News

Spurred by public outrage, Palo Alto plans to rethink police services

City Council directs Human Relations Commission to review city's consistency with '8 Can't Wait'

The Palo Alto City Council on June 16 directed the city's Human Relations Commission to review the consistency of Palo Alto Police Department policies with those in the "8 Can't Wait" campaign. Photo by Veronica Weber.

Answering public calls for police reform, the Palo Alto City Council moved early Tuesday toward adopting the "8 Can't Wait" platform and began to debate a more fundamental question: Should the city even have a Police Department?

During a wide-ranging discussion that followed weeks of protests over the death of George Floyd while in Minneapolis police custody, the council agreed to hear monthly reports on topics such as police hiring, data analysis and the department's transparency and accountability policies, and to pursue an art project that honors the Black Lives Matter movement near City Hall.

In addition to these near-term ideas, the council also signaled its desire to consider a much dramatic, long-term proposal: combining its police and fire agencies into a single Department of Public Safety. That model is currently used in Sunnyvale. Billed as the largest integrated public safety department in the country, the Sunnyvale agency combines the functions of police, fire and emergency medical services, with officers trained in all three services.

Councilwoman Liz Kniss said one great advantage of this model is that it allows the community to see the different aspects of each officer.

"We tend to see our police as maybe great if you need protection, but you don't see them positively if you've just been pulled over or if you've just done something where you're unfortunately in handcuffs in the back of a car," Kniss said. "There are many aspects of our police that are somewhat frightening to people.

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"Firefighters are just the opposite. Everyone likes firefighters, and they are like EMS as well."

Councilman Greg Tanaka noted that the switch also would allow the city to save money by combining the leadership roles of the three departments into one. He called the proposal "very intriguing and very attractive."

The idea is unlikely to be adopted any time soon. The council's vote means staff will return at a later date for a study session to discuss the pros and cons of combining public safety services. Councilman Eric Filseth framed it as a way to explore best practices for policing.

"We have one of the most educated, best trained police departments in the state of California," Filseth said. "It seems to me we ought to be looking for best practices on how we do everything."

Numerous public speakers pushed back against this characterization and pointed to recent incidents involving police officers violently arresting residents, including the July 2018 arrest of Gustavo Alvarez at the Buena Vista Mobile Home Park. The council last year approved a $572,500 settlement with Alvarez. The department is now the subject of an FBI investigation over the incident, according to a report by NBC Bay Area (Police Chief Robert Jonsen and City Attorney Molly Stump declined to confirm the investigation when asked about it on Monday night).

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For the second straight week, numerous speakers called on the city to fire Agent Thomas DeStefano, who was involved in three use-of-force incidents that led to complaints (two have already prompted settlements), and to revoke the pension of Sgt. Wayne Benitez, who was involved in the Buena Vista arrest.

One speaker, Robert Vetter, argued that Palo Alto is a town built on systemic racism, which still exists today. He criticized the culture of the police department and urged the City Council to address past practices, like redlining, that have exacerbated community inequalities.

"Whether or not we are directly responsible for it, it's our job now to try to fix it and to reckon with that," Vetter said. "Every minute we're not doing that is contributing to further inequity in this town."

Resident Dhara Yu cited the FBI investigation and said she hopes the city and the department are "acting with the appropriate level of urgency."

"I hope something as serious as this would motivate the city to provide something better than these vague platitudes we've seen so far," Yu said.

While the conversation about the department's long-term future will unfold over the coming months, the council is hoping to make faster progress on some of the other reforms, including adopting the policies in the "8 Can't Wait" campaign. The policies are: ban chokeholds and strangleholds, require de-escalation, require warnings before shooting, require officers to exhaust all alternatives before shooting, require officers to intervene and stop excessive force when used by other officers, ban shooting at moving vehicles, require a use-of-force continuum and require comprehensive reporting.

While the department already has policies that largely mirror those in "8 Can't Wait," (it remedied the biggest discrepancy last week, when it banned officers from using neck holds) several recent incidents and police audits suggest that some of the policies pertaining to de-escalation and intervening aren't always followed.

The Alvarez incident, for example, was not reported as a use-of-force incident but only became publicized because Alvarez captured it through his home surveillance system. Even though the department uses both body cameras and vehicle cameras to ensure accountability, officers don't always turn the cameras on and the footage rarely gets released to the public, notwithstanding recent state laws that aim to promote police transparency.

The City Council assigned the task of making sure the department follows the "8 Can't Wait" policies to its Human Relations Commission, which was also charged with putting together a report on the history of Palo Alto's black community. The council also directed the Public Art Commission to explore honoring diversity and supported a community effort to paint "Black Lives Matter" or a similar message near City Hall.

"We are really just scratching the surface," said Mayor Adrian Fine, who made the motion to pursue the various efforts. "It's unfortunate that we are dealing with it after tragedies, but it's nonetheless supremely important so I think we have to continue asking these questions."

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Spurred by public outrage, Palo Alto plans to rethink police services

City Council directs Human Relations Commission to review city's consistency with '8 Can't Wait'

by / Palo Alto Weekly

Uploaded: Tue, Jun 16, 2020, 9:48 am

Answering public calls for police reform, the Palo Alto City Council moved early Tuesday toward adopting the "8 Can't Wait" platform and began to debate a more fundamental question: Should the city even have a Police Department?

During a wide-ranging discussion that followed weeks of protests over the death of George Floyd while in Minneapolis police custody, the council agreed to hear monthly reports on topics such as police hiring, data analysis and the department's transparency and accountability policies, and to pursue an art project that honors the Black Lives Matter movement near City Hall.

In addition to these near-term ideas, the council also signaled its desire to consider a much dramatic, long-term proposal: combining its police and fire agencies into a single Department of Public Safety. That model is currently used in Sunnyvale. Billed as the largest integrated public safety department in the country, the Sunnyvale agency combines the functions of police, fire and emergency medical services, with officers trained in all three services.

