Palo Alto Police Chief Throws in Towel

Palo Alto Police Chief Lynne Johnson steps down

She's been fighting a firestorm of criticism since it came out she told her officers to question any African-Americans in her city. Today Palo Alto Police Chief Lynne Johnson announced she is retiring.

Johnson had been responding to a series of robberies in her city when she announced her investigation tactics, which many took to be obvious racial profiling. She also told her officers to be on the lookout for anyone in a do-rag, because one of the accused robbers wore one.

She has since apologized for the comments, which prompted rallies and even a declaration from the city council they don't condone profiling.

Johnson served with the department for 34 years and has been Chief for the past 5 years.

In an interview with NBC Bay Area's Vicky Nguyen Chief Johnson said "It does sadden me that I'm going out on this note." 

She added "I've worked to ensure that everyone is treated equally with dignity and respect and I've tried to instill that in the organization in Palo Alto while I've been chief."

Comminity organizers like Sharifa Wilson of the African American Leadership Summit said it was time for Johnson to go. She told Nguyen "The practice of racial profiling has occurred and continues to occur and that's what we want to stop."

Johnson will retire in February 2009.

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