EAST BAY CITIZEN. EVERYWHERE SINCE 2009

Monday, May 17, 2010

'Women Do Not Belong in Police Work'

THREE REMAINING SEXUAL HARASSMENT SUITS NEAR SETTLEMENT 
By STEVEN TAVARES

SLPD LAWSUITS Little has been publicly reported about the seven female San Leandro police officers who sued the city for sexual harassment last year. Until now, the public awareness of the complaints filed in 2009 began and ended with reports of a settlement with four of the officers totalling over $400,000. The city council Monday night will likely announce details of the remaining three suits, one of which acted as the pivot point linking all the others. Officials from the San Leandro Police Department and city have declined to speak on the subject at this time for legally reasons. What follows is accounts taken from complaints filed in U.S. District Court in and around August 2009. This article is an excerpt from a longer piece on the San Leandro Police Department's workplace.

Officer Catherine Pickard joined the San Leandro Police Department in 1991. She floated around as a dispatcher for five years until becoming a cop in 1996. A year later, Pickard graduated from the police academy with honors; being named valedictorian. It looked like she was on the fast-track to a long, successful career in law enforcement, but things don't always go as planned.

After 17 years at the SLPD in one position or another, she was pushing 40, unmarried and looking for promotion from the job she had more than satisfactorily performed for the past decade, except the same unfair hurdles many successful women are forced to endure these days because of their gender also presented themselves at the police department.

Pickard and the six other police officers alleged sexual harassment in the workplace, but the real problem was derived from a spate of in-house female candidates being passed over for promotion to lieutenant, but the two went hand in hand. One of the central questions is how did the police department become this toxic environment for ambitious women officers and did it only begin with the previous chief Dale Attarian. The former police chief is named as a co-defendant along with Sgt. DeWayne Stancill, in all seven suits. Stancill is the father of the young man recently sentenced to 40 years in prison for murdering a San Leandro High School student and currently suing the city in a sidebar to the current sexual harassment suits.
"Women do not belong in police work" was uttered, at minimum, over 50 times by male supervisors, including her own (Stancill) and male officers over the last 10 years. 
______________
Pickard was promoted to officer under Capt. Joe Kitchens, who would later become police chief and precede Attarian, but not without the seeds of future problems first being sown. Ktichens told Pickard during the early hiring process, the department was not looking for her "demographic." She issued a complaint over her "unequal treatment." She would eventually get the job. In another of the seven suits, the phrase "demographic" is also used within the context of the hiring process and is believed to be a reference to gender. At the time of the filings, seven female officers out of roughly 100-member force existed. None of the seven women held rank higher than officer.

At times, the SLPD exhibited attitudes and actions more befitting a frat house than a workplace designed to fight crime. Pickard and the others were viewed as inhibiting the inclination towards a boys-will-be-boys atmosphere. After her transfer to the detective division, Pickard was ignored by her colleagues and "observed a separation between herself and the men in the unit." She was excluded from search warrants and generally relegated to secondary roles. Her opinions and suggestions were routinely silenced to the point she recruited other officers to offer her opinions through their voices. "[The] Plaintiff was ostracized by the males in the unit, including the supervisors, for having spoken up," the suits claims. The wall of miscommunication had been built to the point male officers would abruptly quit conversations when she entered a room.

Pickard says she was subjected to sexual advances by fellow male officers throughout her employment starting with her training for officer in the late 1990s. A SLPD male field officer invited Pickard to have drinks with him off-duty during the time he was training her saying, "it would benefit her evaluations for her position." She declined.

When she was not wearing her dress jacket at work, she says she was subjected to comments from male officers about the size of her breasts and constant ogling, which made her feel "uncomfortable and different from the other members." Other plaintiffs described similar comments made by male officers, including Stancill, who told another female officer, among other things, her "jeans fit just right," in addition, to asking another of the plaintiffs if he could see her breasts.