Councilwoman Liz Kniss said one great advantage of this model is that it allows the community to see the different aspects of each officer.

"We tend to see our police as maybe great if you need protection, but you don't see them positively if you've just been pulled over or if you've just done something where you're unfortunately in handcuffs in the back of a car," Kniss said. "There are many aspects of our police that are somewhat frightening to people.

"Firefighters are just the opposite. Everyone likes firefighters, and they are like EMS as well."

Councilman Greg Tanaka noted that the switch also would allow the city to save money by combining the leadership roles of the three departments into one. He called the proposal "very intriguing and very attractive."

The idea is unlikely to be adopted any time soon. The council's vote means staff will return at a later date for a study session to discuss the pros and cons of combining public safety services. Councilman Eric Filseth framed it as a way to explore best practices for policing.

"We have one of the most educated, best trained police departments in the state of California," Filseth said. "It seems to me we ought to be looking for best practices on how we do everything."

Numerous public speakers pushed back against this characterization and pointed to recent incidents involving police officers violently arresting residents, including the July 2018 arrest of Gustavo Alvarez at the Buena Vista Mobile Home Park. The council last year approved a $572,500 settlement with Alvarez. The department is now the subject of an FBI investigation over the incident, according to a report by NBC Bay Area (Police Chief Robert Jonsen and City Attorney Molly Stump declined to confirm the investigation when asked about it on Monday night).

For the second straight week, numerous speakers called on the city to fire Agent Thomas DeStefano, who was involved in three use-of-force incidents that led to complaints (two have already prompted settlements), and to revoke the pension of Sgt. Wayne Benitez, who was involved in the Buena Vista arrest.

One speaker, Robert Vetter, argued that Palo Alto is a town built on systemic racism, which still exists today. He criticized the culture of the police department and urged the City Council to address past practices, like redlining, that have exacerbated community inequalities.

"Whether or not we are directly responsible for it, it's our job now to try to fix it and to reckon with that," Vetter said. "Every minute we're not doing that is contributing to further inequity in this town."

Resident Dhara Yu cited the FBI investigation and said she hopes the city and the department are "acting with the appropriate level of urgency."

"I hope something as serious as this would motivate the city to provide something better than these vague platitudes we've seen so far," Yu said.

While the conversation about the department's long-term future will unfold over the coming months, the council is hoping to make faster progress on some of the other reforms, including adopting the policies in the "8 Can't Wait" campaign. The policies are: ban chokeholds and strangleholds, require de-escalation, require warnings before shooting, require officers to exhaust all alternatives before shooting, require officers to intervene and stop excessive force when used by other officers, ban shooting at moving vehicles, require a use-of-force continuum and require comprehensive reporting.

While the department already has policies that largely mirror those in "8 Can't Wait," (it remedied the biggest discrepancy last week, when it banned officers from using neck holds) several recent incidents and police audits suggest that some of the policies pertaining to de-escalation and intervening aren't always followed.

The Alvarez incident, for example, was not reported as a use-of-force incident but only became publicized because Alvarez captured it through his home surveillance system. Even though the department uses both body cameras and vehicle cameras to ensure accountability, officers don't always turn the cameras on and the footage rarely gets released to the public, notwithstanding recent state laws that aim to promote police transparency.

The City Council assigned the task of making sure the department follows the "8 Can't Wait" policies to its Human Relations Commission, which was also charged with putting together a report on the history of Palo Alto's black community. The council also directed the Public Art Commission to explore honoring diversity and supported a community effort to paint "Black Lives Matter" or a similar message near City Hall.

"We are really just scratching the surface," said Mayor Adrian Fine, who made the motion to pursue the various efforts. "It's unfortunate that we are dealing with it after tragedies, but it's nonetheless supremely important so I think we have to continue asking these questions."

Comments

Annette
College Terrace
on Jun 16, 2020 at 10:26 am
Annette, College Terrace
on Jun 16, 2020 at 10:26 am
32 people like this

I think it unfortunate that Mayor Fine missed an opportunity to demonstrate that he thinks this issue is "supremely important". Addressing systemic racism was placed at the very bottom of last night's CC agenda. Councilmember Kou tried to get it moved up so that it could be discussed earlier in the evening, but that did not pass. Instead, after the consent calendar, CC discussed weed abatement, CDBG funding allocation, transportation analysis methodology, and the Cubberley lease before turning their attention to systemic racism. Hopefully next time this issue will be agendized earlier so that maximum public participation can be achieved.


Anon
Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Jun 16, 2020 at 10:42 am
Anon, Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Jun 16, 2020 at 10:42 am
17 people like this

You see the reason right here. All the comments that imply that either the police get to work completely unfettered with no oversight or review (unlike you and me in any job we ever had), or, the alternative is that bad guys can do anything. But, there is a middle way.

People with guns who are empowered to shoot people in some circumstances absolutely do require serious *management* and *oversight*. If we and the police can't agree on that, then, we are wasting our time.

I have two top priorities, highly related.

1) Specially trained -teams- to handle mental health calls.

2) Police not allowed to shoot a suspect unless the subject is a -threat-. Non-compliance, disobeying a lawful order, mouthing off, disrespecting, etc. are not -threats-.


Frustrated parent and friend
Barron Park
on Jun 16, 2020 at 10:59 am
Frustrated parent and friend, Barron Park
on Jun 16, 2020 at 10:59 am
23 people like this

I believe every council member should be required to go through the arrest process. Bonus points if the arresting officer believes you are of low income, black or hispanic or mentally ill.
Council members should also be targeted by police by circling in their patrol cars and doing random "sobriety checks" and see if that's really how they wish their community to be policed. In other words, walk in their shoes.
People who live in lower income areas and/or people who are mentally ill or black are targeted way more than people who live in higher socio-economic areas. I have personally seen officers "troll" areas in the chance they will find someone to arrest, and with that arrest comes life time consequences even if they aren't proven guilty.
I have also heard how many mentally ill people plead to just be taken to the hospital instead of calling 911. For them, police bring up PTSD as they are not treated with respect nor fairly. If a person is silent because they are too paranoid to speak, an officer will react to it as "non-compliance".
Real reform is needed, not a mural saying, "Black Lives Matter". If their lives matter, defund the police. Im tired of the platitudes.


