Town Square

Judge set to toss lawsuit from police officers over Black Lives Matter mural

Original post made on Mar 2, 2022

A Santa Clara County Superior Court judge is preparing to toss a lawsuit from six Palo Alto police officers over a Black Lives Matter mural that the city commissioned in 2020 and that the officers claimed contained offensive imagery.

Read the full story here Web Link posted Wednesday, March 2, 2022, 7:44 PM


Posted by felix
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Mar 2, 2022 at 10:52 pm

felix is a registered user.

Glad to hear it.
Justice will be served.

Posted by California Dreamin'
a resident of Southgate
on Mar 3, 2022 at 8:11 am

California Dreamin' is a registered user.

This is a petty lawsuit that should never have been filed in the first place.

Posted by vmshadle
a resident of Meadow Park
on Mar 3, 2022 at 10:38 am

vmshadle is a registered user.

California Dreamin' is spot-on. First Amendment, anyone? If I filed suit every time my feelings were hurt by someone, I would be in debtors' prison by now!

Posted by peppered
a resident of Community Center
on Mar 3, 2022 at 10:57 am

peppered is a registered user.

[Post removed.]

Posted by Online Name
a resident of Embarcadero Oaks/Leland
on Mar 3, 2022 at 12:20 pm

Online Name is a registered user.

So glad this finally happened.

User note: One-word comments like "Finally" are unacceptable and get rejected.

Posted by rita vrhel
a resident of Crescent Park
on Mar 3, 2022 at 12:28 pm

rita vrhel is a registered user.

As a white resident, I saw the mural as an "artistic expression" of the painters. Not everyone agrees with every "artistic expression" or even with what constitutes "art". But I do defend your right to express.

If, per the officers' attorney, African-Americans were (for once) favored over non- African American city employees, including non-African-American police officers; i say FINALLY. LONG TIME COMING!!!!!

But please note the "alleged favoritism" was only for several months. Now unfortunately, back to "normal".

The mural is gone; the killing of Black people in America continues.

Seems like the officers missed a great opportunity for serious introspection.

WOW! If I feel discriminated against by a colorful mural, how would it feel to have negative images of yourself, especially as a young Black man, projected against you your entire life? Judged FOREVER by the color of your skin; not by who you are?

A great learning opportunity .....missed.

Thank you Judge Manoukian. Now could you please award legal fees to the City.

Posted by anon1234
a resident of College Terrace
on Mar 4, 2022 at 6:27 pm

anon1234 is a registered user.

Right on Rita!

Posted by Jennifer
a resident of another community
on Mar 5, 2022 at 7:17 am

Jennifer is a registered user.

I can't help but wonder if the officers expected to prevail. I think they were sending a message. Maybe they're sick of people trying to control the police. Palo Altans are only hurting themselves when they refuse to let the police do their job. The police are the main political target for the left, far left. It gets old. A long time ago.

Posted by Bystander
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Mar 5, 2022 at 7:57 am

Bystander is a registered user.

I still say that the roadway is not the place for art. Roads are for traffic and should be left untouched so that stripes and other road instructions can be seen easily and without the hindrance of distraction. I doubt if autonomous vehicles can appreciate the message when they can't observe the important information expected in stripes and other essential road details.

Posted by Kevin
a resident of Greendell/Walnut Grove
on Mar 6, 2022 at 4:46 pm

Kevin is a registered user.

"Maybe they're sick of people trying to control the police. "

The police are supposed to be controlled, they're not a law unto themselves where they can do whatever they want. If police officers can't do their job without abusing the population, they should find a different job.

Posted by Jennifer
a resident of another community
on Mar 6, 2022 at 8:50 pm

Jennifer is a registered user.

They're supposed to be held accountable, not controlled by a certain political leaning who want to defund the police, etc. There's a difference. If citizens can't be law abiding that's their fault. Not the police.

Posted by vmshadle
a resident of Meadow Park
on Mar 8, 2022 at 1:19 pm

vmshadle is a registered user.

Jennifer, Officer Andrew Hall was convicted of murdering an unarmed mentally ill man in Danville last autumn, two and a half years after shooting to death another homeless, mentally ill man.

