Palo Alto's Top Cop Encourages Racial Profiling

Points to recent spike in crime, vague descriptions, as reason for questions

Palo Alto's police chief has instructed officers to question African Americans in the city following a spate of recent street robberies.

Chief Lynne Johnson spoke to residents about the crime surge Thursday at City Hall. She said she issued the instructions because several suspects in the robberies are African American and police lack detailed descriptions.

Johnson says she does not want to create an environment of fear for "people of color." But, she said, authorities have to do their "due diligence" in catching the suspects.

She told defense attorney Aram James that people who are stopped have the right not to talk to police, according to ABC7-TV.

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."

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