Pornographic magazines and videos were commonplace at the SLPD along with graphic emails disseminated through the city's servers. The complaint from Pickard and many of the other plaintiffs reference this assertion as evidence of a work environment skewed towards juvenile and unprofessional conduct. Officers "routinely" perused pornography on the job in her presence. Others found magazines lying in restrooms and left in squad cars as late as two years ago.

According to the complaint, officers sending offensive and demeaning emails using the city's computer servers was a common and long-standing practice at the department going back over 10 years. Photos of naked women and videos featuring bestiality were forwarded around the department within a "mail all" distribution method. Pickard says the police chief at the time, Dale Attarian, was fully aware of the emails. She alleges seeing Attarian's name as a recipient on many of the emails.

The alleged hostility towards women in the SLPD lands on the feet of Attarian according to all seven of the lawsuits against the city. Attarian quietly retired from the force last year. Instead of hiring an outsider to take over the SLPD, City Manager Stephen Hollister, a former member of law enforcement himself, tabbed in-house candidate Ian Willis as chief.

Pickard asserts the "locker room comments and opinions" of her co-workers and supervisors forced her to understand she had to conform to the male-dominated environment if she wished to survive at the department. Pickard makes possibly the most explosive charge of any of the seven female officers when she says the phrase, "Women do not belong in police work" was uttered, at minimum, over 50 times by male supervisors, including her own (Stancill) and male officers over the last 10 years.

The suit also alleges Attarian was aware of the ant-woman bias in his department and says an outside investigative contractor hired by the city found the claims presented by Pickard and other plaintiffs had merit, but recommendations made to Attarian and the city were ignored. Instead, after Attarian learned of the seven suits against him and the department, he framed the development as the female officers forming a conspiracy against him. He then assigned Sgt. Stancill, who the suits allege had a cozy relationship with Attarian, to supervisor Pickard. This arrangement placed the victim with the alleged aggressor as supervisor in a workplace environment.

Of the seven lawsuits filed by the female San Leandro police officers, Pickard's stands as the center of the wheel where the other six spokes meet. How did seven women come together with similar allegations against law enforcement's top brass?

From 2004-2008, Pickard represented members of the police offers union against the the SLPD and the city regarding disciplinary and grievance procedures. At her position, Pickard, who, herself felt the brunt of workplace sexual harassment, began to hear numerous stories and anecdotes featuring similar events with other female officers on the force. In December 2007, one of the six other future plaintiffs against the SLPD reported instances of sexual harassment from Stancill and was being investigated for her response to one of his comments.

By February 2008, three months after the first of the seven plaintiffs first issued official  complaints against Stancill and Attarian, three had resigned from the force stemming either from specific instances of sexual harassment or the general atmosphere of anti-female attitudes prevalent within the department.

Pickard's knowledge of the details of other complaints made Attarian nervous. She was ordered under the threat of termination from Attarian and through a second outside investigator hired by the city to give up the names of all individuals who spoke to her regarding all allegations of sexual harassment in the workplace. In addition, Pickard alleges the SLPD and the city infringed on her civil rights by Attarian's order along with future chief Ian Willis, who she alleges told her to not speak about the investigation when she believed the inquiry and recommendations had been completed nearly two months before. The basis of civil rights was later mocked by Attarian and Stancill in June 2008 when Pickard complained Stancill came to work wearing a t-shirt with the word "ACQUITTED" embroidered across his chest. Attarian ruled Stancill could wear the offending shirt on the basis of freedom of speech. Stancill's affinity for making editorial comments through slogans continued when he placed a small plaque on his work desk saying, "Succes is the Best Revenge."

Stancill no longer works for the SLPD and has a racial harassment suit pending against the city. Attarian retired in early 2009. The city previously announced the settlement of four of the seven lawsuits filed by female members of the SLPD totalling $405,000. The three lawsuits remaining, including Pickard, will be discussed in closed session during tonight's city council meeting. Updates on the lawsuits, likely involving settlements will be announced afterwards.

