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Result of Atherton Destroying Police Complaints

Original post made by Kristallnacht, Atherton: other, on Mar 11, 2013

Ed Flint was brought in to Atherton to clean up the police department. Granted, DeVlught is gone. But he wasn't the only problem at the PD.

Last month, the Wiest/Lewis dominated city council, owned by the police union, decided to destroy all records of complaints Atherton residents made against officers, deeming them trivial.

Immediately thereafter, David Metzger was promoted to sergeant.

[Portion removed; don't accuse people of improper or illegal behavior without evidence.]

This is an individual who does not deserve to be an Atherton police officer (or a police officer anywhere), let alone a sergeant.

This is why records of complaints should not have been destroyed.

Comments (12)

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Posted by Renee Batti
news editor of The Almanac
on Mar 11, 2013 at 10:19 am

Renee Batti is a registered user.

For the record: The council did not decide "to destroy all records of complaints Atherton residents made against officers, deeming them trivial." The action allowed the destruction of 18 police files, all of which were at least five years old and none of which were related to cases involving possible lawsuits or ongoing problems with individual police officers, according to City Attorney Bill Conners.

Here's a link to the Almanac's story about the council's action:
Web Link

Also, Police Chief Ed Flint said Officer Metzger has been rotated into a vacant sergeant's position temporarily; he was not promoted. The department will be recruiting a new sergeant.


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Posted by Hmmm
a resident of Atherton: other
on Mar 11, 2013 at 10:43 am

Have you verified whether the complaints against Metzger have been destroyed? That's where the rubber meets the road on this one. I believe the only complaint NOT destroyed is the record of the Clark Yee golf club theft. And that's not even so relevant anymore since Yee is no longer an Atherton police officer. Please do some fact checking here. If the APD has kept around one complaint and says "we haven't destroyed everything," that is highly misleading.


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Posted by Hmmm
a resident of Atherton: other
on Mar 11, 2013 at 10:44 am

Sorry, meant to add the way to fact check this is to ask the question if 18 were destroyed, how many were NOT destroyed? this is the way to get around the secrecy requirements the unions have put into place.


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Posted by POGO
a resident of Woodside: other
on Mar 11, 2013 at 11:17 am

With the exception of Ms. Batti's post, this thread is an excellent example of unsubstantiated claims taking on a life of their own. Let the vitriol flow.

Try to do at least a minimum of fact checking BEFORE you make these claims. A quick call to Ms. Batti could have saved you several seconds of furious typing on your keyboard.


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Posted by Jim Reed
a resident of another community
on Mar 11, 2013 at 12:19 pm

Give me a break. You people post in anonymously and use the real names of public employees willfully maligning their character and integrity without facts and often making up crap just for effect. Total cowardice. Just to make yourself feel better?

These people have real lives, real families, real homes to return to at night. They go to work each day to do their jobs. I have never seen regular employees abused so much in the press and by the public in any other private business. Most people wouldn't dream of berating a mid-level worker at the local grocery store or or private company by name in a public blog - only here does that crap go on. Childish and cowardice.

These people have families. Friends. Loved ones. These people may be seeking other employment elsewhere where they inevitably do Internet searches and find this crap. It damages them irreparably.

It's cowardice and crap. Get a life.


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Posted by Facts
a resident of Atherton: other
on Mar 11, 2013 at 12:39 pm

The facts posted (and deleted by the Almanac) are true: multiple and many residents have made complaints about the behavior of this officer.

The Almanac can fact check this by calling a handful of people if they wanted to.

It's a bit disingenuous to state things can't be proven in a system in which all of these "facts" are stored in a star chamber where cops adjudicate their own behavior (and then shred the complaints that were made).

If anyone can refute the fact that many residents made complaints about this officer, be my guest. They can't. The best they can do is grumble, threaten, and demand the proof (which has now literally been destroyed).

Ironically, the original point of this thread. (Mis) behavior of police officers is a topic of public interest and concern.


