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Guest opinion: A message from the Mountain View mayor and police chief

Original post made on Jun 13, 2020

In an op-ed, Mountain View Mayor Margaret Abe-Koga and police Chief Max Bosel write about the Mountain View Police Department's role in serving the community in the wake of George Floyd's killing.

Read the full story here Web Link posted Saturday, June 13, 2020, 8:39 AM

Comments (31)

27 people like this
Posted by Steve
a resident of Martens-Carmelita
on Jun 13, 2020 at 8:55 am

Thank you for this article. On behalf of what I assume to be the overwhelming majority of Mountain View residents I would like to voice my support for our police department.


8 people like this
Posted by Gary
a resident of Sylvan Park
on Jun 13, 2020 at 9:12 am

Our county supervisor, Joe Simitian, has proposed changes for the county sheriff's department. The Mountain View police and city council members and candidates (deadline for running early August) should start considering at least those changes for the city.


20 people like this
Posted by Kahl
a resident of Gemello
on Jun 13, 2020 at 9:47 am

Hey Gary - You might want to check the Mountain View, Los Altos and Palo Alto PD websites. They have been ahead of these topics for years and Supervisor Simitian is listing items that have already been addressed in 2017 so that he can show that he is "doing something." Look up the Body Camera article in the Mercury News. So when these topics are brought forth, especially by people from out of town that just want to yell (City Hall meeting), it is actually quite insulting to the community. Did anyone notice that every letter that was read and every person that spoke read from a script that was the same. None of them had any examples about our police department. They always said, "A Friend of mine" or "I heard." Those kind of statements really show how uneducated they are or have jumped on the wagon. This editorial was well done but can be put in a sentence. "Yeah, been there and done that." My question is "WHAT ARE WE YELLING ABOUT!!!" Do we really know, have data or even have examples (locally)?

Good Job Mayor and Police Chief


8 people like this
Posted by Cliff Chambers
a resident of Another Mountain View Neighborhood
on Jun 13, 2020 at 12:14 pm

During City Council testimony on June 9th, there were members of the Mountain View Coalition for Police Reform who mentioned some disturbing statistics, IF true. I remember a figure that there are 2% African Americans in Mt. View, but represented 10% of arrests. There was also a disproportionate number of Hispanics arrested compared to the population percentage. Can anyone provide the source for this data. IF true, the rosy picture provided in this article needs to be amended to address what appears to be a potential systemic bias towards people of color or some other explanation. I am open to listening!


3 people like this
Posted by Rather B Anon
a resident of Another Mountain View Neighborhood
on Jun 13, 2020 at 12:50 pm

Read: Web Link

And then: Web Link

Another article should be out soon about a drunk off-duty MV policeman beating up 2 hispanic people a decade ago. Then the police visited their house to pressure them to drop their complaint. It worked.

The great things our police do are appreciated. But there's no excuse for harming people. When such things happen, if ALL police aren't VERY forthcoming about it, they're corrupt. If they want to end the corruption, it starts with admitting everything and apologizing.

Continuing to keep secrets about past sins in continuing corruption. Asking forgiveness from God is a start, but they must also ask forgiveness from the public and make amends. It'd be nice if it didn't have to be this way, but it does.

If the officers who committed these acts must be fired, then they probably won't admit it. Instead of firing them, most can probably be rehabilitated. The worst must be assessed carefully.


4 people like this
Posted by vonlost
a resident of Cuesta Park
on Jun 13, 2020 at 2:52 pm

Reading LAW ENFORCEMENT CODE OF ETHICS on our police site I don’t see an item covering the responsibility and requirement that an officer report wrongdoing of a fellow officer. This should be added if it’s not specified elsewhere in police rules and regulations.


18 people like this
Posted by why them?
a resident of Cuesta Park
on Jun 13, 2020 at 3:32 pm

I am glad all these acts of service are being provided to our community? My question is, why are they being provided by the police? Why does a badge and a gun and the authority to arrest or use force need to be the ones handing out masks and building meal baskets? That all of these public services are being delivered by the police dept seems like PR. Think of how much further the meal baskets and masks would go if those were programs funded directly and not routed through the MVPD.