VOTE JUNE 8! www.eastbaycitizen.com

31 comments :

This bolsters everything I already suspect about cops. I see the SLPD driving around my house now and think I wonder what that officer really thinks about me as a woman.

The SLPD already asked women to do that at traffic stops and had to pay those settlements too.

John Vieira

No question that the leadership of SLPD anti-woman; and that Attarian was a horrible leader. In fact, there was a suit filed against SLPD by a private citizen woman who was repeatedly harrassed by a cop who wanted in date. If a cop abused his authority in that way to my mom, wife or daughter; the state would be trying a murder case with me claiming justifiable homicide.

This just goes to show that leadership at the top is so important, which is why it's important to vote out Tony Santos. He's claimed on this forum to know the "skeletons in the closet" of the former police chief, which probably means he was aware of this situation, or even worse goings on; and most likely used it as leverage (e.g., blackmail) to have police act in his own best interests. Would anyone put it past Tony to have the police harass political opponents? Just remember that much of this happened on Tony's watch.

As for SLPD, it's just like priests in the Catholic Church--most are good people dedicated to serving others--and a few bad apples sullies the entire department's reputation. I feel bad for the good cops who have yet another thing to cause low morale in the liberal, pro-criminal, anti-police East Bay.

Frank Lynn

I have not met anyone in San Leandro that is even remotely anti Police.

I wish the person calling me name had the guts to give his or her name; too bad that person doesn't have the intelligence to counter my claims.

Frank Lynn

The good thing about San Leandro is that its residents are mostly pro-police, unlike Oakaland. They cooperate with police which helps solve crimes.

But the anti-cop sentiment is creepin' in. The last time I went to Bayfair, I saw a group of teenagers wearing "Stop Snitchin" tshirts--tshirts with this message in giant letters. I think they can buy them there at the mall.

John Burris works his "magic" primarily in Oakland, but he's harmed San Leandro by filing a suit for a man high on PCP who was tazered during the act of physically assaulting his girlfriend. The city settle out of court for around $400K. That man died - most likely because he was drugged up; but neverless things like this put San Leandro cops in the position of being damned if they do and damned if they don't.

Interestingly enough, when San Leandro was working to pass the truancy ordinance, School Board President Mike Katz was quoted as saying he hoped the police wouldn't use the truancy ordinance to engage in "profiling." Mike probably knows and likes most of the cops in San Leandro, but as a rabid liberal; it's still his duty to be against police and law enforcement in general...

Frank Lynn

No, Frank, I think Mike Katz is just against profiling, which is a judgment made about a person based on generalization. Maybe less judgment and name calling would benefit everyone. I'm sure Mike probably objects to you characterizing him as a "rabid liberal" just as you object to being called a "racist homophobe." Best not to dish it out if you can't take it.

Anonymous,

Basically Mike said that he'd "hate to see the truancy law used to enable profiling." And then he backpeddled and said, "Not that I'm saying the SLPD would necessarily do that." But if he's not saying that, and is truly a friend of SL police, then why even bring it up?

In the case of school truancy, how else would you find truants besides "profiling" by age? I think it's a fair generalization that most children that look school age should be in school during the hours of 8-3 weekdays. If you're over 18, and get stopped by a cop, it should be easy to prove that you've graduated or otherwise legally exited school - how much "harrassment" would that person really facing?

I think Mike would own up to being a liberal - because it's true. The "rabid" part is my modifier of choice, based on my opinion of how much of a liberal he is; if I called him a "staunch liberal," I would think he would agree.

Calling me a racist homophobe is quite different-- becaue I'm neither of those characterizations. If you called me a "rabid conservative," I would take it as a compliment.

Btw, best not to comment if you don't have anything intelligent to contribute and the guts to put your name to it...just sayin'...

