives Matter movement. It also directed staff to return next week with a plan for improving police policies, reviewing its hiring practices and launching a new initiative to promote diversity and inclusion throughout the city.

Yet the council's long discussion left begging one glaring question: What happens next? Even as the council signaled its support for revising department policies, it did not specify what changes it would like to see changed.

The council also refrained from commenting on some of the recent episodes in which officers were accused of using excessive force, including two that were captured on video and that involved violent arrests near Buena Vista Mobile Home Park.

Residents were far less bashful about citing those recent cases and to demand that officers who were involved in violent arrests be fired. Resident Xander Koo was one of many who urged the council on Monday to "disarm and defund the Palo Alto Police Department."

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"We should instead work to remedy the legacy of redlining and housing discrimination that Palo Alto is built upon and invest in education and social programs for black and brown communities in our area," Koo said.

Unlike in Minneapolis, where the City Council signaled its desire to effectively dismantle and rebuild its Police Department, the Palo Alto council showed little appetite for widespread change. While council members condemned the May 25 killing of George Floyd by a Minneapolis police officer, calling it "appalling," Vice Mayor Tom DuBois and Councilman Eric Filseth suggested that this type of incident can't happen in Palo Alto.

"I think the men and women of our Police Department serve our community well," DuBois said. "We are not Minneapolis, or Ferguson or Detroit. While we have had a few issues, I think our police should not be viewed as the problem, but as part of the solution."

In supporting the resolution and approving a plan for reform, council members said they were inspired by the recent wave of protests that has swept the nation since the May 25 killing of George Floyd by Minneapolis police. In Palo Alto, more than 2,000 people marched through the streets and rallied in front of City Hall on Saturday, with many carrying "Black Lives Matters" signs and chanting to demand justice.

Some of that energy spilled over into the Monday public hearing, where some residents criticized the city for implementing a curfew on June 2 in response to reports of potential looting at Stanford Shopping Center. While City Manager Ed Shikada initially said the curfew will stretch until June 11, he lifted the mandate on June 4 after a chorus of complaints from residents and civil rights advocates.

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On June 8, in their first meeting since the curfew, council members offered different takes on the move. DuBois said he did not support the proposed length of the curfew, while Councilwoman Liz Kniss said Shikada made the right call in imposing it. She pointed to Santa Monica, which did not impose a curfew and which experienced some looting in the early days of the protests.

Kniss suggested that Palo Alto's curfew may have prevented a similar outcome.

"As a result, our city does not have any looting, it does not have any damage," Kniss said.

Some residents were put off by Kniss' praise of the curfew, which they said was a misuse of police powers. Cairo Mo was among them.

"There was no looting because people chose not to loot," Mo said. "It was not because of the police. It was not because of the curfew."

Some, like Mo and Sefa Santos-Powell, called for sweeping changes, including defunding the police and redirecting money toward community programs that address social inequalities. A few, including Xander Koo, called for Police Chief Robert Jonsen and Shikada to resign. Santos-Powell cited Palo Alto's history of "inflicting violence" on members of the black community and said the city needs to do more than just "pay lip service to supporting the Black Lives Matter movement."

"If you truly believe in Black Lives Matter, we should fund community development programs like affordable housing, equitable education, free health care and increased mental health and crisis support," Santos-Powell said.

But while about everyone, including the City Council, agreed that the council needs to go well beyond the resolution, none of the seven members supported defunding the police or pursuing the type of sweeping structural change that Santos-Powell and others had called for. They were far more inclined to support limited reforms that restrict use of force, including the policies in the "8 Can't Wait" campaign. These include a ban on chokeholds, a ban on shooting at moving vehicles and requirements that officers try to de-escalate conflicts before using force and that they issue warnings before shooting.

The Rev. Kaloma Smith, pastor at University AME Zion Church, was one of several speakers who has advocated for the council to adopt these reforms. He also asked the council to keep the reform effort in the public eye.

The city, Smith said, has three options.

"We can stay the way we've always been. We can sort of push this change into random administration pools. Or we can be bold and make some hard decisions," Smith told the council. "I encourage you to not let the forces that push negotiations (into the) background and push change back to control this narrative.

"As you saw with 2,000 people out in the street on Saturday, there is a ton of emotion and a ton of push behind this and I think there is the reality that we need to do something with policing and it has to be done now," Smith said.

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Inspired by protests, Palo Alto promises to reform — but not defund — police

City Council passes a resolution backing Black Lives Matter movement

by / Palo Alto Weekly

Uploaded: Tue, Jun 9, 2020, 1:59 am

Spurred by a public outcry for social justice and police reform, the Palo Alto City Council vowed on Monday night to improve accountability in the Police Department and to strengthen agency policies that prevent racism and discrimination.

After hearing from dozens of speakers, many calling for the city to reform or defund the Police Department, the council unanimously approved a resolution supporting the Black Lives Matter movement. It also directed staff to return next week with a plan for improving police policies, reviewing its hiring practices and launching a new initiative to promote diversity and inclusion throughout the city.

Yet the council's long discussion left begging one glaring question: What happens next? Even as the council signaled its support for revising department policies, it did not specify what changes it would like to see changed.

The council also refrained from commenting on some of the recent episodes in which officers were accused of using excessive force, including two that were captured on video and that involved violent arrests near Buena Vista Mobile Home Park.

Residents were far less bashful about citing those recent cases and to demand that officers who were involved in violent arrests be fired. Resident Xander Koo was one of many who urged the council on Monday to "disarm and defund the Palo Alto Police Department."

"We should instead work to remedy the legacy of redlining and housing discrimination that Palo Alto is built upon and invest in education and social programs for black and brown communities in our area," Koo said.

Unlike in Minneapolis, where the City Council signaled its desire to effectively dismantle and rebuild its Police Department, the Palo Alto council showed little appetite for widespread change. While council members condemned the May 25 killing of George Floyd by a Minneapolis police officer, calling it "appalling," Vice Mayor Tom DuBois and Councilman Eric Filseth suggested that this type of incident can't happen in Palo Alto.

