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Massive march for change calls attention to racism in Midpeninsula

Original post made on Jun 8, 2020

On Saturday, thousands flocked to Palo Alto City Hall, where they grabbed onto the momentum of what's now a global movement of protests in order to call out harmful police policies and local racism.

Read the full story here Web Link posted Monday, June 8, 2020, 2:36 PM

Comments (4)

Posted by Gary
a resident of Sylvan Park
on Jun 8, 2020 at 4:53 pm

Good to see protesters now have some proposals - at least as to some police practices. On my phone, the link to "8 cant wait" is not getting me to specific proposals. But I'll throw in 2 cents worth anyway to kick off the discussion. Most cities around here have police policies and procedures online. Whether changing a policy or procedure might matter would depend on many things including the consequences, if any, of breaches. As to the use of deadly force by an officer, for example, the basic law is that officers may use any force apparently necessary to get the job done. That job might be making an arrest - even for a minor offense. Some departments place restrictions on methods. For example, suppose a drunk driver flees in his Tesla at 120 mph. Some departments tell officers not to pursue at 120 mph. But if the drunk driver has an abducted child in the car, there could be a Plan B. How about always saying "drop the gun or I'll shoot." You see it on police tv dramas. Saying that to a suspect pointing his gun at an officer or at a hostage may get them killed. How about telling a terrorist, "drop your submachine gun or I'll shoot." That could kill a dozen officers. How about a choke hold? A dangerous compliance technique. But you would not want to policy or law that says officers can never use choke holds. That would include a struggle with a suspect for a gun. The suspect could choke the officer but not vice-a-versa. I am just suggesting proposed changes be carefully considered and written.

Posted by LongResident
a resident of another community
on Jun 8, 2020 at 5:12 pm

The issue of police violence is a real one. However, it's
important to note that only 1.4% of gun deaths are by the police.
98.6% of killing by gun are done by other people. And who do
we expect to deal with most of those other killings? Who
cleans up the mess? I think police violence is more significant
in general in other ways than it is by shootings by police.
So reducing shootings by police should not be the metric, as it may
in fact increase the source of the other 98% of shootings.
Crooks aren't in general shooting at police, they are mostly shooting
other people. Not a good thing to see increase.

Posted by Gary
a resident of Sylvan Park
on Jun 8, 2020 at 6:46 pm

For those who want to consider changing the law in California on the use of force by police officers, start by reading CA Penal Code section 835(a) which was just amended effective January 1, 2020. By way of background, two important US. Supreme Court decisions on the Fourth Amendment "reasonable" limitation on the use of force in trying to detain or arrest or hold (seize) a person everywhere in the country are: Graham v. Connor (1989) 490 U.S. 386, and Tenn. v. Garner (1985) 471 U.S. 1.

Posted by Gary
a resident of Sylvan Park
on Jun 8, 2020 at 8:10 pm

Continuing the discussion with myself, you may have seen today that Senator Cory Booker of New Jersey was advocating for the elimination of "qualified immunity" for police officers. So a little about that. One possible remedy for the violation by police of someone's rights is a federal lawsuit for "damages" (compensation for the harm). There is a federal statute that authorizes such a lawsuit codified in Volume 42 of the United States Code, section 1983 (sometimes called a "1983 case"). It authorizes lawsuits against local officials - but not states or federal agencies. Lawsuits may be filed against the public employees involved and against the employer alleging violation of a right or rights and harm. The employer will only be liable if what the employee(s) did was pursuant to a policy or practice of the agency. Each employee named could be personally liable but, get ready, not unless the law establishing the unlawfulness of the employee's conduct had previously been "clearly established" in the law. It was and remains a limitation on personal liability of, for example, a police officer in a case alleging an unlawful arrest or use of excessive force. Courts inferred such a limitation on personal liability from statutes giving employees duties to carry out. Why should they be personally liable for carrying out a duty? In California, state law goes a step further in protecting public employees from personal liability for acts within the scope of their public employment. The state or local government will pay off such a money judgment (following all appeals taken, of course). The prospect of a lawsuit for harm done, though, is only one way to deter or respond to official misconduct. Another is to fire or discipline. Another is prosecution for commission of a crime. But crimes are usually not written (defined) with police in mind. Police are empowered to do things in carrying out their jobs that for a non-officer would be a crime. Enough for now.

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