Frank Lynn

The anonymous comments are not Tim Holmes, but belong to his gigantic earring. It fell out of his ear and bounced on his keyboard leaving these message. I'm glad he's not a hypocrite.

As for being a rabid liberal, Katz and Holmes are liberal zealots. Their politics and a slur against Frank are not even close to the same. Calling him a racist homophobe is almost slander. I feel sad. Tim isn't as smart as he told me he was.

I am a fiscal moderate with Liberal social beliefs and I definitely STRONGLY support and believe in our Police officers. I think it is a big mistake to paint any group with a broad stroke of the brush, we all have different values, outlooks and varying degrees of Conservative or Liberal views dependent upon the issues and our individual life experiences. None of us has exactly the same mindset and values, Liberals are not all the same, just as all Conservatives are not all the same. There is a 360 degree circle of beliefs and all of us vary on that circle, even if just a slight degree.

I'm thinking this is why the SLPD act (acted) they way they do. Nobody except the lady at the beginning have any problem with this story. The SLPD is degrading women in some kind of macho power trip. I don't see how the city isn't going to pay big time in the end for this group of guys who have tainted the entire force.

Some of this commenter fault Tony Santos for doing nothing, but it looks like you guy are trying to cover up for the good old guy boys network.

John Vieira

Frank,

Tazers are meant to be used only as an alternative to deadly force. If someone died after a tazer was used, THAT IS WRONG and deserves scrutiny. A man has not earned execution from using PCP and assaulting his girlfriend. We would both disapprove of his actions and agree that he needs to be stopped and arrested, but a tazer is used improperly if it is used to gain compliance. They are dangerous weapons, with a long line of deaths associated with their use.

All my respect for the terrific work the SLPD does in our City fails to do away with that fact. It also fails to mitigate the apparent rampant sexism from many in the Department in recent years.

I'm amazed by the foolishness of people who believe that a settlement of a lawsuit is some form of extortion. In the tazer case referenced, it is safe to say the City PD settled in order to avoid exposure to an even greater penalty in trial, which means that there was meaningful evidence of fault with the PD's actions, regardless of outsiders' uninformed opinions.

If a relative or friend of yours was needlessly killed by police action, or because someone was reckless, or because an employer allowed dangerous working conditions, it is absolutely proper for that agency, person or business owner to face whatever legal remedy is avaliable. This not only gains restitution for a life taken from a family, it also creates incentive for changed behaviors from the offender.

With all due respect, when a criminal willfully breaks the law; and disobeys police orders when directly told to stop the criminal behavior; the police have every right to do what's in their power to stop the criminal behavior--especially when the health and safety of an innocent woman is involved--she was being brutally attacked! Liberals cannot comprehend that we are responsible for our own actions--e.g., if Oscar Grant had never started fighting, he wouldn't have died. If the criminal in the SLPD case didn't take PCP and beat his girlfriend, he wouldn't have been tazed. Unfortunately, this is part of the anti-cop sentiment so prevalent in the East Bay. Had the police not stopped this man, and the woman had died of abuse; the anti-police crowd would be all over them for that. That creates a situation where the police truly can't win--lowering police morale, and emboldening criminals.

How would you like it if some criminal incapacitated you and then started assaulting your wife, mother or daughter without relenting? Would you want the police to not use the taser for fear of violating the criminal's "civil rights," or would you want the police to stop the criminal from abusing your wife/mother/daughter by any means necessary? If you can honestly saw it's the former, I hope your family knows that you value the rights of criminals above their own personal safety.

Frank Lynn

Frank,

You prioritize concern about the morale of police departments. I care more about the people they killed needlessly and the effect these deaths have on society. How about the lowering of morale for an entire population?

You care about how my view on this subject affects my family's view of me. I say two things in response:

- How dare you!
- Where is your concern for the families of the slain?