"I think the men and women of our Police Department serve our community well," DuBois said. "We are not Minneapolis, or Ferguson or Detroit. While we have had a few issues, I think our police should not be viewed as the problem, but as part of the solution."

In supporting the resolution and approving a plan for reform, council members said they were inspired by the recent wave of protests that has swept the nation since the May 25 killing of George Floyd by Minneapolis police. In Palo Alto, more than 2,000 people marched through the streets and rallied in front of City Hall on Saturday, with many carrying "Black Lives Matters" signs and chanting to demand justice.

Some of that energy spilled over into the Monday public hearing, where some residents criticized the city for implementing a curfew on June 2 in response to reports of potential looting at Stanford Shopping Center. While City Manager Ed Shikada initially said the curfew will stretch until June 11, he lifted the mandate on June 4 after a chorus of complaints from residents and civil rights advocates.

On June 8, in their first meeting since the curfew, council members offered different takes on the move. DuBois said he did not support the proposed length of the curfew, while Councilwoman Liz Kniss said Shikada made the right call in imposing it. She pointed to Santa Monica, which did not impose a curfew and which experienced some looting in the early days of the protests.

Kniss suggested that Palo Alto's curfew may have prevented a similar outcome.

"As a result, our city does not have any looting, it does not have any damage," Kniss said.

Some residents were put off by Kniss' praise of the curfew, which they said was a misuse of police powers. Cairo Mo was among them.

"There was no looting because people chose not to loot," Mo said. "It was not because of the police. It was not because of the curfew."

Some, like Mo and Sefa Santos-Powell, called for sweeping changes, including defunding the police and redirecting money toward community programs that address social inequalities. A few, including Xander Koo, called for Police Chief Robert Jonsen and Shikada to resign. Santos-Powell cited Palo Alto's history of "inflicting violence" on members of the black community and said the city needs to do more than just "pay lip service to supporting the Black Lives Matter movement."

"If you truly believe in Black Lives Matter, we should fund community development programs like affordable housing, equitable education, free health care and increased mental health and crisis support," Santos-Powell said.

But while about everyone, including the City Council, agreed that the council needs to go well beyond the resolution, none of the seven members supported defunding the police or pursuing the type of sweeping structural change that Santos-Powell and others had called for. They were far more inclined to support limited reforms that restrict use of force, including the policies in the "8 Can't Wait" campaign. These include a ban on chokeholds, a ban on shooting at moving vehicles and requirements that officers try to de-escalate conflicts before using force and that they issue warnings before shooting.

The Rev. Kaloma Smith, pastor at University AME Zion Church, was one of several speakers who has advocated for the council to adopt these reforms. He also asked the council to keep the reform effort in the public eye.

The city, Smith said, has three options.

"We can stay the way we've always been. We can sort of push this change into random administration pools. Or we can be bold and make some hard decisions," Smith told the council. "I encourage you to not let the forces that push negotiations (into the) background and push change back to control this narrative.

"As you saw with 2,000 people out in the street on Saturday, there is a ton of emotion and a ton of push behind this and I think there is the reality that we need to do something with policing and it has to be done now," Smith said.

Comments

Reform is the Solution
Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Jun 9, 2020 at 6:29 am
Reform is the Solution, Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Jun 9, 2020 at 6:29 am
30 people like this

Not sure how Dubois can say the Palo Alto police are not the problem but the solution. For a smart guy this is really silly. If not our police, who is beating up Brown young men for no reason and then remain on the force year after year? The police are part of the solution if they knock it off, reform and hold bad cops accountable, otherwise, outta here.

If this is the consicousness that council is bringing to this issue, then reform won't happen. Civilians must remain vigilent that their elected officials make real reform happen.

Liz Kniss's vehement remarks supporting the curfew were shameful and inaccurate. Santa Monica, where she was, enacted a curfew. She failed to even mention Palo Alto's deeply moving BLM rally and march on Saturday - oh, that's right, she did't attend. Her only concern was for property which was under no real threat and certainly not from any protest. She clearly hasn't bothered to read the nearly 8-page ACLU letter to the city which stopped the illegal curfew after 2 days - the curfew which Judge LaDois Cordell termed in her speech at City Hall Saturday, ..."thinly veiled racism". Can't wait for Liz to be termed off the Council.


Anneke
Professorville
on Jun 9, 2020 at 7:15 am
Anneke, Professorville
on Jun 9, 2020 at 7:15 am
23 people like this

Police needs to be for our protection, and that is what needs to be promoted.

I did some research and found out that most people driving with a police car behind them become anxious and feel somewhat threatened. That feeling needs to change.

Power corrupts, and absolute power corrupts absolutely. That is what we saw in Minneapolis. Fortunately, we did not see that in Palo Alto.

I do not agree with defunding the police. We need them, and they need to become our friends and protectors, not our enemies.


DefundNow
Fairmeadow
on Jun 9, 2020 at 7:58 am
DefundNow, Fairmeadow
on Jun 9, 2020 at 7:58 am
16 people like this

[Portion removed.] One of the PAPD captains, Perron called a black officer the n word as a joke after the black officer did something heroic that later won an award. He’s still employed.

DeSantos on the police department has violated many people with his use of excessive force, and it’s only been recorded a few times.

PAPD is corrupt from the top down. Without the firing of at least the latter 2 members, the community has no faith in the police chief [portion removed.]

Do better, the citizens of PA deserve!


Support Your Local PD
Barron Park
on Jun 9, 2020 at 8:18 am
Support Your Local PD, Barron Park
on Jun 9, 2020 at 8:18 am
13 people like this

Defund the PAPD and make it a reserve force of volunteer PA residents.

In the event of any improprieties, those individuals will have to answer directly to the citizens of Palo Alto.

