The following letter was emailed to the Palo Alto City Council with copies to the Palo Alto City Attorney Gary Baum and to Palo Alto's Chief of Police Dennis Burns on July 13, 2010. The letter was sent by Natalie Fisher who is a Palo Alto resident.
These are my comments after watching, on channel 27, Sunday's program, "Talking with Henrietta". This program will be repeated several times. Palo Alto police chief Dennis Burns and two members of the police advisory committee were being interviewed by Henrietta Burroughs.
Two points really caught my attention. Henrietta was stopped recently by Palo Alto police when she drove from East Palo Alto to Palo Alto. She said that the officer first looked into her back seat and then explained that he stopped her because her DMV sticker was not easily readable and she should get a new one. Upon arriving home, she and others examined the sticker and saw nothing wrong.
The second point was that it was mentioned that two patrol cars were parked at the main post office, one facing towards EPA and one facing towards PA. Burns had no explanation for this and implied he didn't know about it.
It seems nothing has changed since Lynne Johnson was chief. There still are
patrol cars parked and watching people driving from EPA to PA, just as there were then.
Stopping African-Americans from EPA on pretext (pretense) is still happening, as Henrietta's experience shows.
John Abraham, who analyzed the demographic data (which is no more) showed this very thing: African-Americans being stopped disproportionately for equipment problems and not cited. Now that the data is no longer being collected, there will be no evidence of this. The statistics that show the disparity, racial profiling, will no longer exist.
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