Our feelings are hurt. C’mon, guys! | An Alternative View | Diana Diamond | Almanac Online |

Local Blogs

An Alternative View

By Diana Diamond

E-mail Diana Diamond

About this blog: So much is right — and wrong — about what is happening in Palo Alto. In this blog I want to discuss all that with you. I know many residents care about this town, and I want to explore our collective interests to help ...  (More)

View all posts from Diana Diamond

Our feelings are hurt. C’mon, guys!

Uploaded: Jul 14, 2021
Our feelings were hurt, so we must sue the city of Palo Alto.

That is the message I glean from the five Palo Alto police officers who filed a suit against the city, their employer, for allowing a Black Lives Matter 245x17-foot- mural to be painted on Hamilton Avenue, adjacent to City Hall, where these officers work.

This one female and four male police officers of course have a right to sue the city, and were supported by a police association out of Sacramento.

But . . .

Their reason, according to the suit: They were “forced to physically pass and confront the mural” every time they entered police headquarters. The officers called it an “offensive, discriminatory and harassing iconography,” that fostered a “hostile” and “retaliatory” work environment.

They evidently are objecting to the painted portrait of Assata Shakur, a member of the Black Liberation Party who was convicted in 1977 for a 1973 shooting of a New Jersey police trooper. She was jailed, and then escaped to Cuba, where she received asylum. Seeing her face as a hero really disturbed the officers daily, they claim.

C’mon guys. You are our police officers – big, strong, able people hired to protect the city – and its residents. And yet because you felt upset when you saw this mural on the street going in and out of your department daily, you file a suit?

I certainly can understand a police officer’s resentment to someone who killed an officer, but 48 years ago?

How do you think Blacks feel when they see pictures of George Floyd, who was killed by a white police officer months ago?

The mural was commissioned by the city’s Public Arts Commission, in response to Black requests for a Black Lives Matter art work in this community. A black artist created the mural.

The police officers’ sensitive reaction made me think of all the soldiers who fought in WW II and the Vietnam War who were fighting the enemy for days, for months, who must have been in absolute fear most of the time. Fear is a feeling, too. But they didn’t file a suit against their employer, the U.S. government.

I am coming on strong here, but I sense these hurt feelings and so-claimed hostile environment these five officers said they faced is part of a recent new American trend that hurt feelings, not fact, matter most, and one is entitled to cry out about hurt feelings.

The law suit declares the five officers had to walk by the mural daily to enter the police department, which faces Forest Avenue. But the mural is a block away, nowhere near the entrance.

And it had a three-month display period in town. The city arts commission frequently has three-month temporary art displays. And the suit was filed after the mural was gone.

Plaintiff’s damages, the suit says, are in excess of $25,000. direct, foreseeable, and proximate result 0f Defendants’ discriminatory conduct. “Plaintiffs suffered and continues to suffer humiliation, embarrassment, anxiety,mental anguish, and emotional distress,” the suit adds.

That attitude about feelings is symbolized to me by all of those high school and college students today where if they listen to something in class that upsets them, they need to run to special school “safe rooms” where they can sit on soft chairs and hug cuddly teddy bears. Many colleges and universities allow students to walk out of class if they hear something from a professor or invited speaker that upsets them. As a not-so-hypothetical suggestion, if a white hears about the way blacks were treated in this country as slaves, he may find this upsetting and walk away from lesson the professor is teaching. Or if a black hears that same lesson, she may walk away because she is upset about what her ancestors experienced.

A teacher or professor is trying to teach students what happened in this country, and these students are in a classroom to learn the history of racism or violence or whatever in this country– the facts of that actually occurred.

Some students also complain about hearing ideas different from their own. Colleges who invite certain speakers are finding students shouting over what a guest speaker is saying, which is not only impolite but such outcries destroy an opportunity to learn about views that differ from one’s own ideas. College is a wonderful opportunity to explore all sorts of ideas.

But these five who filed the suit are not students, they are middle-aged trained police officers. Act your age!

Local Journalism.
What is it worth to you?


Posted by Brian Steen, a resident of Greater Miranda,
on Jul 14, 2021 at 5:23 pm

Brian Steen is a registered user.

"Act your age!" is right, Diana!
Good article.

Posted by Hinrich, a resident of Old Palo Alto,
on Jul 14, 2021 at 7:34 pm

Hinrich is a registered user.