12 people like this
Posted by Social Service Partner
a resident of Another Mountain View Neighborhood
on Jun 13, 2020 at 4:51 pm

[Post removed due to disrespectful comment or offensive language]


13 people like this
Posted by Irfan Tusneem
a resident of another community
on Jun 13, 2020 at 5:34 pm

It is great that the Mountain Virw police are better than other police departments but it would speak volumes if they use this opportunity to become even better. The city council should also take this opportunity to make sure their laws are not targeted against the poor. Don't use traffic stops to raise revenue. Offer community service options instead of monetary fine. If a tail light is broken and the person fixes it, waive the fine. Don't use laws to punish people but to improve the quality of life if people. If you have not met that bar for the poorest and homeless of Mountain View community, there is still more you can do. If tech companies functioned like police, they would collapse. Mountain View is a more affluent community than most so the measure should be how the poor and powerless are treated, not how 99% are treated.

Doing a good job but there is always room for improvement and it would be great if the police is the strongest driving force behind the positive changes to the community.


2 people like this
Posted by Gary
a resident of Sylvan Park
on Jun 13, 2020 at 5:46 pm

@Kahn What is the section number in the MV police policies and procedures manual controlling the use of body cams?


4 people like this
Posted by Gary
a resident of Sylvan Park
on Jun 13, 2020 at 6:04 pm

@Kahl. Same question. Corrected the spelling on your online name. Because Kahl, you would acknowledge the importance of rules concerning cameras used by police. Cameras that are ON and cannot be dumped or broken or ERASED can (1) provide information about what really happened and (2) affect the conduct of anyone who knows or believes that a camera is on and could reveal information about what happened. If an officer could claim he did not have his body cam on, for example, when he did but doesn't like what the camera captured, then body cams would only protect police - not the public.


12 people like this
Posted by Creature Features
a resident of Rex Manor
on Jun 13, 2020 at 6:35 pm

@ Cliff Chambers
"I remember a figure that there are 2% African Americans in Mt. View, but represented 10% of arrests."

Anyone familiar with the mathematics of statistics understand the problem of small numbers. Total arrests in MV are statisticly small numbers.

What those statistics do not tell us is if these 10% black people arrested in MV were in fact Mountain View residents or worked in MV or just came here for some other purpose. Imagine all of those 2% black MV residents are perfect people who never break the laws. We could still have 10% of all arrests being blacks, if they came here from other cities.

What if we have a combined 10% of blacks who live in MV and/or work here? Then 10% would not seem so biased. Without a detailed break-down, by race and residence and workplace, then the statistics have no scientifically valid meaning.

"the rosy picture provided in this article needs to be amended to address what appears to be a potential systemic bias"

So, you think they are lying about use of force cases being only 26 cases out of 36,000 cases?

What I want to see is the percentages by race of how many Mountain View residents who are arrested actually get prosecuted, how many plead guilty, how many are convicted at trial and how many are sentenced to actual jail time. Again, by race and by MV resident/worker or not.

"towards people of color or some other explanation."

Yes, I am well aware that the concept of personal responsibility for your own actions is no longer politically correct, that being said.

Is it insane or just disallowed to ask if maybe, just maybe, the people who get arrested in MV get arrested because they actually did something illegal and if... nope, nope, I'm not going to finish that thought because it's the modern equivalent of blasphemy to even ask the question.

"I am open to listening!"

What would you consider meaningful that you would be willing to listen to?


2 people like this
Posted by If...
a resident of Rex Manor
on Jun 13, 2020 at 7:06 pm

Come on, Creature Features, if what? I know you like to indulge in a persecution complex, but have some stones and say what you think is unsayable. Stand up for your beliefs!