This measure will also eliminate any complicity by the PD associations/unions to interfere with or cover-up blatant violations involving police brutality & bullying.

In addition, it will save taxpayer dollars by eliminating PD salaries.

Some PA residents have noted that PAPD officers are oftentimes resentful because they themselves cannot afford to reside in Palo Alto and must commute long distances to work.

Boo hoo...as not everyone can afford to live in Palo Alto as well.

A localized police force made up of volunteer officers resolves fiscal issues and allows for personal accountability as no law-abiding Palo Alto resident serving as a gendarme would want to be ostracized (or run out of town) for exercising police brutality and/or misbehavior.


Stanley Yelnats
Downtown North
on Jun 9, 2020 at 8:21 am
Stanley Yelnats , Downtown North
on Jun 9, 2020 at 8:21 am
20 people like this

I don't see an issue in defunding the police department, especially if those funds go back into community outreach and programs for our residents. The police in Palo Alto make a ridiculous amount of money in general, and they keep getting salary bumps, as more funds get diverted from other departments. Let's all agree that Palo Alto is a pretty safe community in general [portion removed.]


Anneke
Professorville
on Jun 9, 2020 at 8:41 am
Anneke, Professorville
on Jun 9, 2020 at 8:41 am
16 people like this

Web Link

Please read the section about the police changes in Camden, NJ. The police force was not defunded, it was changed, and the results are dramatic.

Again, the police needs to be our friends and protectors, not our enemies


Reform is the Solution
Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Jun 9, 2020 at 8:42 am
Reform is the Solution , Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Jun 9, 2020 at 8:42 am
23 people like this

Chief Robert Jonsen was a LA Sheriff in South Central LA and Lancaster CA, then was the Chief in MP. In spite of what he says, he works for less transparency, called for the curfew and is bad news for reform.

Officer Barbour saved the life of a homeless man who couldn’t swim and fell into the creek. He quit the PAPD after receiving the award, and being the butt of the racist “joke”. Zach Perron, the maker of the “joke” was then promoted and is still with the Dept.

Officer DeStefano has broken more than one head, cost taxpayers a lot of money paying off lawsuits.

Who knows what all goes on out of sight of public videos. And we never see police video as we should.


Support Your Local PD
Barron Park
on Jun 9, 2020 at 9:05 am
Support Your Local PD, Barron Park
on Jun 9, 2020 at 9:05 am
20 people like this

quote: 'Who knows what all goes on out of sight of public videos. And we never see police video as we should."

^ Thank goodness for citizens with cellphone cameras who capture these unlawful & unwarranted acts of brutality by the police.

It's not surprising that police bodycams tend to 'malfunction' during these occurrences. How convenient.


quote; "Again, the police needs to be our friends and protectors, not our enemies"

^ That is the responsibility of the PDs and most of them have a lousy way of promoting your ideals.


RacistsIgnorePolicy
Midtown
on Jun 9, 2020 at 9:14 am
RacistsIgnorePolicy, Midtown
on Jun 9, 2020 at 9:14 am
7 people like this

The idea that somehow a set of written policies are going to constrain racists is ludicrous. The reality is that people die regularly from police violence which isn't allowed under written policy, but is deemed "justified" because the word of the living police officer outweighs the death of somebody who is then voiceless. City council needs to look at not having anything resembling the current police department.


Police Reform
Community Center
on Jun 9, 2020 at 9:41 am
Police Reform, Community Center
on Jun 9, 2020 at 9:41 am
15 people like this

Police reform including 8 can't wait is much needed. Separating out mental health services would be a win and maybe that can count as "defunding". However, crime will significantly increase without police and result in a large growth of gangs influence (along with gun ownership). However, "Defund the Police" is very helpful to Trump's relection campaign. Please be thoughtful about what you are asking for.


Brian
Downtown North
on Jun 9, 2020 at 9:47 am
Brian, Downtown North
on Jun 9, 2020 at 9:47 am
42 people like this

The city council does not want reforms. The police chief is currently violating california law by refusing to turn over officer Destefanos body and car cam footage to the attornies of a suspect he beat up.

In another incident Sgt Moore's body and car recordings and GPS data are missing and the polce chief knows why but refuses to explain why to the city council even though councilman Filseth and others have asked him to.

It has been 9 months since Sgt Moore denied medical treatment to a 52 yr. old woman suffering from a brain tumor. Sgt Moore falsely accused the woman of having a psychiatric problem.

All of this has been reported on Paloaltoonline.


Brian
Downtown North
on Jun 9, 2020 at 10:00 am
Brian, Downtown North
on Jun 9, 2020 at 10:00 am
21 people like this

If the city council wanted reform they would demand that the chief turn over Destefanos recordings today and explain why Sgt Moore's recordings are missing today. If they don't then you know the council does not want reform.


Nayeli
Midtown
on Jun 9, 2020 at 10:16 am
Nayeli, Midtown
on Jun 9, 2020 at 10:16 am
62 people like this

I support the Palo Alto Police Department.

It is wrong to stereotype and generalize groups -- including African Americans, Hispanic Americans AND police officers -- because of a handful of bad examples.

Obviously, steps should be taken to prevent police brutality. I favor restricting officers from using violence against non-violent offenders. At the same time, the police are necessary in any society where certain individuals commit crimes from petty theft to violence against Americans.

It is baffling to me to hear groups demanding something as cringe-worthy as calls to "defund police departments." What do we do without them? Sit idly by as criminal activity skyrockets in towns and cities because certain individuals stereotype and generalize police?

For the most part, police do a fantastic job under very difficult circumstances. Like it or not, there are criminals who prey upon the innocent in Palo Alto. And, like it or not, a disproportionate number of those engaging in criminal activity come from outside of our city limits.

We need the police. We need well-trained, empathetic, compassionate yet colorblind enforcers of the law.

Law is based upon the consent of the governed. Specifically, the majority democratically choose from among ourselves representatives for these purposes.