If the city streets, which belong to all the folks in PA, are available for painting the views of a few then why not to everyone? In the interest of fairness and equal time can everyone have some pavement to paint with their message? How about unpopular ideas that might offend some people? Is that ok? All over the country police are being attacked - from riots in the streets in Oakland to Milwaukee to New York. Everywhere. Diane, you should publish the numbers of officers injured, wounded, and killed in the line of duty. Look at some of the YouTube videos of the Portland rioters assaulting policeman. You praise the artist for the NJ incident but what about all of the police casualties? At the same time, activists everywhere for the dumbest reasons are defunding police departments. All of that must be very demoralizing to the police who had to climb over that junk on the street on their way to work. It wasn't right for the city to allow it for one second. The citizens should have objected to it just as they might were it an an attack on any of the many new populations of protected politics and activism. Should we just move on because it's so easy to dismiss the cops and tell them to 'Act Your Age'? The Golden Rule says treat others as you would have them treat you. I would not tag the streets with graffiti because many see tagging as selfish, ugly, and uncivil. I would not insult any of our police. Respect matters.

Posted by Bystander, a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood,
on Jul 15, 2021 at 10:52 am

Bystander is a registered user.

There is a great deal I could say here, but won't.

Instead I will say, Cancel Culture works both ways.

Posted by Be realistic, a resident of Charleston Meadows,
on Jul 15, 2021 at 11:11 am

Be realistic is a registered user.

"Cancel Culture works both ways"

Except some are cancelled with chalk while some with guns, batons, pepper spray, and tasers. Don't you think?

Posted by Citizen , a resident of College Terrace,
on Jul 15, 2021 at 11:36 am

Citizen is a registered user.

Glad to see this lawsuit. Cop killers and Marxists shouldn't be portrayed as heroes on our streets, while our tax dollars pay for it. Bravo officers!

Posted by Consider Your Options. , a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood,
on Jul 15, 2021 at 11:41 am

Consider Your Options. is a registered user.

The lawsuit was covered in the Washington Post yesterday.

Posted by Open Range, a resident of another community,
on Jul 15, 2021 at 11:44 am

Open Range is a registered user.

The police do not need the public's support because they have the police union to cover both their legal expenses and to serve as apologists for justifying wrongful police actions.

The police are solely responsible for whatever image the public has of them whether positive or negative.

Posted by Jennifer, a resident of another community,
on Jul 15, 2021 at 12:18 pm

Jennifer is a registered user.

The police DO need the public's support, and cop haters are just as pathetic as cop killers and criminals. This has made national news, and I'm glad to see the lawsuit. Palo Alto needs a wake up call.

The far left and far right are extremists, and a threat to democracy.

Posted by Carlos, a resident of Duveneck/St. Francis,
on Jul 15, 2021 at 1:02 pm

Carlos is a registered user.

I consider myself to be progressive and while I don't care for the wording of the lawsuit, their grievance seems valid. There is a murderer on the mural. Let me repeat, there is a murderer on the mural. The team that approved the painting made a mistake.

Posted by Novelera, a resident of Midtown,
on Jul 15, 2021 at 1:15 pm

Novelera is a registered user.

Diana, 100% agree with everything you said. I was shocked when I read about this stupid lawsuit. I am very often ashamed of living in a country where every response to everything involves getting litigious. And California has an overabundance of lawyers, many of them ambulance chasers, who will file suit on ANYTHING.

I thought the mural was gorgeous and got pictures of at least part of it. Haven't these cops heard that art is not supposed to please everyone. Historically it has often been revolutionary.

And...to your other point...it was up for a very limited time. And apparently walking past it every day to enter Police HQ is NOT true.

So each and every Officer Snowflake was offended. I seriously doubt these cops themselves had even the slightest idea of who Assata Shakur is. They were probably told they should be offended by someone else.

Posted by Citizen , a resident of College Terrace,
on Jul 15, 2021 at 1:59 pm

Citizen is a registered user.

So glad the officers have stood up and objected to cop killers and Marxists being celebrated at taxpayer expense! [Portion removed.]

Posted by chris, a resident of University South,
on Jul 15, 2021 at 4:14 pm

chris is a registered user.

Why did they file a lawsuit?

They should be laughed out of court unless they have exhausted the specified grievance processes.

Posted by Aric Chopra, a resident of Duveneck/St. Francis,
on Jul 15, 2021 at 5:06 pm

Aric Chopra is a registered user.

The police have a tough job to do and many of them lack the temperament and/or education to be good law enforcement officers.

This is especially true in red counties and states.

