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Giving Atherton's City Manager the Benefit of the Doubt

Original post made by John P Johns, another community, on Apr 15, 2011

Dear Readers:

The following is the text of an e-mail sent to Mr. Danielson, the Mayor and the City Council.

I've done an about face. I've decided to place my trust in Mr. Danielson. I've also apologized to Mr. Danielson and Mr. Carpenter for having made remarks that could be characterized as intemperate.


from john johns
to John Danielson <[email protected]>
cc Peter Carpenter <[email protected]>,
Kathy McKeithen <[email protected]>,
Jim Dobbie <[email protected]>,
Jerry Carlson <[email protected]>,
Elizabeth Lewis <[email protected]>,
Bill Widmer <[email protected]>,
Renee Batti <[email protected]>,
Ryan Riddle <[email protected]>

date Fri, Apr 15, 2011 at 8:56 AM
subject Citizen's complaints

Dear Mr. Danielson:

Please accept this e-mail as notification that I accept your decision to select an independent investigator to initiate an investigation into my citizen's complaint against Mr. Guerra and Mr. Wade. Accordingly, I wish to withdraw my request that this matter be place on the City Council's agenda.

After careful deliberation I have decided to take you at your word that you will select an investigator who is impartial and who will conduct a proper investigation. I will also accept your representation that, if you determine the funds needed to complete the investigation into my citizen's complaint is likely to exceed $15,000 you will seek Council approval for the necessary spending authority.

I have come realize that the issues are quite straightforward in my case, because my complaint is quite simple. I am complaining that Mr. Guerra and Mr. Wade failed to investigate allegations of misconduct that I complained about . I am complaining that Guerra's and Wade's failure to do so is in violation of the policies established by the Atherton Police Department Policy 1020.

The following are cases in point which can be verified in fairly short order:

To the best of my knowledge Mr. Guerra and Mr. Wade did not investigate whether or not Officer Brad Mills retaliated against me unlawfully by participating in my detention on the morning of August 29, 2007 and by threatening to have my car towed under false pretenses. (My car was not parked along a highway as Officer Mills alleged, nor was it illegal to leave the car in the parking space for more than 72 hours as Mr. Mills had alleged in his written warning).
To the best of my knowledge Mr. Guerra and Mr. did not conduct a satisfactory level of due diligence into Mr. Peterson's suitability to conduct the investigation into my February 26, 2010 citizen's complaints and additional complaints submitted thereafter. Had Mr. Guerra or Mr. Wade done so I believe that they would have learned of Mr. Peterson's complicity in civil rights violations while he was Chief of Police in Clayton California.
To the best of my knowledge Mr. Guerra did not initiate or seek to have initiated a criminal investigation into my complaints of evidence tampering, falsification of police reports 07-474 and 07-484, intimidation and false arrest as is required by Atherton's citizen's complaint procedures.
To the best of my knowledge Mr. Guerra, Mr. Wade or Mr. Peterson did not take into account official records prepared by Officers Lynch, and Hall which contained information that was contradictory in nature and that provided probable cause that police report 07-474 was falsified.
To the best of my knowledge Mr. Guerra, Mr. Wade or Mr. Peterson interviewed Mr. Brian Kelly who was an eyewitness to my unlawful detention and the involvement of Officer Brad Mills therein on the morning of August 29, 2007 and who could corroborate my complaint against Mr. Mills and my allegation that police report 07-484 was falsified.

In transmitting this e-mail to you I would also like to file additional citizen's complaints on behalf of Jon Buckheit and Brian Bothun. I ask that separate investigations be conducted in response to these complaints. I will leave it up to you as to whether the same investigator or a different investigator should be chosen to investigate these complaints.

I hereby allege that Chief Guerra, Lieutenant Wade and Pete Peterson failed to investigate Mr. Buckheit's complaint of a falsified police report as is required by Atherton Police Department Policy 1020.

I hereby allege that Chief Guerra has authorized the disbursement of funds to pay for the investigation purportedly conducted in response to Mr. Buckheit's complaint without proper authority.

I hereby allege that Mr. Peterson by accepting approximately $4,000 as compensation for conducting an investigation into Mr. Buckheit's citizen's complaint was the beneficiary of an improper use of public funds.

I offer the following facts in support of these allegations:

Mr. Peterson never interviewed the complainant, Mr. Buckheit to understand the basis for Mr. Buckheit's complaint.
Mr. Peterson stated that Judge Forcum was unfamiliar with the County's domestic violence policy. Mr. Peterson's claim was both incorrect (Judge Forcum was one of the authors) and was without foundation.
Mr. Peterson rendered a finding of unfounded despite the testimony in open court that an Mr. DeVlught's supervisor's acknowledgement that the report had been altered without his knowledge (at best Mr. Peterson should have made a finding of "exonerated").
Neither Mr. Guerra nor Mr. Wade conducted a satisfactory level of due diligence on Mr. Peterson's background to ascertain whether Mr. Peterson was fit to conduct the investigation into Mr. Buckheit's complaint.
I hereby allege that Chief Guerra and Lieutenant Wade engaged in conduct unbecoming an officer by authorizing the deployment of Officers Kristin Nichols and Sherman Hall to the home of Brian Bothun to assist in a raid being conducted by the County Probation Department on or about January 30, 2011.

I also hereby allege that Chief Guerra and Lieutenant Wade further retaliated against Mr. Bothun, by seeking Mr. Bothun to be prosecuted for possessing an empty plastic bag containing trace elements of hashish.

I hereby allege that Chief Guerra lied when he stated that the participation of the raid on Brian Bothun's home was conducted at the request of the County probation department, as opposed to Mr. Hall and Ms. Nichols volunteering for the assignment.

I hereby allege that the Atherton Police Department's involvement in the Probation Department's raid was in retaliation for Mr. Bothun's reporting on police misconduct in the past.

Please note that these are three citizen's complaints. One of these complaints I file on behalf of my self, one which I file on behalf of Jon Buckheit and the third I file on behalf of Brian Bothun.

Finally, I wish to apologize to you and to Mr. Carpenter. I have been somewhat rash in my earlier correspondence to you and to Mr. Carpenter. If you and Mr. Carpenter have taken offense at my previous correspondence, such offense is certainly warranted.

I do not wish to belabor the point or to appear self indulgent. The fact of the matter is that I am both jaded and outraged. I have borne witness to sham investigations and violations of civil rights by the Atherton Police Department under color of authority and I have seen nothing done about it.

I have sat in meetings in the Town Hall conference room and heard the former Atherton Police Chief joke about using deadly force and I have seen his subordinates who, without question followed this corrupt chief's orders. I have seen the Chief's subordinates acting in the capacity of co-conspirators to countless crimes not only stay employed by the department but progress through the ranks.

Thank you for your attention to this matter.

John Johns

Comments (1)

Posted by peter carpenter
a resident of Atherton: Lindenwood
on Apr 15, 2011 at 9:38 am

peter carpenter is a registered user.

Thank you Mr. Johns - a good and wise decision.

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