Web Link

In 2015, a mentally ill man wielding a table knife was shot and killed by police here in Palo Alto.

Web Link

You have been heeding too much right-wing propaganda. We liberals actually don't want to defund the police. We want to diversify police hiring to include psychiatric experts and social workers to prevent the needless killing of the mentally ill by police.

Mental illness is not only not a crime but also no excuse for imposing the death penalty as the result of a call to police.

Posted by Rev.AmyZuckerMorgenstern
a resident of Fairmeadow
on Mar 8, 2022 at 3:47 pm

Rev.AmyZuckerMorgenstern is a registered user.

I am very glad to hear it. The case was specious from day one.

Their first charge, that the New Black Panther Party logo was incorporated into one letter, did not hold up to examination. (Go look up the logo and see if you can find it on the mural. I tried. It wasn't there.) Their second, that the mural made a cop-killer a hero, holds little water for anyone who knows much about the case against Assata Shakur. She *was* convicted of killing a police officer, but the preponderance of medical evidence supported her version of the incident.

As a supporter of the movement for black lives, I want ALL citizens, including police officers, to respect the rule of law and to be held accountable when they violate it. I thought that that hope was beautifully expressed by the artists who created this mural. I don't need the police to agree with my take on all political questions, but I do worry about the impartiality of officers who look at this affirmation of the beauty and dignity of black lives and see a "hostile work environment."

Posted by scott
a resident of Fairmeadow
on Mar 8, 2022 at 4:17 pm

scott is a registered user.

If you ignored testimony and only looked at material evidence in the Assata Shakur case, you would reach the conclusion that she was shot with her hands up without having fired a weapon. On the basis of officer testimony, she was convicted of killing a police officer. If she were on trial today, after the advent of ubiquitous cell phone video has pierced our illusions about the prevalence of police misconduct, she doubtlessly would have been acquitted.

I understand why PAPD, which has faced several brutality and abuse cases in the last several years, were triggered by her image --but in filing this suit, they were telling on themselves.

Posted by John
a resident of Adobe-Meadow
on Mar 9, 2022 at 4:32 am

John is a registered user.

@vmshadle The next time a suspect is charging, screaming, at our officers in the dark with a knife raised. I hope the officers keep a cool head, call a time out and look for the sign around the individual’s neck indicating they are mentally ill and their diagnosis. Baring that, perhaps they could sit in the street and fully evaluate prior to getting a butter knife in the neck.

We wonder why our pd is gutted and can’t even field a traffic team. I suspect even more will move on to saner (no pun) cities.

Posted by Pam T
a resident of Charleston Gardens
on Mar 9, 2022 at 6:30 pm

Pam T is a registered user.

If I were a Palo Alto Police Officer, I would feel disrespected by the mural and also some of the comments here. I believe in free speech, in artistic expression and do not support censorship of any kind. However, where street art is concerned, common sense should inform us as to where that art should be appropriately placed. We would not support frightening images, violent images etc for public areas. The PAPD has every right to bring this forward for discussion, especially since the reality here is that policemen and policewomen lose their lives every single day in this country, and their position is an extremely vulnerable one. If 6 people felt 2 of these images were inflammatory, they have every right to speak up.

Posted by vmshadle
a resident of Meadow Park
on Mar 10, 2022 at 11:11 am

vmshadle is a registered user.

Sorry, John, but our police and dispatchers have shown themselves to be woefully undertrained to spot illness, including seizure symptoms.

Web Link

Furthermore, sarcasm about reading imaginary signs around the mentally ill does NOT excuse the murders that result. The victims and their families deserve considerably more respect and sympathy than you offer.

Posted by John
a resident of Adobe-Meadow
on Mar 10, 2022 at 5:20 pm

John is a registered user.

vmshadle, so more training and pay for the officers, in order to make them capable of infallible streetside diagnoses, something even trained physicians cannot reliably do? You really do live in a fantasy world.

Posted by vmshadle
a resident of Meadow Park
on Mar 11, 2022 at 10:48 am

vmshadle is a registered user.

John, I have worked in health care for 35 years. I know what I am talking about. Do you? Why so snide?