I'm appalled by your attitude about the killing of Oscar Grant. Multiple recordings showed that Grant was unarmed, on his stomach and under control of multiple BART officers when he was shot in the back. Police sometimes make mistakes, whether through malice or carelessness. When those mistakes are deadly, society is harmed when no one is held responsible.

Tazers have killed many, many people around the world. When first introduced, it was stated they were meant for use only as a last resort to protect police or citizens against deadly force from a suspect. A tazer is a horrible weapon, causing exquisite pain and a large amount of stress on the cardiovascular and neurological systems of a person. It is wrong when Tazers are used merely as a device to gain compliance from a citizen.

I love the way you trivialize civil rights by putting quotes around them. Everyone, even those most of us would despise, have civil rights which must be protected; otherwise, civil rights are not safe for you, your family, or the rest of us.

A sensible person would rather have an injured person or policeman than a dead person. Tazer and gun use by police officers have their role and place, but police abuse exists, and should be labeled as such when it happens.

Doug,

It's too bad you can't answer the question about a violent criminal's rights vs. the safety of your family members. I guess it's no fair using logic to refute your arguments, huh? How dare I? Weren't you the one who stated, "If a relative or friend of *yours* was needlessly killed by police action, or because someone was reckless, or because an employer allowed dangerous working conditions, it is absolutely proper for that agency, person or business owner to face whatever legal remedy is avaliable."

I'm more concerned about truly innocent men and children slain by violent criminals - such as the mid-50s Chinese man in Oakland who recently died. If a BART cop had went up to Oscar Grant and shot him while he was minding his own business, I'd be outraged as well. But we both know that's not what happened.

I'm smart enough to know that civil rights don't entail a criminal's right to perpetrate his crime over the police' legal and moral obligation to stop that criminal (that's why I used the quotations). I don't think liberals understand that. I think what truly lowers morale of the population is when criminals are emboldened, and there seems to be more criminal apologists than victim advocates. If you do some correlational critical thinking, I'd ask you to examine high crime towns like Oakland, Detroit, and East Palo Alto--and what is the citizenry's attitude towards police vs. criminals. Then look at towns like Pleasanton that are virtually crime-free.

Personally, I hope that you or your family members are never the victim of a crime, and that your civil rights are never violated by the police. I would conjecture that if you don't attempt to break the law, you won't have to worry about the latter.

Frank Lynn

Frank,

Thank you for your hopes regarding the physical and civil safety of my family.

Regarding "logic":

You were paid a compliment by my benign assumption that you would want someone who needlessly harmed a person you cared about to be held responsible for their actions, including criminal charges if justified. On the other hand, you presumed that my family would think less of me if they knew my views on police actions and civil liberties; this was decidedly presumptive and uncomplimentary, both to me and my family.

You wish to conclude that everyone who is questioned or apprehended by the police are guilty of a crime; you and I both know that's not true.

The fact that you need to frame the discussion as "a violent criminal's rights vs. the safety of (my) family members" is revealing. It is also untrue. A reasonable person doesn't see these as oppositional positions, in which one is chosen and the other rejected; instead, we would see that a balance must be struck between these two positions. Otherwise, we have no liberty; that is very unsafe.

I ask you to reconsider your view of the killing of Oscar Grant. All camera views (there were several) showed Grant on his stomach and under direct control by at least one BART officer, with numerous others immediately avaliable on the scene. Frank, even the officer who committed the shooting of Grant does not justify it on the merits; he asserts that he made a mistake, and is defending himself on that basis. Again, I'd suggest that you rethink your position.

I represented Tian Sheng Yu in his work as a home care aide, attended a memorial service in his honor, and he was killed less than three months from my home office. I am extremely pleased that Lavonte Drummer and Dominic Davis were apprehended quickly after my Brother's killing. I am confident that the justice system will see to it that these teenagers will be prevented from harming others.

I strain to understand the "logic" in an argument that says that these criminals may have been emboldened by....what? They were arrested before harming anyone else. Would it have sent the right message if, in addition to taking away their freedom, the police had shot or tazed Drummer and Davis? Perhaps this should have been filmed and we could have distributed that film to the violent criminal community?