7 people like this
Posted by you guys are silly
a resident of Shoreline West
on Jun 13, 2020 at 9:03 pm

the people saying that the higher proportion of black people being arrested are not from Mountain View... guess what guys -- white people "not from Mountain View" come to our city to make crimes too :)

check your biases y'all


Like this comment
Posted by Concerned about you
a resident of Rex Manor
on Jun 13, 2020 at 9:15 pm

@Long time MV resident - just to be really clear: you are saying that African Americans have a higher propensity to commit crimes?


Like this comment
Posted by you guys are silly
a resident of Shoreline West
on Jun 13, 2020 at 9:15 pm

look at all these black people not from Mountain View making crimes in ou--- oh what? they're white??! oh.. well...

Web Link


3 people like this
Posted by Ronan
a resident of Old Mountain View
on Jun 13, 2020 at 9:29 pm

Mountain View PD has serious problems and this article is very clearly ignoring those injustices. MVPD disproportionately arrests Black and Latino people. The disparity is so great that MVPD has more racial bias in arrests than 68% of other police departments. In short, MVPD is more racist than most police departments. The vast majority of MVPD arrests are for drug possession or misdemeanors, in other words, issues that should not be criminalized and handled by police.
Source: Web Link
MV needs to seriously rethink how we do public safety.


5 people like this
Posted by eyeroll
a resident of The Crossings
on Jun 13, 2020 at 10:04 pm

@Kahl -- is it really so hard for you to believe that people in your own community disagree with you? I'm a Mountain View resident and I strongly believe that the police can -- and should -- do better. If we want them to be exemplary in the state, they absolutely can be! But they aren't now, and should not be so resistant to learning how they can become better. This starts with no-brainer reforms toward demilitarization and evidence-based improvements to official policy, but it goes much farther. Imagine all the good we could do for our community if some of the funding that goes toward treating our small, peaceful town like a dangerous big city went instead to helping out our residents! Truly insane to me that you think there's NOTHING that could be done to improve.


5 people like this
Posted by Dana
a resident of Monta Loma
on Jun 13, 2020 at 10:05 pm

It shouldn't be controversial that police departments should have independent oversight/auditing. If MVPD truly is as stellar as they say, what do they have to fear?

It's clear nationwide that communities need greater accountability over police departments. Full stop. I don't know how anyone could watch any of the DOZENS of videos from the past 2-3 weeks and NOT arrive at that conclusion.

Mountain View has the opportunity to be a leader here.


5 people like this
Posted by eyeroll
a resident of The Crossings
on Jun 13, 2020 at 10:06 pm

@Creature Features.... it sounds to me like you think criminality rates differ by race based on some inherent part of people of that race, rather than a system that means they're more likely to be impoverished enough to resort to crime to survive and police that scrutinize them more. Surely you don't hold racial views that were discredited decades ago? I expect a LOT more from people in my community than this.


6 people like this
Posted by Trini
a resident of Another Mountain View Neighborhood
on Jun 13, 2020 at 10:25 pm

I see they like citing the “36,000 calls for service” as if the citizens called 911 36,000 times in 2019 to ask the police for help. However, the 2018 MVPD Annual Report showed almost 50% of calls for service weren’t “calls” at all. They were “officer initiated” calls. I wish they wouldn’t try to misrepresent the facts when it comes to community need for policing.


2 people like this
Posted by Gary
a resident of Sylvan Park
on Jun 14, 2020 at 2:58 am

To answer my own question, the City of Mountain View has online police department "policies and procedures" established by the chief of police - including section 449 on the use of recording devises. That section generally calls for recording interactions with suspects as soon as reasonably practical. An officer could record - not like the recording - and claim he failed to record. In most situations, officers are encouraged to view recordings before giving statements or writing reports. Recordings that are submitted become the property of the department. Whether a recording will ever be seen by anyone but the officer recording, the chief or those he designates is not established (although there is some allusion to possible use in District Attorney and court cases). Generally, police records are not accessible "public records" as long as an investigation is open - which may be forever. There is a November 30, 2016 article in the Mountain View Voice online about the use of body cameras in the first year or so as they caught on nationwide.