As for the PAPD, they have it soft. Palo Alto does have not a high or violent crime rate like various urban cities and as a result, the officers are more focused on issuing traffic citations or following up on petty crimes that they rarely solve.

This pending litigation borders on a nuisance suit in which only the lawyers will come out ahead.

Posted by Ismail Muhammad , a resident of Midtown,
on Jul 15, 2021 at 9:20 pm

Ismail Muhammad is a registered user.

[Post removed.]

Posted by Bystander, a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood,
on Jul 16, 2021 at 5:44 pm

Bystander is a registered user.

Thanks for trying, Ismail. If your comment was making as much common sense as I have read you make on the TS article, you would be getting a "like" from me on all of them.

Posted by Jenna Wilson, a resident of another community,
on Jul 18, 2021 at 7:40 am

Jenna Wilson is a registered user.

Couldn't the PAPD commission an artist to create a mural showcasing how the police actually interact with suspects who are people of color?

They could also organize a downtown rally in support of everything and anything that the police do.

Posted by Chantel Withers, a resident of East Palo Alto,
on Jul 18, 2021 at 9:58 am

Chantel Withers is a registered user.

That would be a very disturbing mural with few positives.

And a rally in support of police brutality and racism would create even more problems because when called to the scene, the police would be protecting their own colleagues while arresting and beating-up on the counter-protesters.

Posted by Elmo Jameson, a resident of Menlo Park,
on Jul 18, 2021 at 12:24 pm

Elmo Jameson is a registered user.

How could the police defend their brutality against people of color?

An absurd consideration.

Posted by Morgan Powers, a resident of Menlo Park,
on Jul 18, 2021 at 1:47 pm

Morgan Powers is a registered user.

> How could the police defend their brutality against people of color?

They cannot which is why this grievance over the mural was initiated.

Posted by Roberta Prescott, a resident of Downtown North,
on Jul 19, 2021 at 11:52 am

Roberta Prescott is a registered user.

No sympathy here for the five PAPD officers and their hurt feelings.

Posted by Grant Kern, a resident of Woodside: Skywood/Skylonda,
on Jul 19, 2021 at 2:56 pm

Grant Kern is a registered user.

Citizen said, "Glad to see this lawsuit. Cop killers and Marxists shouldn't be portrayed as heroes on our streets, while our tax dollars pay for it. Bravo officers!"

What a hypocritical comment given that the million dollar payouts to the victims of police violence, excessive force and criminal activity is funded by the tax payers. Maybe if the police union and their retirement funds were used to compensate the victims of police violence you would have a point; but since it's not, you don't!

Maybe military service and just a high school diploma should disqualify applicants for officers sworn to serve and protect the citizens?

Posted by Liam J., a resident of another community,
on Jul 19, 2021 at 3:47 pm

Liam J. is a registered user.

> Marxists shouldn't be portrayed as heroes on our streets,

Yes...the only true patriots in this country are those WHITE rednecks who stormed the Capitol and are now claiming it was a political statement rather than a violent insurrection.

Imagine if the 'Marxist' BLM movement
had pulled off such a stunt.

'Lock and load' would have become a white cop's mantra.

Posted by Curmudgeon, a resident of Downtown North,
on Jul 19, 2021 at 6:07 pm

Curmudgeon is a registered user.

Do we really need snowflakes on our police force?

Posted by Grant Kern, a resident of Woodside: Skywood/Skylonda,
on Jul 20, 2021 at 8:26 am

Grant Kern is a registered user.

City of Palo Alto (tax payers) paid $572,500 to Buena Vista resident after violent arrest. I wonder how many murals could be painted with $572,500 dollars?

Web Link

Posted by Banes , a resident of Greater Miranda,
on Jul 25, 2021 at 3:00 pm

Banes is a registered user.

Graffiti is graffiti.
Political or otherwise.
Can I paint your sidewalk at your house with my mews and views of life?

Follow this blogger.
Sign up to be notified of new posts by this blogger.



Post a comment

Sorry, but further commenting on this topic has been closed.

Stay informed.

Get the day's top headlines from Almanac Online sent to your inbox in the Express newsletter.

Boichik Bagels is opening its newest – and largest – location in Santa Clara this week
By The Peninsula Foodist | 0 comments | 2,418 views

I Do I Don't: How to build a better marriage Ch. 1, page 1
By Chandrama Anderson | 0 comments | 1,528 views

By Laura Stec | 3 comments | 711 views


Support local families in need

Your contribution to the Holiday Fund will go directly to nonprofits supporting local families and children in need. Last year, Almanac readers and foundations contributed over $300,000.