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Posted by POGO
a resident of Woodside: other
on Mar 11, 2013 at 12:44 pm

Sorry, but FACTS are important. Here's the precise quote from the original post:

"...decided to destroy ALL [EMPHASIS ADDED] records of complaints Atherton residents made against officers, deeming them trivial. Immediately thereafter, David Metzger was promoted to sergeant."

Turns out that neither claim was true. I'm no fan of the past misdeeds of the Atherton Police Department but facts matter when you make a claim like that.

Perhaps a simple apology would be in order... but I'm not holding my breath for that level of integrity.


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Posted by Facts
a resident of Atherton: other
on Mar 11, 2013 at 12:49 pm

Read your quote carefully, and how it restricts destruction to complaints residents made.

I believe it is true. It certainly hasn't been shown to be false. The Almanac can ascertain the details if it wanted to (and should). I believe other records were retained that were not resident complaints.

Metzger was promoted to sergeant. "Acting" in his title doesn't negate that.

The Palo Alto Post wrote a scathing editorial about the complaint shredding.


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Posted by POGO
a resident of Woodside: other
on Mar 11, 2013 at 3:31 pm

When you ignore facts, you simply lose credibility.

From Ms. Batti's post: "For the record: The council did not decide "to destroy all records of complaints Atherton residents made against officers, deeming them trivial." The action allowed the destruction of 18 police files, all of which were at least five years old and none of which were related to cases involving possible lawsuits or ongoing problems with individual police officers, according to City Attorney Bill Conners. ... Also, Police Chief Ed Flint said Officer Metzger has been rotated into a vacant sergeant's position temporarily; he was not promoted. The department will be recruiting a new sergeant."

The assertions of the original post are simply untrue.


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Posted by Hmmm
a resident of Atherton: other
on Mar 11, 2013 at 3:44 pm

Sorry, you're wrong on this one. So is Ms. Batti. The fact that Atherton didn't destroy all police misconduct complaints that are over five years old does not equate to Atherton not destroying all RESIDENT-ORIGINATED police misconduct complaints that are over five years old. The latter is a subset of the former. I admit Ms. Batti drew this conclusion in her post, but logically it does not follow, and unless she is aware of circumstances that she should elaborate on, she may be incorrect.

The assertions in the original post may or may not be true, but until the Almanac verifies the facts, there is no way of maintaing it is false.

We do know Atherton destroyed 18 files. We do not know, from the post by Ms. Batti above (or from the information released by APD) if a single file remained after the destruction of the 18 that is over five years old. It is possible that there were no complaints that fell into the exception categories of "possible lawsuits or ongoing problems." It is possible that some did, but were not complaints originated by residents.

There is a very easy way Ms. Batti can check this. The simple question she can pose is: after the 18 files were destroyed, how many were left? How many were left that were Atherton resident complaints of misconduct?


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Posted by POGO
a resident of Woodside: other
on Mar 11, 2013 at 8:23 pm

Hmmmm -

I stand corrected. You make a valid point - apologies!

Let's see if Ms. Batti's conclusion is substantiated.


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Posted by Kristallnacht
a resident of Atherton: other
on Mar 12, 2013 at 10:15 am

There are two points that must be made:

First, is this simply an attack on the police department by someone who is disgruntled?

No. Other officers have been recently promoted to sergeant from within, such as Brad Mills. Because he has conducted himself as a professional, there was no objection to this decision by anyone, and just praise, quite frankly. But this individual is a different story. Just ask the residents who have been abused by his behavior.

Second, the misleading press pablum by the APD over how many complaints were destroyed. Hmmm picked up on this. If it was 18 out of 18 destroyed and deemed "trivial," or 18 out of 1800, makes a huge difference in public perception. It's more like 18 out of 18, and that's why the APD wants to leave their comment as it stands and provide no further detail. Certainly the Lewis/Wiest purchased council did not ask for any further detail.


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