In our system, "we the people" are the governed who consent to such laws. If we don't like a law, we can urge representatives (who are literally supposed to "represent" the people of the district) to try and change the law.

For truly meaningful reform that isn't a cliché or talking point designed for political expediency, why not get together around options that would actually make a difference?

Let's push for rules governing law enforcement that restrict violent force during apprehension to only violent offenders who are eminent threats?

Now, if a belligerent suspect (and there are MANY of them) refuses to comply to officers' requests, then simply tack on an additional charge? Law enforcement should state BEFORE attempting to apprehend suspects that an additional charge for non-compliance will result if they don't cooperate.

This could go a long way in preventing escalations. After all, most of the violence happens when the suspect is confronted or apprehended by law enforcement.


Fairmeadow
Midtown
on Jun 9, 2020 at 10:28 am
Fairmeadow, Midtown
on Jun 9, 2020 at 10:28 am
42 people like this

I support the police!!

Ridiculous statements here...


Wondering?
Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Jun 9, 2020 at 10:34 am
Wondering?, Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Jun 9, 2020 at 10:34 am
3 people like this

Wonder if the city council really understands what Black Lives Matter is all about?

Web Link

We disrupt the Western-prescribed nuclear family structure requirement by supporting each other as extended families and “villages” that collectively care for one another, especially our children, to the degree that mothers, parents, and children are comfortable.

So .. the Palo Alto city council supports the disruption of the nuclear family? When did these people come to that point-of-view?


Mark Weiss
Downtown North
on Jun 9, 2020 at 10:47 am
Mark Weiss, Downtown North
on Jun 9, 2020 at 10:47 am
6 people like this

People like the Perron and DeStefano have long ties in the community, are products of our schools, and Stanford. Is it possible that people here who are constantly bringing up these issues which were investigated and discussed have never actually met the two men in question? Is it possible that people here who are constantly bringing up these issues which were investigated and discussed have never actually met the two men in question? Is there really a continuum between crushing a man to death and joking to your coworker using language that only certain people should ever use if anybody should? When I was at Terman in 1975 I referred to another student as “ blood” And he said don’t call me blood you are not my blood. I’m type O positive actually which is universal but no I never use that term again.
More to the point they were 5,000 people at the rally easily. Kaloma I presume was being agreeable to not refute the point if he repeated the lowball number.
The people have spoken: black lives matter —kudos to Tom Dubois who incidentally shares a name with a black comic character for being the only one of the seven to literally start his statement by saying “black lives matter”.
There is no inconsistency between my first several points and my main point —it is a nuanced issue; it is not, excuse the expression, black and white.
We should debate what “defund” means.
All in all I think Ed Shikada and chief Jonson did fine, so to speak.


Stina Pinsky
Greenmeadow
on Jun 9, 2020 at 10:47 am
Stina Pinsky , Greenmeadow
on Jun 9, 2020 at 10:47 am
12 people like this

The reform is a good first step but the unwillingness to defund is disappointing. All the police across the country are a problem, we have moved past the point of finding a solution within the way our current system (on a national level) operates. It is irresponsible leadership to say that “”we”” are not part of the problem. It is especially irresponsible in an area that is so expensive to live in. Police budgets should be reallocated to serve the community. Councilmembers should serve the community, not the police department. I hope that the council reconsiders their thoughts and the members do some research on what defunding their police really means. You can’t just slap on some reforms and call it a day. This isn’t over.


Populist insanity
Barron Park
on Jun 9, 2020 at 10:49 am
Populist insanity, Barron Park
on Jun 9, 2020 at 10:49 am
17 people like this

"The president of the NAACP declined to endorse the “defund the police” movement that has gained momentum in recent days, after Minneapolis lawmakers announced they have the votes to do just that in their city -- where the death of George Floyd, a black man, in police custody touched off nationwide protests.In an interview with The Associated Press this week, NAACP President Derrick Johnson said he backs “the energy behind” the movement, but did not offer explicit support for it."

The people who would will likely be most hurt by defunding police are people of color.


Mary
Professorville
on Jun 9, 2020 at 10:50 am
Mary, Professorville
on Jun 9, 2020 at 10:50 am
6 people like this

Let's change the name from PAPD to PAPSD, Palo Alto Public Safety Dept. and make meaningful change to policies that protect people.


ResidentX
Barron Park
on Jun 9, 2020 at 11:02 am
ResidentX, Barron Park
on Jun 9, 2020 at 11:02 am
25 people like this

Lets try logic again (I know its hard for liberal people, but lets try) :
Here is a list of incidents yesterday, only today, June 8 in Palo Alto: Web Link
Now, lets say you defund or abolish police, and lets just assume you are on the receiving end of the crime: 1) Who will you call? 2) How long will it take them to get there? 3) Probability of you being a victim of crime:
June 9 sample crimes:
Robbery (yes, your house)
Elderly Abuse (yes, your grandfather)
Auto Theft (yes, your auto)
Property Damage (yes, your property)


MyOpinion
another community
on Jun 9, 2020 at 11:04 am
MyOpinion, another community
on Jun 9, 2020 at 11:04 am
9 people like this

I am a senior have had a tickets in my time, and honestly most of those have been negative experiences with a macho cop with attitude issuing a citation which in some cases was incorrect, or based on 'officer discretion' which means he COULD issue a warning, but he chooses to issue a ticket instead. Officer discretion is a cop-out, no pun intended and just another way for cop to intimidate and wield his power.