Mary
Professorville
on Jun 16, 2020 at 11:17 am
Mary, Professorville
on Jun 16, 2020 at 11:17 am
13 people like this

From last night's City Council meeting:
One speaker, Robert Vetter, argued that Palo Alto is a town built on systemic racism, which still exists today. He criticized the culture of the police department and urged the City Council to address past practices, like redlining, that have exacerbated community inequalities. I agree with Robert Vetter. The Palo Alto CC & Police Dept. need to be educated if real change is to take place, regardless of words on paper.


Online Name
Embarcadero Oaks/Leland
on Jun 16, 2020 at 11:22 am
Online Name, Embarcadero Oaks/Leland
on Jun 16, 2020 at 11:22 am
17 people like this

Thanks to the posters above. There's a good reason the PA police are under investigation by the FBI Civil Rights Division. And shame on the county DA Rosen for trying to dismiss the case against Benitez by erroneously claiming the statute of limitations has expired when there's still another month to go.


Laruie
Green Acres
on Jun 16, 2020 at 11:30 am
Laruie, Green Acres
on Jun 16, 2020 at 11:30 am
18 people like this

It is a myth stating that our city is close to meeting the 8 required actions. We are not even 1/2 way there. Our city deserves a mayor who is aware of his city and honest.


Barron Parker Too
Barron Park
on Jun 16, 2020 at 11:30 am
Barron Parker Too, Barron Park
on Jun 16, 2020 at 11:30 am
50 people like this

If the city council is actually debating "should the city even have a police department,' as Sheyner claims, then they have lost their minds. Black Lives Matter activists are absolutely serious about eliminating police, but even the mainstream media knows that's insane, that nobody except for criminals and revolutionaries want a society without police, and they're spinning it like this: "oh, BLM really just wants social services to handle some of the things the police are now doing". You believe that and there are a lot of people you should talk to about buying a bridge in Brooklyn.

We are lucky to live in a city with one of the best trained police departments in the country, a department that is so successful in preventing crime and catching criminals that apparently some of our elected city council members think they have the luxury to imagine Palo Alto without police. Shame on them!


HRC Up to the Task?
Community Center
on Jun 16, 2020 at 11:38 am
HRC Up to the Task?, Community Center
on Jun 16, 2020 at 11:38 am
8 people like this

I hope the Human Rights Commission (which has verged on disfunctional in the past), is up for the job. At very least I hope they bring city residents with a variety of perspectives and understanding about how the police department works (like the Chief's Advisory Committee and also folks who have been arrested and mistreated by the city's police officers).


Resident
Downtown North
on Jun 16, 2020 at 11:40 am
Resident, Downtown North
on Jun 16, 2020 at 11:40 am
29 people like this

Liz Kniss is now suggesting we combine police with Fire and EMT? So the folks who arrive have the ability to shoot you, make you unconscious, then provide CPR and do chest compressions and take you to hospital?

How incredibly neatly packaged. The Fire and police should not be combined. Police need oversight. They carry guns. FIremen save lives. It makes sense Fire and EMT are combined services. It doesn't make sense to combine it with Police.

That's the worst idea we've heard from LIz Kniss all year. And she has had plenty of bad ideas and proposals - very few that ever protect the community of residents, seniors, children, youth and families.


Resident
Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Jun 16, 2020 at 11:48 am
Resident, Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Jun 16, 2020 at 11:48 am
11 people like this

From the headline, if that is really being debated then we are as a society in serious trouble.

As for combinations, I would be all for merging emergency services across the county without so many top jobs in every City which I see as duplicity. We don't need a police chief, fire chief, and Mountain View need a police chief and a fire chief, etc. The more administrators we have the more money is being wasted that could go into police and community work.

However, fire and ambulance personnel all being armed doesn't sound like a good idea to me.


Online Name
Embarcadero Oaks/Leland
on Jun 16, 2020 at 11:50 am
Online Name, Embarcadero Oaks/Leland
on Jun 16, 2020 at 11:50 am
17 people like this

"The department is now the subject of an FBI investigation over the incident, according to a report by NBC Bay Area (Police Chief Robert Jonsen and City Attorney Molly Stump declined to confirm the investigation when asked about it on Monday night)."

How utterly absurd to refuse to confirm that there's an investigation! Do they think by refusing to comment, the FBI probe will magically disappear?? Do they think we can't follow the news? Can't they even come up with a clever way to say "no comment"??

With attitudes like that and their obvious contempt for the community. there's no hope of reform. Where's the accountability?


Vecina
Ventura
on Jun 16, 2020 at 12:14 pm
Vecina, Ventura
on Jun 16, 2020 at 12:14 pm
8 people like this

I’d like to hear more about the Sunnyvale model to train public safety personnel to be medics, firefighters and police officers. What are their police violence statistics and crime statistics compared to Palo Alto? Do they have separate personnel that respond to mental health emergencies? We need to adopt proven best practices from other jurisdictions based on performance.


A nice guy
Midtown
on Jun 16, 2020 at 12:28 pm
A nice guy, Midtown
on Jun 16, 2020 at 12:28 pm
17 people like this

People complain that the police isn't trained well enough.

But now you want to make them firefighters and EMTs. Great idea!!!


JR
Palo Verde
on Jun 16, 2020 at 12:45 pm
JR, Palo Verde
on Jun 16, 2020 at 12:45 pm
5 people like this

This is a great opportunity to improve traffic enforcement by assigning that duty to non-police. Traffic enforcement staff can be given the authority to pull over drivers and issue tickets, and they can call in the police in rare circumstances when required.