2 people like this
Posted by The Business Man
a resident of Castro City
on Jun 14, 2020 at 4:16 am

All i want is accountability, and restrictions on immunity.

I was subjected to harassment when I had a perfectly legal blue decoration light on my windshield washer jets.

The California Vehicle Code said they were legal, i was issued 2 fix it tickets by both Sunnyvale and Mountain View.

I went in front of a traffic "commissioner" and he didn't care about the law, so he upheld the fix it ticket where the light brightness was not even measured.

I eventually went to the Santa Clara Appeals Court, The judge asked the County District Attorney, how I got the citation when there was no evidence to support that I violated the code. Specifically, does a citation alone comprise evidence of a violation of the CVC.

The Attorney looked stupid, instead of answering a yes or no question, she just said "the officer said the lights were bright. It was a loaded question, she answered yes and she would be al iar in the court, she said no and she lost the case.

The Lieutenant in this case resigned from the police department and went into private security.

I spent about $1000 and hours of my time to eventually prevail, the court said that my citation was without any support. I sued to get my costs reimbursed and the courts refused to order it.

Ever since then, I am blacklisted at the Santa Clara Court for totally trashing what these people were doing. Every case I bring the courts refuse to comply with the law just for spite.

So I think that qualified immunity is a scam, it allows unfettered abuse of power by both police and prosecutors. There needs to be a major reform.

And mind you I am WHITE, what the police has done in the past to minorities is disgraceful


Like this comment
Posted by Cliff Chambers
a resident of Another Mountain View Neighborhood
on Jun 14, 2020 at 8:28 pm

@Creature Features and @Social Service Partner
Thanks for the constructive dialogue. I feel it's important to have these discussions. I would like to respond.

Someone did message me with source of data: MVPD Annual Report 2018, Contact Demographics , page 15. According to this table, there were 21.7% Hispanics in the 2010 Census, and Hispanics represented 47.87% of the total arrests. African Americans represented 2.2% in the 2010 Census and represented 10.63% of the arrests. There were 1,101 arrests in 2018, and my UC Berkeley graduate level statistics class in inferential statistics that this is a sufficient sample size. I do agree that the report does not the city of residence, and this would have been valuable information.

I am white and admit to having white privilege growing up. From my lense, the Mountain View Police have done a very good job. What I heard from members of the Mountain View Coalition for Police Reform during the City Council meeting disturbed me and I believe should disturb all residents of Mountain View. They were accurate in reporting on the actual statistics.

My point in my original post is that these statistics were not included in the article by the Mayor and Police Chief. We ALL need to do better in addressing racial inequalities at a personal and institutional level. I was hoping that our Mayor and Police Chief could at least recognize that systemic racial bias MAY (I honestly don't know but the above statistics make me raise the question) exist in our police department and take appropriate actions to address it in a constructive manner.


2 people like this
Posted by Polomom
a resident of Waverly Park
on Jun 14, 2020 at 9:01 pm

How many people speaking at the Council Meeting were MV residents?
How many arrested from the mentioned ethnic groups were actually MV residents?

We can learn from other cities that already went through police reforms:
Web Link

Lots of good articles on Camden, NJ on the internet. Our MV efforts will take time and creative solutions. This is not something hastily accomplished.Our multiple social services get funded by different county, city and private funds. The 30 Million cannot just be divided and distributed to whatever people think needs more urgent funding than our MVPD. As long as weapons are easily available to the public, we need to have officers with appropriate gear.