Hacc
Old Palo Alto
on Jun 9, 2020 at 11:04 am
Hacc, Old Palo Alto
on Jun 9, 2020 at 11:04 am
10 people like this

For those of us who have lived in Palo Alto for a while know quite well the history of the Palo Alto Police Department in mistreating Black and Brown people, and even killing a disabled man with a history of mental illness. We can't pretend that these things never happened. Well, the time has come for good police reform and we should heed that call.
First, we need to have a police unit to deal with citizens with mental health issues, domestic violence, disputes, and the likes without resorting to shooting when these folks are in crisis.
Second, we need to have a special police unit with very few officers carrying guns. Most police officers do not need a gun policing the city. Most citizens issues can be resolved or dealt with without police officers carrying guns (England does very well without police officers carrying guns).
Last, our city culture must change. We need to remember cities are what make police departments. In other words, police departments could claim their innocence in these imbroglios if they want to. In fact, many have done just that.
Perhaps if we all act in good faith to be a better city, to bring civility, justice, equity, and fairness to all citizens of this great place, George Floyd would not have died in vain.


Dan
Midtown
on Jun 9, 2020 at 11:16 am
Dan, Midtown
on Jun 9, 2020 at 11:16 am
46 people like this

What we need to do is "defund" the people committing crimes, not the ones enforcing the laws and protecting us from crime. Police policy reform sure, but those calling for "defunding" police show a lack of seriousness. When your car is smash and grabbed, house broken into, etc. you will want the police support.


Parallells bad priests and bad cops, stop closing ranks!
Mountain View
on Jun 9, 2020 at 12:03 pm
Parallells bad priests and bad cops, stop closing ranks!, Mountain View
on Jun 9, 2020 at 12:03 pm
11 people like this

Defunding is an unfortunate term, clearly we need law enforcement and we need reform but disbanding police? This is not Deadwood. No doubt there are good police officers, however Law enforcement needs to weed out the cops and recruits with attitude, empowered by a badge and a gun. The unions and IA need to be transparent. Both priests and cops have had powerful roles, but their insitutions often close ranks when one of their own perpetrates abuse, that cannot be tolerated. The Church has made some progress, however police brutality remains under wraps for the most part, even with body cams, abuse continues as evidenced by the violent police actions AFTER George Floyd's murder.


Laura
St. Claire Gardens
on Jun 9, 2020 at 12:04 pm
Laura, St. Claire Gardens
on Jun 9, 2020 at 12:04 pm
18 people like this

Many of you are saying PAPD is accountable and not subject to the same scrutiny as in other places in this country. That couldn't be farther from the truth. Police Chief Rob Jonsen has continually hidden police scandals from the eye. Captain Zach Perron's 2014 incident came to light only 2 years ago. The Police bodycam footage from Julio Arevalo's arrest and assault by Agent Rob DeStefano is still not available to the public -- evidence has only been provided to media through private footage.

Palo Alto City Council and Chief Jonsen, thanks for saying a whole lot of nothing, and letting our community rot.


Susan
Downtown North
on Jun 9, 2020 at 12:11 pm
Susan, Downtown North
on Jun 9, 2020 at 12:11 pm
19 people like this

I am from the south having lived in Palo Alto for a couple of years. It is repulsive to me that members of this community like Mr. Weiss would condone the use of a dehumanizing racial slur in a joke to a Black man, a co-worker, having been exposed to inculcated racism in the south for decades. The black officer was forced to leave the department while the white officer retained his position as high a rankimg officer. Palo Alto is more rascist than many communities in the south.


Mark Weiss
Downtown North

on Jun 9, 2020 at 12:17 pm
Name hidden, Downtown North

on Jun 9, 2020 at 12:17 pm

Due to violations of our Terms of Use, comments from this poster are only visible to registered users who are logged in. Use the links at the top of the page to Register or Login.


ALB
College Terrace
on Jun 9, 2020 at 12:21 pm
ALB, College Terrace
on Jun 9, 2020 at 12:21 pm
15 people like this

Everyone should look at the success of the Camden, New Jersey police department. They did not defund but instigated a sea change in the culture of policing. Instead of the archaic model of how many citations an officer gives to measure that officer's success the new rules are about engaging with the community. The police in this jurisdiction know their community.

All funding for militarized equipment must be stopped. My sense is Palo Alto does not have this but if our town's police force does include such then we need to strip that from the budget right NOW.

Why are Moore, DeStefano and other rogue police officers still on the force?
Last night Mayor Fine kept repeating like a parrot that the public speakers should not mention names but stick to issues. Now the mayor is the CENSOR
in chief. The speakers last night were polite and their speech is PROTECTED
speech under the Constitution.

Councilwoman Kniss is out of touch. She is in the pocket of developers. She only cares about protecting property. The sky is falling is her mantra. The council will be a better place after she departs. BTW why does she leave her county for Santa Monica so often when Dr. Cody has stipulated that we remain in our counties during shelter in place?


Anon
Duveneck/St. Francis
on Jun 9, 2020 at 2:00 pm
Anon, Duveneck/St. Francis
on Jun 9, 2020 at 2:00 pm
Like this comment

Idea in the article:
Direct money - meaning taxpayer money - towards “community programs.” I will expect a direct statement describing each such “program” along with budget, audited results. Ha, ha.
Look, clearly described reforms ofnpolice departments are necessary and must be accelerated.
Using the George Floyd tragedy to extract random millions out of the taxpayer isn’t acceptable, unless there is clear description.
Often “community programs,” much like the existing endless budget “for the homeless” in San Francisco, is cleverly opaque- and apparently ineffective - but you can be certain favored groups and pals of politicians are lining their pockets.


Jay
College Terrace
on Jun 9, 2020 at 2:38 pm
Jay , College Terrace
on Jun 9, 2020 at 2:38 pm
3 people like this

Somebody posted a website about corrupt palo alto cops but I don't see it now. Does anyone know the name of it?


Family Friendly
Old Palo Alto
on Jun 9, 2020 at 3:09 pm
Family Friendly, Old Palo Alto
on Jun 9, 2020 at 3:09 pm
19 people like this

The United States has 17,985 police agencies, and something on the order of 700,000 officers. What group of people, including the 60,000 residents of Palo Alto, could have such a microscopic number of bad actors?