Brett
Barron Park
on Jun 16, 2020 at 12:58 pm
Brett, Barron Park
on Jun 16, 2020 at 12:58 pm
18 people like this

Neither Filseth nor Kniss nor Fine nor Dubois will demand that the police chief explain why video footage is missing from the encounter with the woman suffering from a brain tumor and was denied medical treatment by the officers. You are delusional if you think police reform will happen.


Yes to police
Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Jun 16, 2020 at 1:03 pm
Yes to police, Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Jun 16, 2020 at 1:03 pm
44 people like this

The City Council should not cut police funding; we need the most officers we can get. We constantly have non-residents visiting our city to commit crimes because they think we are all rich, when in fact, many are housepoor.

As long as people follow the law and follow the police orders, don’t try to run away or fight, they will be fine. These people who got hurt or killed were not complying. I’m tired of everyone blaming the police who are here to protect us. There are bad apples in every profession. No doubt, Floyd’s death was tragic but remember that he was not complying.

To have to warn a person before they shoot is unreasonable. Whose life is more important? The police officer who is protecting the community or the criminal who chooses to harm us?


Tyler
East Palo Alto
on Jun 16, 2020 at 1:06 pm
Tyler, East Palo Alto
on Jun 16, 2020 at 1:06 pm
9 people like this

Www.Corruptpaloaltopolice.weebly.com
Says it all.


Retired PAFD Firefighter
another community
on Jun 16, 2020 at 1:40 pm
Retired PAFD Firefighter , another community
on Jun 16, 2020 at 1:40 pm
9 people like this

First, no way will the city be able to revoke the police officers pension and second, I’m so HAPPY I retired from PAFD years ago! The PA fire and police departments are disasters and will only get worse. My advice to the current fire and police employees, move on to better departments NOW.


Green Gables
Duveneck/St. Francis
on Jun 16, 2020 at 1:54 pm
Green Gables, Duveneck/St. Francis
on Jun 16, 2020 at 1:54 pm
2 people like this

The City of Palo Alto stopped being efficiently run for at least 40 years; before Jack Sutorius was Mayor. I complained to him about the how inefficient Palo Alto was being run then. The combined Police and Fire Department in Sunnyvale seems to be fairly efficiently run, and Sunnyvale is a much larger town than Palo Alto.


Midtown Local
Midtown
on Jun 16, 2020 at 2:14 pm
Midtown Local, Midtown
on Jun 16, 2020 at 2:14 pm
6 people like this

In envisioning a Public Safety Department that includes Police, Fire, and EMT, no mention is made about mental health professionals. It seems like that is what's needed to avoid the escalation that police are prone to.

Combining Police and Fire is a separate issue. I don't really see the point, since the skills are so different. I'm concerned that focusing on that might divert focus from adding the mental health capabilities and getting accountability around the policies we already have and the rest of the 8. Those are the things that will make a big difference.


Albert K Henning
Duveneck/St. Francis
on Jun 16, 2020 at 2:18 pm
Albert K Henning, Duveneck/St. Francis
on Jun 16, 2020 at 2:18 pm
7 people like this

I received the following email today from Brian Welch, Asst DA for Santa Clara County:

"I am writing in response to your email to DA Rosen about the incident involving Wayne Benitez of the Palo Alto Police Department and Mr. Alvarez in February of 2018. The case remains under review, including the applicable statute of limitations. As in any case we review, if we determine there are charges within the applicable statute of limitations that we believe we can prove beyond a reasonable doubt, we will file the appropriate criminal complaint."


Citizen PA
Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Jun 16, 2020 at 3:46 pm
Citizen PA, Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Jun 16, 2020 at 3:46 pm
8 people like this

I don't think we should be using Sunnyvale as a model -- PA Police are better than Sunnyvale's.

I do think fire and police should not be subordinate to planning and development, but rather, things should be the other way around, especially in such a fire-prone state. I'm not sure I agree that we stand to gain anything from integrating, and there are many city administrators I'd consider superfluous before the leaders of these respective departments.


Anon
Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Jun 16, 2020 at 4:17 pm
Anon, Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Jun 16, 2020 at 4:17 pm
6 people like this

Posted by Retired PAFD Firefighter, a resident of another community

>> The PA fire and police departments are disasters and will only get worse.

Care to elaborate?


Vecina
Ventura
on Jun 16, 2020 at 5:43 pm
Vecina, Ventura
on Jun 16, 2020 at 5:43 pm
9 people like this

To "Yes to Police" and your statement: "As long as people follow the law and follow the police orders, don’t try to run away or fight, they will be fine. These people who got hurt or killed were not complying."

UNBELIEVABLE! I dare you to repeat that to the mother of TWELVE year old Tamir Rice's murdered in Cleveland Ohio.


Online Name
Embarcadero Oaks/Leland
on Jun 16, 2020 at 6:24 pm
Online Name, Embarcadero Oaks/Leland
on Jun 16, 2020 at 6:24 pm
10 people like this

Absolutely unbelievable. Tell that to the Minneapolis police who've been paying out $43,000,000 in settlements since 2003 for all those people were were not so fine. Tell that the 75-yr-old guy in Buffalo who may now have brain damage. Or the young woman in Louisville killed in her own bed who was hardly running away because she was sleeping!


Stop Denial
Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Jun 16, 2020 at 10:20 pm
Stop Denial, Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Jun 16, 2020 at 10:20 pm
17 people like this

Neither of the excessive use of force incidents in the last 2 years in Palo Alto involved anyone that ran, resisted or committed crimes. Yet they were brutalized and in one case other officers helped cover up the abuse. Both were low income Latino men.
Stop blaming victims and start holding those perpetrating this violence accountable by firing them.


Yes to Police
Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Jun 17, 2020 at 1:40 am
Yes to Police, Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Jun 17, 2020 at 1:40 am
34 people like this

@ Vecina, 12-year old Tamir Rice was pointing a gun at people which was a toy but looked like a real gun. What if it was indeed real and he shot a passerby? So a passerby's life is less important than a person pointing a gun at people? Who was the parent who bought him that gun that appeared completely real? He was in middle school and he didn't realize that he shouldn't do that?