Note that the "high crime towns like Oakland, Detroit, and East Palo Alto" all have seen their crime rates go down in recent years. What are you trying to say when you compare them to Pleasanton? Be specific; we're listening.

Correction: Brother Tian was killed less than three *blocks* from my home office.

Doug,

"You wish to conclude that everyone who is questioned or apprehended by the police are guilty of a crime; you and I both know that's not true." I never stated that. I've also never stated that it wasn't wrong to kill Oscar Grant. It most definitely was! What I've stated is that had Oscar Grant not started fighting, and had not tried to resist arrest, the police wouldn't have shot him at random for no reason. Do you think that's true, or do you think Mershele would have boarded a moving BART train and shot him in cold blood with no motive?

I tend to think that Mershele is a good man who made a horrible mistake. I feel bad for him--because here is a guy who was trying to feed his family and newborn child doing a life-threatening, thankless job in an area that has more criminal apologists than victim advocates. While what he did was awful, he and his family received death threats and had to move. No matter the outcome of his trial, he'll have to live with the killing of Oscar Grant the rest of his life; and he'll probably always be in danger.

So I gave you a simple scenario about a cop using a taser on a criminal who was attacking a family member. You can't still can't answer the question. It's pretty easy to armchair quarterback the police, when you haven't been in their position. If you were a police officer faced with a criminal hopped up on PCP or LSD, and not complying with orders who you were physically unable to control--what would you do to stop a violent attack that might result in the death of an innocent victim if you didn't act quickly? Would you walk away? Use a gun? Or use a taser, if available? I made a basic argument that a victim's right to have the police stop an assault crime in progress triumphs the criminal's right to perpetrate it. While a taser should be used as a last resort; if the cops need to use it to save an innocent victim; I'm for it - which was the case of the illegal immigrant who got tazed in San Leandro. He was in the middle of physically assaulting his girlfriend.

Criminals are emboldened when liberal, anti-police attitudes towards crime prevail. Drummer and Davis were emboldened by a culture where they knew no hate-crime charges would be charged against them for the attack (those are only reserved for caucazoid perpatrators); emboldened by a liberal media that reports all thugs in a good light after they commit crimes(e.g., "he was a good kid, turning his life around, an aspiring rapper"); emboldened by the fact that most recent immigrant Asians don't report crimes--and don't get much political support when they do (until only recently, and I'm glad they're standing up for themselves)--and emboldened by an anti-police "stop snitchin'" culture perpetuated in Oakland--had Drummer and Davis not been caught on video, they would probably never have been caught.

Oakland, Detroit and EPA may have experienced a slight decrease in crime; but look up FBI figures and these towns have 5-10X the assault crime as Pleasanton. I think that's correlational to populations who don't cooperate with police and practice a stop-snitching mantra vs. a town where folks support the police.

Frank Lynn

I don't support the San Leandro police. All of my 25 years of living here have only proved to me that the cops here are a bunch of arrogant, selfish jerks who think they own the city, and that we all must bow down and worship them. And it all comes from the top. Former police chiefs Kitchen and Attarian were total assholes and idiots who were only concerned with the dept's image. Attarian has the mentality of a 15-year-old, and Kitchen is a closet Nazi. Aside from the sexual harrassment scandals these clowns let happen, they also managed to cover up a bunch of brutality cases and cop misbehavior. Personally, I can easily prove that Attarian and Kitchen are liars, and belong in jail themselves. The SLPD is a mess and it always has been.

Frank,

I would want the police to stop and apprehend someone who was assaulting one of my family members, or one of yours. It is bizarre that you posit that the two choices left to the police are standing by and letting it happen or Tazering the suspect. There are a number of alternative actions that the police can take in situations of this sort. The fact is, neither you nor I know the details of what happened in the San Leandro Tazer case which resulted in death. If the City or Department settled the case, to me that speaks volumes.

