ALAMEDA CITY COUNCIL | Last spring, Alameda resident Parminder Dhingra sent an email to Mayor Trish Spencer, Police Chief Paul Rolleri, and others, alleging that he was treated unfairly by one of the city’s police officers. Dhingra was complaining about Officer Brandon Hansen, who had been dispatched on March 31 to deal with a dispute between Dhingra and one of his neighbors. The issue was minor: Dhingra’s neighbor had accused him of driving over some ornamental rocks on the neighbor’s property. But Dhingra became upset, alleging in his April 1 email that Hansen had sided with the neighbor in the dispute.
Mayor Spencer quickly responded to Dhingra’s email, replying just before 9 o’clock that same morning. Later that day, Spencer was sitting in Dhingra’s living room for about 30 minutes to discuss the March 31 incident, said Dhingra, in a recent interview. Spencer subsequently demanded in an email to Chief Rolleri that he discuss the issue with her.
But what Dhingra didn’t know is that the mayor’s husband, Joel Spencer, had previously been in a serious run-in with the same police officer. Just two weeks prior, on March 17, Hansen had pulled Spencer over for allegedly speeding and driving his car through a stop sign on Central Avenue, according to Rolleri and court records. Spencer was later booked into county jail on suspicion of DUI. The Alameda County District Attorney’s Office subsequently filed misdemeanor drunken driving charges against Spencer,alleging that his blood alcohol level was 0.15 percent, nearly double the legal limit, court records show. Joel Spencer, 57, pleaded not guilty on April 18, and as of press time, was still awaiting trial.
Mayor Spencer’s demand to talk with Chief Rolleri concerning an issue involving the cop who arrested her husband is not an isolated incident. Interviews, emails, and public records show that since Spencer was elected mayor in November 2014, she has repeatedly inserted herself in routine city business in apparent violation of the AlamedaCity Charter...
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