It's easy to point to a very few cases of accidental shootings but the police do more good than harm and that is not highlighted. It's ignorant to think that an entire profession is bad because of the few accidents.

This anti-law enforcement rhetoric is disgusting. A policeman's life is more important than a felon's life; the felon does not contribute positively to society except to flutter the heart of a mentally ill penpal.


Bill Bucy
Barron Park
on Jun 17, 2020 at 8:52 am
Bill Bucy, Barron Park
on Jun 17, 2020 at 8:52 am
8 people like this

It takes about two minutes of research to find evidence of historic, systemic racism in Palo Alto, including discussion of creating racial ghettoes. Start with this article.

Web Link

And let's not forget that in the 1950s Joseph Eichler was the only developer who would sell to people of color.

And so forth and so on.


Anon
Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Jun 17, 2020 at 9:01 am
Anon, Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Jun 17, 2020 at 9:01 am
9 people like this

Posted by Yes to Police, a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood

>> This anti-law enforcement rhetoric is disgusting. A policeman's life is more important than a felon's life;

In your mind, it is either "rule by policemen" or "rule by felons".

I don't agree with either option. I favor the rule of law myself. That means, in this case, the 4th, 5th, 6th, 7th, and 8th Amendments. -Five- Amendments. I guess "they" really meant it, back then. But, -you- are defending the right of the police to play judge, jury, and executioner. Well, I agree with the Constitution, not you. Rule of law, not, rule by police.


====

Amendment IV

The right of the people to be secure in their persons, houses, papers, and effects, against unreasonable searches and seizures, shall not be violated, and no Warrants shall issue, but upon probable cause, supported by Oath or affirmation, and particularly describing the place to be searched, and the persons or things to be seized.

Amendment V

No person shall be held to answer for a capital, or otherwise infamous crime, unless on a presentment or indictment of a Grand Jury, except in cases arising in the land or naval forces, or in the Militia, when in actual service in time of War or public danger; nor shall any person be subject for the same offence to be twice put in jeopardy of life or limb; nor shall be compelled in any criminal case to be a witness against himself, nor be deprived of life, liberty, or property, without due process of law; nor shall private property be taken for public use, without just compensation.

Amendment VI

In all criminal prosecutions, the accused shall enjoy the right to a speedy and public trial, by an impartial jury of the State and district wherein the crime shall have been committed, which district shall have been previously ascertained by law, and to be informed of the nature and cause of the accusation; to be confronted with the witnesses against him; to have compulsory process for obtaining witnesses in his favor, and to have the Assistance of Counsel for his defence.

Amendment VII

In Suits at common law, where the value in controversy shall exceed twenty dollars, the right of trial by jury shall be preserved, and no fact tried by a jury, shall be otherwise re-examined in any Court of the United States, than according to the rules of the common law.

Amendment VIII

Excessive bail shall not be required, nor excessive fines imposed, nor cruel and unusual punishments inflicted.


Senor Blogger
Palo Verde
on Jun 17, 2020 at 9:29 am
Senor Blogger, Palo Verde
on Jun 17, 2020 at 9:29 am
14 people like this

In a City that has taken 10 years to decide a rail crossing, I doubt this item will be decided before the 23rd century.


Family Friendly
Old Palo Alto
on Jun 17, 2020 at 10:56 am
Family Friendly, Old Palo Alto
on Jun 17, 2020 at 10:56 am
36 people like this

I doubt that all the people who are so fashionably beating up on the police have ever done a ride along with an officer, had dinner with an officer, had an officer in their family... or have any idea what the crime and violent resistance that the police deal with day in and day out.

So easy to sit at home in a nice neighborhood, sipping white wine, and preach about how others should be dealing with real crime in the real world.


Online Name
Embarcadero Oaks/Leland
on Jun 17, 2020 at 11:28 am
Online Name, Embarcadero Oaks/Leland
on Jun 17, 2020 at 11:28 am
10 people like this

Re ridealongs, several decades ago I had the unfortunate experience of dealing with a young guy doing a ride-along when I was picked up for DWI.

I wasn't drunk. I hadn't had a single drink that day. My blood test agreed.

The ride-along giggled as he rifled through my purse when he had NO authority to do so. The cop escalated his rudeness to amuse the young ride-along, especially when I told them I needed to put up the convertible top because I had a week's worth of dry cleaning in the back seat I didn't want stolen and which which they could clearly see.

If that's how the PA cops treat respectable resident taxpayers in business suits a few blocks from home, imagine how they treat everyone else. I STILL get furious thinking about it.


Family Friendly
Old Palo Alto
on Jun 17, 2020 at 12:02 pm
Family Friendly, Old Palo Alto
on Jun 17, 2020 at 12:02 pm
25 people like this

So you want to punish the police for rudely giggling at one citizen twenty years ago by allowing thousands of more citizens to be murdered or raped every year in the inner city and hundreds of more homes and stores to be robbed in Palo Alto?

You'll succeed in punishing everyone *but* the police officer who so offended your pride.

Personally, I think we should abolish the post office, because the wait times are much too long and make me late for my manicures. Of course, then the wait times will be infinite, but rich people like you and me will just use fedex anyway -- just as we'll use private security once we succeed in abolishing or neutering the police departments. Qu'ils mangent de la brioche.


Online Name
Embarcadero Oaks/Leland
on Jun 17, 2020 at 12:22 pm
Online Name, Embarcadero Oaks/Leland
on Jun 17, 2020 at 12:22 pm
5 people like this

@Family friendly, it's not an isolated example and the cop was clearly communicating to the ridealong, "See. If you become a cop, this is the kind of fun you can have when you can target anyone you want."