Think for a moment, whether you would rather see a police officer on a street corner, or a violent felon. This is the choice that we're being presented with -- thanks to the stark and ridiculous way that fringe leftists have framed the issue.

I, for one, know exactly how I'll answer in the next election.


Watching
Duveneck/St. Francis
on Jun 9, 2020 at 3:28 pm
Watching, Duveneck/St. Francis
on Jun 9, 2020 at 3:28 pm
8 people like this

Palo Alto needs to pay more heed to the past history of its contract with the independent police auditor (OIR Group), and the circumstances which led up to that thoughtful commitment (I think c. 2006). In these perilous times of overlapping challenges of COVID-19, plummeting resources due to the impact of COVID-19, civil unrest due to inequalities sustained over centuries of neglect and exacerbated by COVID-19, and evident police brutality, we need an independent police auditor more than ever.

Palo Alto residents, and especially members of the City Council: please take a strong stand for the importance of regularity, timeliness, and especially, transparency, of the auditor's reports. These reports should not be solely under the purview of the City and its Police Department (where they were moved in late December of last year). If the police are acting appropriately, and an independent auditor verifies their actions, those together can give Palo Altans greater confidence in and respect for their police force.

The original arrangement with the independent police auditor was set up the way it was for a reason. Changing the process, as the City Manager proposed, and the City Council approved, in December 2019 (Web Link) is a recipe for mistrust. Restoring this process to its original construct would enable it to function with integrity in Palo Alto. Trust but verify.


Maurice
Old Palo Alto
on Jun 9, 2020 at 4:25 pm
Maurice, Old Palo Alto
on Jun 9, 2020 at 4:25 pm
21 people like this

The idea of defunding the police departments borders upon lunacy. Criminals -- no matter their race -- need to be arrested and taken off the streets.

Could you imagine what the streets of America would law enforcement?

It would be...lawlessness.


James
Midtown
on Jun 9, 2020 at 4:37 pm
James, Midtown
on Jun 9, 2020 at 4:37 pm
Like this comment

Looks like defund is popular in Seattle. Majority voted defund in the poll.

Web Link


James
Midtown
on Jun 9, 2020 at 4:57 pm
James, Midtown
on Jun 9, 2020 at 4:57 pm
2 people like this

Defund Police is not enough. Time to shutdown STEM and academia.

"Academia and STEM are global endeavors that sustain a racist system, where Black people are murdered."

Web Link


Laura
St. Claire Gardens
on Jun 9, 2020 at 6:57 pm
Laura, St. Claire Gardens
on Jun 9, 2020 at 6:57 pm
4 people like this

Jay, the website on corrupt palo alto cops can be found with a very quick search query with those terms :)


Resident 1-Adobe Meadows
Adobe-Meadow
on Jun 9, 2020 at 7:38 pm
Resident 1-Adobe Meadows, Adobe-Meadow
on Jun 9, 2020 at 7:38 pm
7 people like this

The first problem is the city position as expressed by the Mayor. The lady mayor of Chicago is a piece of work. That is a situation which sets up a lot of trouble. She shuns an elected official who is asking questions. And she does it on a recorded conversation.
The Mayor and City Council / elected officials need to make clear that any individuals which do not function in an appropriate and legal manner will be fired. No city can afford to keep rogue officials on board which will lead to total embarrassment and law suits.
That is happening up in SF right now - an official is money laundering and getting caught. There is no tolerance for people getting away with anything these days. Lay out what is expected of everyone and tell them that they can kiss their jobs goodbye if they cannot conform to the rules of the road.


Disgusted
College Terrace
on Jun 9, 2020 at 9:56 pm
Disgusted, College Terrace
on Jun 9, 2020 at 9:56 pm
11 people like this

Don't forget that the police in Palo Alto are all still due to get a 3 percent pay rise this year that the union refuses to give up while the city faces major cuts to community services in the budget. They also are now being offered a retirement incentive scheme for older officers at a cost of $480,000 to the city where senior officers will each receive $30,000 to retire early. It's the total opposite of defunding and it's all so self-serving. Any talk of reform is a joke until we see concrete action being taken.


Jake
Downtown North
on Jun 9, 2020 at 11:02 pm
Jake, Downtown North
on Jun 9, 2020 at 11:02 pm
4 people like this

1. The city needs some sort of the force to protect the community. This is due to violation/crime committed almost daily in the city. Until we come up with a concrete plan, we cannot "get rid of" PAPD.
2. Absolute power brings absolute corruption. We need a group to monitor the police department, not the internal PD, but from outside which consists of PA residents. This will provide transparency, and make sure PAPD doing everything lawfully.
3. Get rid of the union. We should start from scratch to build the PAPD if needs do, to get rid of the union.


Jennifer
another community
on Jun 10, 2020 at 7:56 am
Jennifer, another community
on Jun 10, 2020 at 7:56 am
21 people like this

Defunding the police... absurd. Put yourself in a position where you never come into contact with the police. Quit committing crimes, and for us law abiding citizens - quit getting pulled over. Obeying traffic laws isn't difficult... if you want to. It might even save a life.


Edward
Downtown North
on Jun 10, 2020 at 9:10 am
Edward , Downtown North
on Jun 10, 2020 at 9:10 am
8 people like this

I've been fortunate to have been raised in Palo Alto, where we as a community have an abundance amount of resources and programs available for youth to keep us busy and preparing us for the future. I'd like to see more funds be diverted from the PAPD, into more community programs and resources, or back into other departments (CSD/Library).

I wish I could say that I support and love our police department, but I'd be lying if I did say that. Growing up in Palo Alto, being black here was a real challenge for me. I remember when I was around 10 years old, and decided to go jogging around Johnson Park for exercise. A cop drove beside me and asked what I was doing (as if it wasn't self explanatory) and why I was running in my own neighborhood, assuming that I lived in East Palo Alto. For 10 years old, I was confused, hurt, and started questioning if Palo Alto was my community, because I didn't feel like I belonged.