Repeat: assault, or mild resistance to arrest, do not warrant the death penalty.

You say that the people of Pleasanton support the police in a way the citizens of other cities do not. Would the citizens of Pleasanton be as cooperative if their police force had a lengthy history of killing people in their neighborhoods?

I'd be willing to concede that the majority of incidents in recent years where Oakland police were involved in the death of a citizen were justifiable and in defense of their or others' lives. However, there are a number of killings which have been controversial. Don't you think that this sours the relationship between Oakland police and citizens?

The Grant case is a hot button because it is a rare, clear case of completely unjustifiable deadly police action caught on film. This is why many Oakland citizens are following this case closely. It is extraordinarily rare for police to be held responsible, criminally or otherwise, when they kill a person unjustifiably. If you want better relations between Oakland citizens and the City and BART police departments, I'd be praying that Mehserle is found guilty of a serious crime and does serious time.

It is quite noticeable that you make broad, opposing presumptions about the characters of people involved in the incidents we have spoke of. You know none of the three men; why would you presume that "Mehserle is a good man who made a horrible mistake", but not extend the same presumption to Drummond and Davis?

Finally, I don't live in the alternate universe you do where the "liberal media covers all thugs in a good light." That has not happened with Drummond and Davis, and is not the prevailing coverage for murderers and other violent criminals. Period.

Doug,

You think Drummond and Davis were good guys--guys who admitted they were looking for someone innocent to punch for no reason because they were upset about the suckitude of their lives? I think that speaks volumes to their character. As for Mershele--there's nothing in his history showing him to be racist, a hothead, or aggro guy who used excessive force--and if there were, I'm sure the liberal media would have uncovered it.

Regarding the facts of the taser case in San Leandro--I do know the criminal in question was an illegal immigrant. I know he was hoped up on PCP--and I know that drug alone can cause someone to die by cardiac arrest. I do also know that he was in the middle of assaulting his girlfriend when it happened.

The reason the city settled out of court is because if John Burris gets involved and gets to select a jury--it becomes race card pure and simple, and facts get thrown out the window, and the city would lose even more money. And also because its good PR for the city with induhviduals like yourself who side with criminals and against police.

Frank

Frank,

I don't think Drummond and Davis were good guys at all; their actions killed a Brother of mine. That said, they didn't take a gun to the back of a person laying on his stomach and fire it at point-blank range.

My quarrel was with your presumptive defense of Mehserle's character. Again, I don't know his character, but neither do you, and his vicious action does not reflect well upon the former officer. Nor does his refusal to provide any testimony to investigators.

It disappoints me that you would presume to know why San Leandro settled the Tazer death. Neither you nor I know for certain what happened. We know that it is extraordinarily rare for a police officer to suffer criminal punishment for use of deadly force, no matter how controversial and apparently improper its use. This flies in the face of your view that "facts get thrown out the window" in favor of people injured or killed by the police.

It is completely ridiculous to claim that this is in any way "good PR for the city". This last sentence as a whole is the definition of a straw man argument, and is quite offensive.

To be clear, Mehserle has the right to exercise his 5th Amendment rights, and this does not automatically reflect poorly on his character.

Doug,

I'll end this argument and capitulate to you--you are the premier thought leader on crime prevention and community relations with police for San Leandro. And that probably explains San Leandro's/East Bay's crime metrics!

Best,
Frank

Did it ever occur to think these are money hungry women who use their gender as a way to obtain "easy money". These women know exactly what game to play by all means all power to them for getting away with it, I am a woman so I know how to flip ones words upside down to benefit me and let me get away with things. Women like that should in deed don't belong in this work force for that very same reason they are no different from a criminal, they just found a legal way to do it.