4 years ago my white lawyer friend who was born and raised here moved to LA BECAUSE her black middle-aged lawyer husband was constantly getting stopped by the cops -- often the SAME cope -- whenever a black male was suspected of a crime downtown. Didn't matter that he was a middle-aged guy in a suit carrying a briefcase walking home from the train and they were looking for a young man. They moved BECAUSE they didn't want their 2 biracial sons to experience the same harassment.

Even more recently Zach Perron, former police spokesman, called a suspect the N-word and Benitez was videotaped using gay slurs while beating that guy.

There's a reason the FBI Civil Rights division's investigating Palo Alto.


Iluminato
another community
on Jun 17, 2020 at 12:24 pm
Iluminato, another community
on Jun 17, 2020 at 12:24 pm
25 people like this

The Palo Alto Police Department did not kill George Floyd. I don't see why they have to be atoning for it.


Family Friendly
Old Palo Alto
on Jun 17, 2020 at 12:32 pm
Family Friendly, Old Palo Alto
on Jun 17, 2020 at 12:32 pm
28 people like this

You really think the hundreds of thousands of US law enforcement professionals are questioning, detaining, and sometimes arresting people because it's fun? This is very dangerous, unpleasant, and generally unrewarding work.

I've been pulled over on the road or questioned on the street by the police dozens of times in my many years. A number of times, I've seen real caution and fear in their body language and tone, because hundreds are killed every year -- a lot more than the number they kill in encounters. Once, I had a gun pulled on me because I was rifling through my glove compartment rather than doing what I should have and keeping my hands on the wheel awaiting instructions.

Some have been charming, and some have been grumpy or rude, but in every instance I came away thinking "man, I'm sure glad I don't have that job."


Hmmm
Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Jun 17, 2020 at 5:49 pm
Hmmm, Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Jun 17, 2020 at 5:49 pm
14 people like this

Wow! The FBI has the manpower and time to investigate the PA police Dept..., yet we just had weeks of looting and an officer shot and killed in Oakland. FBI priorities?


Gus L.
Barron Park
on Jun 17, 2020 at 6:47 pm
Gus L., Barron Park
on Jun 17, 2020 at 6:47 pm
20 people like this

Knee Jerk reaction to Defund the Police,
Stop it, Get over it, we have a Great Police Dept.


Anonymous
Duveneck/St. Francis
on Jun 17, 2020 at 10:17 pm
Anonymous, Duveneck/St. Francis
on Jun 17, 2020 at 10:17 pm
3 people like this

A bit of common sense....we need police/public safety (I think the latter is what they were called in Sunnyvale back when I lived there...)
Calling to defund really means disband, and it is not realistic.
We live in the real world and must be realistic.
Law and order are part of a functioning society. Yes, this applies to police, too.
Each case, each complaint must be examined on individual merits. Broad brush denigration is just as bad as being stereotypical of any identified group! I realize it’s cool to claim all police are bad (laughably ridiculous), I’m sorry looking cool on social media is in fashion over common sense, logic and facts.
Requiring prompt investigation and reprimands or prosecution of police officers, as appropriate according to the law, must be how the above department is operated. Of course!
Stop bad officers from moving locations/jobs. Of course! We deserve professionals with solid training.
Drug addicts pose public safety, public health threats - see: San Francisco, which tolerates those who have damaged brains, physical health damage, sometimes criminal lives - ad but try dealing with these! Or do you orefer a mass of humanity taking over everywhere like in SF?
Public health and safety takes priority over their poor choices. Mental health challenges myst be diagnosed and treatment must be accepted: this is the onky way firward now.
However, seriously, there ARE terrifying criminals out there of all description. Pulling over a traffuc stop as someone mentioned above, may not be handled as theorized by a minor traffic unit...driver may be dangerous, have warrants out for their arrest.
I had some news media experience, through that I had close up contact with suspects and convicts serving time, it was challenging. If you haven’t seen how repeat criminals act, you don’t realize the risks and their cunning, like grabbing weapons, rurning and tasing.
Tamir Rice was a sad tragedy, he made a poor choice and paid with it with his life. I’m sorry adults gave him a lookalike weapon and someone called it in and police responded. He didn’t obey police commands, if I recall correctly.


CrescentParkAnon.
Crescent Park
on Jun 17, 2020 at 11:32 pm
CrescentParkAnon., Crescent Park
on Jun 17, 2020 at 11:32 pm
4 people like this

Interesting discussion this week on Bill Maher with Larry Wilmore and Radley Balko about "Defund The Police", which seems no one really likes that phrase.

Web Link

One point is how they use traffic tickets to fund the police. They give someone a ticket for rolling a stop sign and how people forget to show up or don't show up and suddenly they owe $500 and have a permanent misdemeanor or felony on their record for life.

Of the even worse Civil Forfeiture, Civil forfeiture in the United States, also called civil asset forfeiture or civil judicial forfeiture,[1] is a process in which law enforcement officers take assets from persons suspected of involvement with crime or illegal activity without necessarily charging the owners with wrongdoing.

The police in some places in a lot of ways is like organized attacks on certain populations. There is a lot to criticize about the system and we would never hear about it or be discussing it if it were not for demonstrations or riots. Why do people have to riot to get fair redress of grievances?


CrescentParkAnon.
Crescent Park
on Jun 18, 2020 at 9:37 am
CrescentParkAnon., Crescent Park
on Jun 18, 2020 at 9:37 am
6 people like this

Tamir Rice did not make a bad judgement, he was a kid. You don't execute a kid, and if you remember or saw the video the police shot him before their car was even at a stop.

On November 22, 2014, Tamir Rice, a 12-year old African-American boy, was killed in Cleveland, Ohio by Timothy Loehmann, a 26-year-old police officer. Rice was carrying a replica toy Airsoft gun; Loehmann shot him almost immediately after arriving on the scene.

The system in the US seems to be to find some person, people or group to vilify and keep pressuring and pushing them until they lose it, at which point they get blamed - it's a pattern that is used to buttress an exploitative abusive system.