Fast forward to when I turned 16 years old and was able to drive to and from school. I couldn't tell you how many times I've been pulled over and harassed by the PAPD. I never had any friends in the car, and always made sure to follow the laws, to prevent myself from being pulled over, and that didn't work. I've been followed all the way to my front yard and then finally pulled over for not reason. I never once was issued a ticket, since I obeyed the law, but that doesn't make what I went through right. My mother finally had enough, as she noticed how much I was affected by this harassment. She got in contact with one of their Sergeant's to inform of the ongoing issue, and he invited me to come talk to him, I did. I gave him as much information as possible, and he even took my car information down. After that, I haven't been followed, pulled over, or harassed since.

A lot of you haven't gone through these types of experiences or encounters with PAPD, so you will never know how it feels. We as residents need to do something, whether a reform or defunding the PAPD.


Bill Bucy
Barron Park
on Jun 10, 2020 at 9:33 am
Bill Bucy, Barron Park
on Jun 10, 2020 at 9:33 am
8 people like this

There are two issues at hand regarding police.

The first is a general disdain for "civilians" that leads to disrespect and brutality. The second involves requiring police to handle all of society's problems.

Brutality can be addressed at least in part by eliminating unfair legal and union protections for police who act wrongfully. Eventually the truly bad cops will get flushed out. Same thing for police leadership. Not simple, not easy but an overarching idea.

As for the second issue, the notion of moving money from police budgets to finance increased social services makes perfect sense and would allow cops to focus on crime, not social work. Sure, police would still need to respond when a seemingly mentally ill person is acting threateningly. But after the situation is controlled, social services could step in to deal with the suspect.

The same idea could apply to homeless issues, subsstance abuse, a number of juvenile crimes and so on. One such redirection of resources is working well in Eugene, Oregon. Web Link


Online Name
Embarcadero Oaks/Leland
on Jun 10, 2020 at 1:26 pm
Online Name, Embarcadero Oaks/Leland
on Jun 10, 2020 at 1:26 pm
8 people like this

@Bill Bucy, exactly on both points.

Here's a quote from John Grisham's best-seller "Camino Winds" that sums up what's wrong with policing in PA and elsewhere (p.94).

"Why does every Podunk police department have a tank these days? Because the Pentagon has too much of the stuff and sells it cheap... Why does every fender bender need three cop cards and four fire trucks? Because these guys are bored, sitting around the station, and they get their jollies racing up and down the street with sirens screaming."

Based on the PA police's response to fender benders in front of our house, Grisham's underestimating tand certainly forgot the 4 motorcycle cops.


Resident 1-Adobe Meadows
Adobe-Meadow
on Jun 11, 2020 at 9:34 am
Resident 1-Adobe Meadows, Adobe-Meadow
on Jun 11, 2020 at 9:34 am
7 people like this

More SJM guilt shaming. Article today on Redwood City and their budget for their police department. Thank you to the mayor who corrected their manipulative journalism. Note to the SJM - Redwood City has a Sheriff's Department east of 101 and a jail near the court house. RWC has the biggest music venue on the peninsula with huge crowds there every Friday Night. RWC has a port that is in the planning stages to add a ferry service. RWC has a huge growth in residential building in the direct downtown area next to El Camino, the Caltrain tracks, and along Veteran's Blvd. RWC has two hospitals. RWC is growing at leaps and bounds - and their city manager makes considerably less than the city manager of PA.

SJM keeps adding columnist from the NY Times which exercise hyperbole to a degree that is off the charts. But then look at Manhattan - shut down and out of business. We don't need advice from the NY Times columnist who are digging their hole deeper and deeper.


Resident 1-Adobe Meadows
Adobe-Meadow
on Jun 11, 2020 at 11:13 am
Resident 1-Adobe Meadows, Adobe-Meadow
on Jun 11, 2020 at 11:13 am
Like this comment

Looking at the destruction in downtown Seattle as it is occurring. The Governor and mayor have relinquished control over the matter. But not to fear. Mr. Microsoft - Bill and Melinda Gates - have bought a house on the beach in Del Mar, CA. Since that is in the vicinity of many defense locations then they will be safe. So having all of the money does not work. Unless the politics are playing in his favor. When you look at major cities being destroyed someone is winning, and someone is losing. Stirring up the "public' is an art form used over and over to achieve multiple agendas. So don't be stirred up - keep your heads screwed on. The job is to make change in a productive, positive manner.

As to comments on the book Camino Island the whole story is about a hurricane that destroys the island and requires heavy equipment to move trees out of the road, upended houses out of the road. Camino Island is a tourist location that is destroyed and will take years to rebuild. As you come to the end of the book the stars of the novel are finally having a dinner with all of the people that had to depart during the storm. But guess what - another hurricane is now on it's way in.


Online Name
Embarcadero Oaks/Leland
on Jun 11, 2020 at 11:37 am
Online Name, Embarcadero Oaks/Leland
on Jun 11, 2020 at 11:37 am
8 people like this

@Resident 1-Adobe Meadows, true. It's also about the failure of the local and state police to follow the clues laid out for them and their failure investigate the murder, forcing the victim's friends to pay $300,000 for their own investigators.

My point in quoting from Grisham's book is to show how mainstream the criticism of the police is and how militarized they've become. Again, it's unnecessary for the PA police with their incredible salaries and $100,000+ in overtime pay to send an army to fender-bendes while laying off poorly paid librarians.

"Defund the police" is an unfortunate slogan. Maybe it should be "Right-Size the police" of somesuch.


Online Name
Embarcadero Oaks/Leland
on Jun 11, 2020 at 11:40 am
Online Name, Embarcadero Oaks/Leland
on Jun 11, 2020 at 11:40 am
6 people like this

PS: Yes, what's happening in Seattle is horrible. Friends up there have described what the Proud Boys are doing to disturb the peaceful protests and to incite violence as plain "evil" and terrifying.


