Palo Alto Top Cop Offers Second Apology for Racial Remarks

"The apology was a good start, but now she needs to follow that up with action."

Palo Alto police Chief Lynne Johnson offered another apology in Tuesday's City Council meeting to the community for comments made last week  that were interpreted by some as directing her staff to conduct racial profiling.

Mayor Larry Klein said that her initial remarks made Thursday were "unacceptable, unconstitutional, and un-American," adding that her first  apology made the next day was "ineffective."

Her formal apology to the community at the City Council meeting  was a better effort, Klein said.

"Last night she made an effective and heartfelt apology for her remarks. She recognized that she was wrong and that she caused a lot of  difficulties," Klein said. "She's trying to do as much as she can to make amends for that. The apology was a good start, but now she needs to follow  that up with action."

While speaking at a community meeting Thursday regarding a spate of robberies in Palo Alto in which suspects have been described as African American, Johnson asked officers for "consensual contact" with black men found in the locations where there have been robberies.

During the meeting in question, Johnson cited the recent rise in crime as a reason for officers to stop people based on vague descriptions, "The one suspect around the California Avenue train station was wearing a doo-rag." Johnson said. "If my officers see an African-American who has a doo-rag on his head, absolutely the officers will be stopping and asking who that person is."

Her words have been described by some as racial profiling, and a few people who attended Monday's City Council meeting called for her resignation.

Klein said there were about 150 people at Monday's meeting. About 50 of them were Stanford students who spoke out against Johnson's comments.

According to the city charter Klein and City Council members  cannot call for her resignation, only the city manager can do that.

Johnson announced that she is planning more community meetings to work to repair the damage done by her misstatements, said police spokesman Dan Ryan.

Ryan said she also plans to have community meetings, smaller workshops, and one-on-one meetings with members of the community, church groups, and ministers of black churches in the region to brainstorm on how to  improve race relations in the city.

An independent police audit will be conducted to review the city's  racial profiling policies, Klein said.

Copyright BAYCN - Bay City News
Contact Us