CrescentParkAnon.
Crescent Park
on Jun 18, 2020 at 9:48 am
CrescentParkAnon., Crescent Park
on Jun 18, 2020 at 9:48 am
2 people like this

This subject, the cross-section of systemic racism and police power is very complicated to structure in a comprehensive way to be able to criticize constructively - PLUS, most mainstream or establishment voices either don't care or want to buttress the status quo.

There are a lot of glib specious arguments fronted by celebrities and well-known people now that seem to be motivated to put this issue to bed by saying it's too politically correct, or there is not that much racism, or discounting all African American points of view by pointing and shaming them for the looters, or other black on black crime.

We should persist in collecting data, objective data as well as people's subjective feelings - and not dismiss or discount either way or looking at things, and find a way to balance or model this situation to make improvement easier.

It seems like those people who are saying we don't need to improve actually are acting like we are already too progress and want to go back in time.

--

Where did the slogan "Defund The Police" come from?

Where there other competing ideas for slogans, and if so - who decided to go with "Defund The Police"

I'd give the phrase "Defund The Police" about a C- in terms of branding and explaining what it is about. So, why are Democrats or these progressive groups so amazingly bad at marketing, branding, and instead of reaching the people that need to be reached - instead repelling them with confusing images and phrases?


Anon
Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Jun 18, 2020 at 10:32 am
Anon, Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Jun 18, 2020 at 10:32 am
3 people like this

Posted by Family Friendly,a resident of Old Palo Alto

>> You really think the hundreds of thousands of US law enforcement professionals are questioning, detaining, and sometimes arresting people because it's fun? This is very dangerous, unpleasant, and generally unrewarding work.

Lots of people have unpleasant, (more) dangerous work. (See list of dangerous occupations that I have posted several times.) People who become police should be aware by now that their work is in the public eye, always under scrutiny, and that they have to make the right split second decisions and keep their cool. If they can't take the pressure, they should find another line of work. BTW, police around here are paid very well.

But, unlike what you assert, a real problem is that -some- police do find it "fun". e.g. Web Link We have to have oversight (e.g. IG, public board, etc.), and strict -management-, and, make sure that officers who have 18 complaints in their records get fired, not hired.

Posted by Hmmm, a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood

>> Wow! The FBI has the manpower and time to investigate the PA police Dept..., yet we just had weeks of looting and an officer shot and killed in Oakland. FBI priorities?

I guess you missed the news that active duty Air Force Staff Sgt. Steven Carrillo was captured during a shoot-out and has been charged with murders of Federal Protective Service officer Dave Underwood and Santa Cruz County Sheriff’s Sgt. Damon Gutzwiller. Web Link

Carrillo (and accomplice Robert Alvin Justus Jr.) were participants in a right-wing group. Read about it in anywhere.


Annon
Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Jun 18, 2020 at 11:35 am
Annon, Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Jun 18, 2020 at 11:35 am
3 people like this

“Right Wing Group” please define? And based on your political logic are “Antifa” and Chaz” and “KKK “left wing groups? The left did have a few Senators as members... Sen Byrd?


Anon
Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Jun 18, 2020 at 11:45 am
Anon, Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Jun 18, 2020 at 11:45 am
2 people like this

Talk to Channel Five about it:

>> An armored vest also discovered in a vehicle belonging to Carrillo contained a distinct patch and slogans scrolled in what is believed to be Carrillo’s blood on a vehicle carjacked during the Santa Cruz ambush linked the suspected gunman to the Boogaloo Movement — a right-wing extremist group that harbors a mistrust of law enforcement and government, and anticipates a second American Civil War, referred to as the “boogaloo.” Web Link

But, yes, the beliefs expressed by "Boogaloo" associates match perfectly with the usual definition of "right-wing". Web Link

Note that "right wing" is not necessarily the same thing as "conservative". Someone could write a book about it.


Bzerkley
Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Jun 18, 2020 at 11:55 am
Bzerkley, Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Jun 18, 2020 at 11:55 am
6 people like this

Sounds like a left wing group to me..Mistrust of law enforcement usually coincides with the left agenda...


Anon
Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Jun 18, 2020 at 1:21 pm
Anon, Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Jun 18, 2020 at 1:21 pm
2 people like this

Posted by Bzerkley, a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood

>> Sounds like a left wing group to me..Mistrust of law enforcement usually coincides with the left agenda...

Right-wing and left-wing extremism have some elements in common. Wikipedia: Web Link

From the description in the papers, these groups are definitely "far-right" in beliefs.


Not
Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Jun 18, 2020 at 1:42 pm
Not, Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Jun 18, 2020 at 1:42 pm
9 people like this

Right wing beliefs don’t match here. Sorry you/ media can’t blame them here. Your description of “mistrust of law enforcement” is hallmark in the left wing groups ...especially in left wing cities on the west coast that the left wing groups have occupied....Seattle, and instigating and agitating in Portland, Berkeley, and the distrust of law enforcement in the “left” run Oakland where the law enforcement officer was shot.


Bailsman
Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Jun 18, 2020 at 1:48 pm
Bailsman, Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Jun 18, 2020 at 1:48 pm
12 people like this

Funny how it’s the far left and Biden balling out all the violent protesters by posting their bail. Cops put them in, the left bails them out.


Online Name
Embarcadero Oaks/Leland
on Jun 18, 2020 at 1:54 pm
Online Name, Embarcadero Oaks/Leland
on Jun 18, 2020 at 1:54 pm
2 people like this

How many news stories have covered the Poor Boys, the Boogaloo Boys including that jerk who shot 2 cops and other RIGHT-WING provocateurs who are actually inciting and creating the violence? How many pictures of white arsonists do you need to see?