Anon
Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Jun 11, 2020 at 11:50 am
Anon, Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Jun 11, 2020 at 11:50 am
2 people like this

Posted by Online Name, a resident of Embarcadero Oaks/Leland

>> Based on the PA police's response to fender benders in front of our house, Grisham's underestimating tand certainly forgot the 4 motorcycle cops.

And yet, when it comes time to stop people for driving 40 in a residential neighborhood or running stop signs (in same), they have higher priorities.


How about some appreciation?
Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Jun 11, 2020 at 12:09 pm
How about some appreciation?, Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Jun 11, 2020 at 12:09 pm
9 people like this

[Portion removed.] There are bad apples in every career and for an intellectual community to target a few negatives instead of praising all the positives, I question the intelligence of the posters. These officers are not robocops, they are human beings.

Remember the Lifelock commercial with the security guard doing nothing during the bank robbery? Web Link That's what you want?

Particularly disturbing is Stanley Yelnats' comment, "The police in Palo Alto make a ridiculous amount of money in general."

How much should a person be paid for risking being killed on any day, Stanley? Who is going to take the job when each day they are scoffed at daily? Who will you call if someone is busting in your front door or if you are being beaten and mugged?

It's always easy being a Monday Morning Quarterback, no one should judge until they try being a police officer, it's not an easy job [portion removed.]

For those who don't understand, there is a PAPD Basic Citizens Police Academy offered twice per year: "a detailed course designed to foster increased understanding and communication between community members and the police." Web Link


How about some appreciation?
Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Jun 11, 2020 at 12:17 pm
How about some appreciation?, Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Jun 11, 2020 at 12:17 pm
10 people like this

People should sign up for emails from PAPD and you'll see the great work that they are doing: Web Link They are catching criminals frequently with very little obvious information. Surely, it's easier to criticize.


Hacc
Old Palo Alto
on Jun 11, 2020 at 12:46 pm
Hacc, Old Palo Alto
on Jun 11, 2020 at 12:46 pm
5 people like this

There is an excellent article in The Atlantic Magazine (theatlantic.com) this week, written by Rosa Brooks, a Georgetown University law professor. I will urge every one interested in seeing police departments doing a better job at policing read it. The premise of the article is that most problems coming from police departments have to do in the way police academies train police officers. Therefore, a different approach is needed in the way police academies train future cops. There should never be antagonism between police officers and the people they swear to protect. A more human and enlightened approach is needed. That way society wins!


PAPD is just as bad as other police forces
Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Jun 11, 2020 at 2:07 pm
PAPD is just as bad as other police forces, Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Jun 11, 2020 at 2:07 pm
10 people like this

Tom DuBois and other city council members refuse to hold PAPD accountable. For example, DuBois bizarrely stated: ""I think the men and women of our Police Department serve our community well . . . While we have had a few issues, I think our police should not be viewed as the problem, but as part of the solution."

DuBois is well aware that the PADP have engaged in racist conduct, such as Zach Perron saying the n-word. DuBois is also aware that PAPD shot to death a individual who was having a mental health crisis and holding a butterknife. DuBois is also aware of the fact that numerous officers turn off their supposedly mandatory body cameras as they please, of the homophobic and racist beating of a Latinx man in Buena Vista, and many other incidents of misconduct and abuse.

And please do not think that just because you are not Black or Latinx and don't live in Buena Vista the police won't abuse you. These police are not officer friendly to anyone.

For example, an upper class white homeowner was subjected to police abuse a year ago when she called for medical assistance while having a seizure due to cancer, as reported in this newspaper
Web Link

In that incident, as DuBois was well aware, there were numerous policy violations including an officer not wearing required body camera, officers refusing to allow paramedics to attend to a gravely ill individual and instead questioning her about drugs when she was having a seizure, and an unlawful search of the victim's home that included reading her mail and searching her closed purse. Of course they found nothing and accomplished nothing except worsening this woman's health situation and endangering her life.

This all occurred in broad daylight to an upper income white prominent homeowner. If she had been black or Latinx she would be dead. DuBois for the past year has failed to even acknowledge the completely incompetent response to this incident except to give the benefit of the doubt to police who were blatantly violating policy at the time. Filseth, who was then the Mayor also threw up his hands and did nothing.

This City Council is full of pompous self-seeking incompetent blowhards. They hired Shikada. If anyone can name one thing Shikada has done that wasn't horribly screwed up, please post it here. Council refuse to rein in police misconduct even when it is right in their faces, even with respect to officers who are blatantly violating policy. They do not care that officers don't turn on their required body cams. They do not care about people being shot over a butterknife. They do not care about anything other than their own puffed out chests -- Allison Cormack is already planning to have buildings named after herself but can't be bothered to demand that the city fire an officer who says the N-word.

Web Link

The whole council should resign in disgrace.


Hacc
Old Palo Alto
on Jun 11, 2020 at 2:42 pm
Hacc, Old Palo Alto
on Jun 11, 2020 at 2:42 pm
Like this comment

Well remember those who fail us now during the next citywide election!


Jennifer
another community
on Jun 12, 2020 at 8:22 am
Jennifer, another community
on Jun 12, 2020 at 8:22 am
10 people like this

The only way to "reform" the police is to get rid of the union. I'm not anti-union. There are pros and cons of at-will and union employment. If it wasn't for union protection, Chauvin would've been fired along time ago. And anyone with an ounce of common sense knows this. All the training, reform, etc. in the world won't weed out bad cops if the union keeps protecting them.


Will Ray
Downtown North
on Jun 13, 2020 at 11:30 pm
Will Ray, Downtown North
on Jun 13, 2020 at 11:30 pm
Like this comment

Having lived all over Palo Alto Area as a homeowner since 1988 we have never had to worry about how the fire department treats people. Food for thought.


workingclassstiff
Midtown

on Jun 27, 2020 at 10:46 pm
Name hidden, Midtown

on Jun 27, 2020 at 10:46 pm

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