During a telephone town hall meeting Thursday evening to discuss policing in Menlo Park, Housing Commissioner Karen Grove said publicly that she'd heard Menlo Park police Chief Dave Bertini use a racial slur during an ethics training she had attended.
She described the full incident to The Almanac, the sister publication of Palo Alto Online.
During an ethics training Bertini led for Menlo Park commissioners last fall, she said Bertini referred to Raymond "Shrimp Boy" Chow, a felon with ties to a San Francisco Chinatown street gang and organized crime syndicate, as "having a name that sounds like something on a Chinese menu."
Grove said she brought up concerns about the remark during the training, and Bertini had told to her that his comments were not racially based but related to the man's nickname "Shrimp Boy."
She later discussed it with City Manager Starla Jerome Robinson, and then requested a meeting with Bertini to discuss it. During the meeting with Bertini, she said Bertini insisted that the remark was not a racial slur.
In a Sept. 3, 2019, email to Bertini after their meeting that Grove shared with The Almanac, she said she disagreed and said she still believed the remark to be racially disparaging.
She said that she was not the only commissioner to have felt uncomfortable with Bertini's language and asked Bertini to remove that piece from his training. In addition, she sent an email to Jerome Robinson and then-Mayor Ray Mueller reporting the outcome of the meeting, saying, "We were unable to reach a place of common understanding."
She also urged Bertini, Mueller and Jerome Robinson to consider attending a conference by the "Government Alliance on Racial Equity" later that month.
Later that day, she thanked Jerome Robinson and Mueller for following up on the matter.
Bertini could not be immediately reached for comment.