6 people like this
Posted by Gary
a resident of Sylvan Park
on Jun 14, 2020 at 9:10 pm

If the police look for crime in the "streets" and not the "suites," poorer people will more often be arrested, charged, convicted and punished - even if they are no more likely to commit crimes. The piece presented by this year mayor and the police chief is not an article. It is just a defense of the status quo. Incumbents are not in a position to admit that things should be done differently. I chatted above about the local police department policy on body cams (section 449). There are lots of sections in the online presentation of policies and procedures - including on the use of force. Our chief's policy is that any force can be used if apparently needed to perform a police function - such as an arrest - subject only to constitutional limitations enunciated by appellate courts and the local direction from the chief to only use techniques in which an officer has been duly trained. Maybe police procedures, policies and practices will become an issue separating candidates for city council. There are other important issues. Four of 7 council seats are on the ballot November 3. The deadline to file is early August. Councilmembers do get paid some plus full benefits and they receive the power to make important decisions. Only 5 people have been reported in the Voice as potential candidates so far. More are needed.


Like this comment
Posted by The Business Man
a resident of Castro City
on Jun 15, 2020 at 8:42 am

Gary,

I agree with you.

The police target areas that comprise of groups the city doesn't want.

This is a intentional act.

Thus so called "white-collar" criminals go untouched. These can be groups like "landlords" and other dirty businesses.

These crimes do not get prosecuted nor are there many arrests. Because these criminals are "preferred" by the city.

City corruption leads to intentional blindness for many criminal acts that go unresolved.

Just my observation


2 people like this
Posted by Tim
a resident of Rex Manor
on Jun 15, 2020 at 8:23 pm

This article is a clumsy bit of PR and hand-waving distraction, from the false characterization of Derek Chauvin as a "former officer" at the time of the murder he committed to the immediate pivot away from any statistics about racism and a movement to talk about all the community service the MVPD provides--wonderful programs for sure, but as other commenters have noted, should they be the jobs of the police? Are military-grade weapons and body armor necessary to hand out food or gifts for the holidays?

The statistic of "a fraction of one percent resulted in use of force" is also misleading, not only because it omits cases where officers threaten or intimidate without using force, which interactions also have a damaging effect on the community. There's a report on police use of force in the US in 2018 (Web Link) that very thoroughly examines the question of whether racial biases are present in the police force (I'll save you the long read: they are) and whether use of force statistics can be used to mislead (they can). "Researchers also found that even though officers use force in less than 2 percent of all civilian interactions, the use of force against black people is disproportionately high--more than three times greater, relative to white people." Where are those statistics for the MVPD? On Nextdoor, among friends, and at the recent city council meeting we've heard multiple stories from minority residents of MV about police misbehavior--is someone, anyone in authority listening to those stories?

The protests that are (finally) happening this year signal a desire for real change and evaluation everywhere in the country, and that evaluation shouldn't come from the police any more than you would trust Google to evaluate their own privacy practices. I would have hoped that the mayor would be more in tune with the people she represents, but this opinion column shows that that isn't the case.


4 people like this
Posted by Creature Features
a resident of Rex Manor
on Jun 16, 2020 at 1:39 am

@ you guys are silly

You may be skimming rather than carefully reading.

"the people saying that the higher proportion of black people being arrested are not from Mountain View..."

Literally, NOBODY said that. I suggest you reread what was actually written.

" guess what guys -- white people "not from Mountain View" come to our city to make crimes too :)"

Ah, I think I see a potential explanation for the problem of your incorrect interpretation of what I wrote. I have never seen anyone write the phrase "to make crimes". The proper phrase would be "to commit crimes". Could it be that English was not your first language? Nothing wrong with that, but it would explain why you did not understand what I wrote.

In any case, the issue I was addressing was not about crimes committed by each ethnic group, but rather about the specific statistic related to blacks being 2% of the population, but 10% of the arrests.

I imagine that many of the people arrested by the MVPD are neither residents nor workers in MV, but it's not really the point I was addressing.

Mark Twain once wrote:
"There are 3 types of lies, lies, damn lies and statistics."

I would say that people commonly choose to lie with statistics by misrepresenting what the numbers actually mean and how they were tabulated.

"check your biases y'all"

Check your understanding of what was written, all of you.