Too bad we live in information silos where facts don't matter. And Trump sats they're "very nice people"


Online
Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Jun 18, 2020 at 2:07 pm
Online, Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Jun 18, 2020 at 2:07 pm
13 people like this

Please ask CHAZ if they identify “right wing” or “left” Ask Democrat Gov Northam if he was right or left wing while wearing blackface. The ask the admitted arsonist PGE if they donated to the LEFT politicians or right....oh wait the answer is online:)


Truthy
Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Jun 18, 2020 at 2:15 pm
Truthy, Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Jun 18, 2020 at 2:15 pm
1 person likes this

“Right wing”activists are concerned with pro life and removing late term abortion, and trying to get their constitutional right to go to church back - after the COVID Lockdown. That’s a proper definition based on true online interviews done by non biased media groups.


Anon
Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Jun 18, 2020 at 2:42 pm
Anon, Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Jun 18, 2020 at 2:42 pm
11 people like this

@Truthy -- "your information is out of date".

Web Link

Speaking for myself, I'm a liberal. As in "individual freedom". Web Link. I don't agree with violent extremists ("left" or "right").


Ronster
Adobe-Meadow
on Jun 19, 2020 at 1:33 pm
Ronster, Adobe-Meadow
on Jun 19, 2020 at 1:33 pm
7 people like this

Silly PC shizzle. Those of us who got out every day biking during Covid noticed the lack of cars/police and the increase in extreme speeds and running stop signs. This is all spring loaded political blowback. The problem is low minority performance in school and test scores. The response should be to increase those standards and get the low performers to pass. This is correlated with parenting practices (early intervention is a PC proxy for replacing parenting practices).

Web Link


Ryan Adams
Crescent Park
on Jun 19, 2020 at 9:57 pm
Ryan Adams, Crescent Park
on Jun 19, 2020 at 9:57 pm
6 people like this

When someone is breaking into my house in the middle of the night, I prefer to call a social worker. I believe that they will be able to defuse the situation.


911 victim
Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Jun 20, 2020 at 7:58 pm
911 victim, Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Jun 20, 2020 at 7:58 pm
Like this comment

It is very difficult to imagine a worse idea than having every paramedic also be an armed police officer. Now instead of the police simply preventing the paramedics from treating the sick people due to improper "staging", the paramedics will simply show up armed and refuse to help you, ask you a bunch of inappropriate questions and search your home without permission.

That is the equivalent of putting the fox in charge of the henhouse because he keeps breaking the door down and we are tired of putting up a new door.

The one thing we haven't yet tried is accountability for police abuses. Let's try that.




DTNResident
Downtown North
on Jun 21, 2020 at 6:00 pm
DTNResident, Downtown North
on Jun 21, 2020 at 6:00 pm
11 people like this

That "12 year old boy" weighed 195 lbs and had a replica assault rifle that he was running up to people at a park and pointing in their faces. People were terrified and the police got multiple calls.

The cops saw him doing it and risked their lives, thinking he was a much older person, by driving through the park right up to what looked like an 18 year old with a gun trying to rob people. He wasn't holding the gun when they got there, they told him to stop and he grabbed the gun and they shot him after witnessing his insanely aggressive behavior and 195 lb size.

There was surveillance video all over the Internet of him running up to people and shoving the gun in their faces, and all of it was scrubbed from view and the news outlets instead posted a photo of him when he was about 7.

So cut the 12 year old crap. Those cops are heroes. Let's put the blame where it belongs: his mom had been charged with aggravated assault and robbery and dad was in prison for attacking mom with a knife when he was unsupervised at the park with an airsoft gun. Tragic, yes. The cops' fault? No. Oh, and what was mom's sentence for the robbery? Freed. Immediately. 6 month's suspended sentence. No consequences whatsoever for something I'd still be in prison for, "systemic racism" and all.

I saw that original now scrubbed video and I would have shot him myself. You go putting your lives in danger by driving straight up to a gunman pointing a gun in people's faces and let a bunch of suburban housewives whose closest brush with danger was burning a batch of cookies second guess you.


CrescentParkAnon.
Crescent Park
on Jun 21, 2020 at 8:29 pm
CrescentParkAnon., Crescent Park
on Jun 21, 2020 at 8:29 pm
Like this comment

DTNResident, you have made some reasonable points in some of your
comments here, and I agree with them, but your reframing of the shooting
of the boy in the park is dishonest.

I saw that video many times, and those police drive up on that kid so
fast any action he took was not consciously thinking or calculated, and
you know if they had held back and over their loudspeaker addressed
the boy while calling for backup that case would have had a completely
different outcome.

You undercut the valid points you express when you go out on a limb
to distort a situation like that.

There are so many of these cases, and while I might agree that all do
not show the same thing, enough of them do to make a lot of reasonable
people angry and question the police over a long time enough to demand
change. You just need to stop dismissing people's concerns or denying
what they see.

Because what for? Why would want to keep things the way they are
and not look for ways to improve policing? Why would you use sarcasm
and insults in the argument and not just stick with some of the facts
you have brought up?

> housewives whose closest brush with danger was burning a batch of cookies second guess you.

This kind of insulting talk doesn't do you any good either.


Old PA Resident
Old Palo Alto
on Jun 25, 2020 at 4:42 pm
Old PA Resident, Old Palo Alto
on Jun 25, 2020 at 4:42 pm
2 people like this

I've had nothing but respectful encounters with the police (I'm white). But years ago I hired an African-American teenager to coach my son in basketball. One day he was late, told me he'd been pulled over (he was riding a bike in a hoodie) by the police. He told me it had happened to him so many times he could not even count. My sons have never been stopped once. Let's address our racism head on - rather than trying to pretend we are doing something by combining departments.


AnnetteG
Midtown
on Jun 26, 2020 at 8:06 am
AnnetteG, Midtown
on Jun 26, 2020 at 8:06 am
Like this comment

every organization can make improvements. PAPD included.
I recommend that the council task the PAPD Chief's advisory group to also review this issue and make recommendations. Advisory group members have had extensive Training in police matters and are the most appropriate body to make informed recommendations than the HRC,


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