Saturday, March 19, 2005

Shame on You

After reading Friday's editorial dealing with Palo Alto police chief Lynne Johnson the only conclusion rational readers could come to is that the editorial writer is irresponsible or crazy.

The editorial claims that Chief Johnson has put her job on the line because she has backed the findings of an internal investigation of a case involving Palo Alto resident Albert Hopkins, who, according to reports, refused a request to show identification to police officers. Hopkins claimed he had the right not to produce identification because he had not broken any laws. (Try that one where you live.) Subsequently, Hopkins was injured at the hands of the officers. Hopkins has also leveled unsubstantiated charges of racism. Against the findings of an internal investigation the editorial writer accepts at face value Mr. Hopkins' version of events. On these claims the paper expects Chief Johnson to be staking her future. Nowhere does the editorial say where the paper gets the authority to make such a claim.

In order to bolster their opinion that the chief is wrong to speak in support her officers, the paper lists four recent cases of police activity on the Peninsula; none involve the Palo Alto police department and none involve the officers in the Hopkins case. The paper fails to say how these other cases apply to Palo Alto or chief Johnson. Moreover, the paper is willing to use cases still under investigation or those in which officers were cleared in order to cast the police department in a bad light--which speaks volumes about their contempt for police officers.


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