5 people like this
Posted by Creature Features
a resident of Rex Manor
on Jun 16, 2020 at 2:09 am

@ Tim
"Are military-grade weapons and body armor necessary to hand out food or gifts for the holidays?"

Tim, while you make several points I agree with, I think people commonly over-look a rather vital point about police officers.

Regardless of what specific duty cops are performing at any given moment, they can instantly get a priority call to drop what they are doing and rush to the aid of a citizen or fellow officer or even to rush to a nearby city for emergency mutual aid.

The police officer who pulled his gun on me had been told (by a politically-motivated hate-filled 911 caller) that a crazy white man was waving a gun around, taking hostages and threatening to kill everyone. It was a total fabrication, but the cop didn't know that until he sped (no siren) to the scene to see me sitting totally alone reading the newspaper in an otherwise empty building. By the time he arrived he was pretty scared about what he was about to face all alone. He had his weapon drawn in my direction and was clearly hyped-up for battle.

At any second an officer handing out food to the homeless might find themselves ordered into a dangerous situation facing an armed attacker. They must be ready to respond. Police should always be wearing the so-called "soft body-armor" under their uniforms and every police car should carry heavy body-armor and an AR-15 in their trunks. And spare tire, fire extinguisher, NARCAN, first-aid kit, blankets, crime scene tape, etc.

FYI, AR-15's are the civilian-grade version (semi-auto) of the military-grade M16 (fully-automatic machine gun).

The only thing that cops can carry that civilians are restricted on is grenade launchers and flashlights mounted on their weapons. Cops can fire "explosive devices" and see where they are shooting in the dark, but otherwise, they carry ordinary civilian rifles and handguns.


4 people like this
Posted by Creature Features
a resident of Rex Manor
on Jun 16, 2020 at 4:15 am

@ Cliff Chambers
"Creature Features
Thanks for the constructive dialogue. I feel it's important to have these discussions."

Thanks, as do I.
It's all too much like watching 9-11 happen all over again.

"From my lense, the Mountain View Police have done a very good job."

I've heard claims from individuals of all walks of life that the MVPD was guilty of bias against every group you might care to define. Including white people, rich people, Veterans, Asians, landlords, renters, business people, homeless, kids, bicyclists, well, you name it.

Even when a cop pulled a gun on me, I didn't protest at City Hall, demand the cop be fired, or even file a complaint. I behaved myself properly, the cop behaved himself properly.

"I was hoping that our Mayor and Police Chief could at least recognize that systemic racial bias MAY ... exist in our police"

It's now a "given" the only cause of any statistical deviation from a 1:1 ratio MUST ALWAYS be hateful race bias by everyone except the people on the "wrong-side" of the statistics. And it is absolutely forbidden to even ask if maybe the personal behavior of people might have something to do with the statistics.

My guess is statistics track even stronger to issues like: education, income, single-parent, foster-kid, etc. more than ethnicity. But, I could be wrong.

It's to the point where everyone is required to feel guilty for "hidden" bias, "microaggressions" and "cultural appropriation". People express overt, obvious and deliberate "aggression" towards me often and I don't let it ruin my day or make me become violent. There was a time when imitation was the most sincere form of compliment, now it's a race-crime. We are expected to hate ourselves for our own births.

The fact that I grew up dirt poor in a long-line of poor people and struggled to educate myself and worked my tail off to get a good job and built my skills into a good carrer and was careful with my well-earned money, all without inheriting any money/property, behaved within the laws, honored the social-contract, and I wear my COVID mask, etc.

Now, NONE of that matters anymore, the only thing that I am judged by is the color of my skin. How ironic.
I judge people by their behavior, because that's all that really matters.

It's like I felt watching the video of the airplanes diving into the Twin Towers on 9-11. I knew the world was about to change in ways I could only imagine and there was absolutely nothing I could do about any of it. I just had to ride it out and hope.

Like COVID-19, come to think of it.


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