You are a pathetic women who has no clue!!!
Cathy Pickard is a quality police officer who has devoted years of service to the citizens of San Leandro. Would you really consider years of an absolute hostile work environment "easy money"? At some point, I'm sure the "boys club" mentality gets really old!! It sounds like deep seated, cultural issues at the SLPD that will most likely take years to address. Officer Pickard deserves better. I'm fairly certain that she wanted nothing more than to devote her life to police work, serve the citizens of San Leandro and then eventually retire. I'm sure that she was not looking for easy money. A lawsuit was a last resort after "going along to get along" for as long as she could endure. I hope she prevails in her lawsuit.

dewayne stancil is a flake ..ive known him half my life and he was a flake as a kid ...he's got kids he dosent even claim let alone the one in jail for murder. wut kind of police father lets his son go around stealing cars and killing people...he also used t be a drug dealer him and his brothers ...when he was a teen ....flake

Although I can see this whole article and thread haven't been touched in a while; "excited delirium;" please look it up in reference to all those poor, innocent "victims" needlessly killed by police with a taser.

Then look up some actual info on the stats of a taser. (And yes, it's with an 's'. It's an acronym for being named after the creator's favorite childhood book, "Thomas A. Swift's Electric Rifle.") Just like nearly everything else, everyone thinks more is better. When they say how many watts your speakers are, they're measuring the power they start with, not what comes out of them. When they say how many horsepower an add on part will give you, that's to the flywheel, not your tires. If you put too many sprinklers on one system, you'll have very little water coming out of them after the 4th or 5th because all the pressure is at the beginning.

The taser is 50,000 volts...that means nothing. Your house is 120/240, yet it will kill you. The amps are what matters. A taser is about .0234 amps, a heart defibrillator is 1-2, and an average house socket is 15-20. 50,000 is what starts at the taser. By the time it gets through all the wire, it delivers about 1200. It is enough to temporarily take away a person's communication with their muscles, rendering them unable to continue fighting.

When you have poor innocent citizens hopped up on crazy drugs that elevate their body temperature and heart rate, often far beyond safe, give them superhuman strength and lack of pain sense, things like a baton don't work. Most police departments are forbidden from using a striking weapon to the head or neck in a non lethal situation (which would do the trick in most of these cases), because they are considered deadly force. Any kind of pepper spray done indoors would likely affect the officers as well, lowering their possibilities of successfully stopping the person. A taser is classified as "less lethal," not non lethal. There is always the possibility that something could go wrong, but the whole point of a gun is that it is likely to cause death or great bodily injury, while a taser is not supposed to, but certainly things can go wrong.

As for Mehserle, I'm absolutely not going to say he did no wrong, but I will say that his instructors should have been the ones on trial. They did not purchase the holsters for the tasers initially and had the officers draw from their gun holsters. In times of stress, "muscle memory" (instinctual reaction based on how and what you practiced) kicks in. Everyone knows that a gun is a few pounds and a taser is a few ounces, but in the tunnel vision moments, scared that a man who will not stop struggling and remove his hands from under his body, may be trying to reach for a weapon, they will feel like the same thing as your training kicks in.

Anyone that still thinks that Mehserle made the conscious decision, "Ya know, I'm just gonna waste this guy right here in front of all these witnesses. I'm going to intentionally and maliciously pull out my pistol and commit murder. I'm a cop, I'll be fine." If you think anything along those lines, you are a fucking idiot.

When things are done right, and people submit to the authority of police like they're supposed to, people don't get hurt. I'm not going to say cops do no wrong, but I'm sick of hearing everyone complain that they do no right.

By the way, I'm not a cop, just a guy tired of reading about the "alleged gunman" that was "shot to death by police," and I spend a few minutes on research before opening my big fat mouth.

Cheers,

Aaron

Liberals are going to get everyone killed in their mess of everyone is right and no one is wrong syndrome.... Pathetic. Right wingers are all dying out because they are fighting for the freedom of these idiots and the voice is getting smaller....

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