Controversial PAPD officer Dan Ryan rejoins force after a short absence

Police spokesman Dan RyanOfficer Daniel (Dan) Ryan aka “Father” Ryan is no stranger to those who know him. He served as media spokesperson for the PAPD during the final tumultuous days of former Police chief Lynne Johnson who resigned in disgrace for ordering her officers including Dan Ryan to stop and question all African Americans wearing a “Doo Rag” prompted by a string of robberies having occurred in Palo Alto back in 2008.

“When my officers see an African American who has a doo-rag on his head, absolutely the officers will be stopping and trying to find out who that person is,” Johnson had told reporters ……

In one of his most provocative and chilling media statements, Ryan fully supported former police Chief Johnson’s actions in stopping African Americans by suggesting that news media had reported the original story incorrectly.

It’s alleged that former police Chief Lynne Johnson instructed Ryan, to release the following media statement to CBS 5 crime watch:

Police spokesman Dan Ryan defended the chief’s statements Friday, saying they were taken out of context and were truncated to appear in the worst possible light”.

Ryan’s controversial media statement prompted one Palo Alto city council member Pat Burt to see through Ryan’s media spin by questioning his own tone on illegal racial profiling to the press.

“He [Ryan] is still making statements that it’s largely the fault of the listener and the press,” Burt told the Post yesterday. “I requested that … we don’t have the community representative in the department making statements that essentially contradict the city manager and the police chief and contradict the record”.

Ryan is also well known for his supportive role in other officer’s questionable behavior as in the tazing of long time resident Tony Ciampi ruled unconstitutional calling it a ‘training exercise’.  We beleive the community should be aware of Ryan’s return to the streets of Palo Alto and his perceived bias of African American’s and Latino’s.

Reward-Dan Ryan

4 Replies to “Controversial PAPD officer Dan Ryan rejoins force after a short absence”

  1. 3/24/2012

    Hi Chad:

    Excellent piece. I am so glad you have taken it upon yourself to remind the people of Palo Alto about Officer Dan Ryan (a very scary man and a very scary cop—in my view)–who I thought had finally retired –sadly you have brought to my attention– that this man is back on the PAPD payroll—and back on the streets of Palo Alto.

    I say outrageous. I thought I would bring to your attention an exchange I had with the editor of the Palo Alto Free Press, Mark Petersen Perez–some years back (see below–) — re Officer Dan Ryan.

    As an aside –this officer–held the lowly rank of agent somewhere in the range of 10-15 years before being promoted –during his last year or so on the force–before retirement –to sergeant.

    At the time of his promotion to sergeant—I asked him directly how many years it had taken him to go from the rank of agent to sergeant—he refused to answer me –and seemed very embarrassed and upset by the question. I subsequently made a California Public Records Act request for this information. The Palo Alto City Attorney’s office refused to disclose the information. Why?

    Given Dan Ryan’s high profile positions in the department during his many years as agent—media spokesperson—POA president, etc.,– I always found it strange or mysterious why Ryan was held back– a world’s record time in fact –for such a routine promotion—from agent to sergeant.

    I always suspected that the powers that be–in the Palo Alto Police Department –and the city– had something pretty damming re Ryan’s past that prevented a timely promotion– but I could never find the goods/facts re this issue or prove anything conclusively–as such I was left to merely speculate. To this day I have not found out what prevented Ryan’s promotion for so many years. Anybody have an answer for me??

    I would love to get a direct answer from Dan Ryan re this issue –or from Chief Dennis Burns—but I won’t hold my breath.

    In fact, in a piece the editor of the PA Free Press ( Mark Petersen Perez ) wrote– back in 2010 : — he claimed it was actually 20 years between the time Dan Ryan made agent and then sergeant.

    In any event –I certainly hope Police Chief Dennis Burns ( knowing of Ryan’s past) will consider limiting Ryan’s access to the people of Palo Alto– and in addition–that Burns keeps a close eye and a short leash on officer Dan Ryan.


    Aram James

    RE: Marchers call for police chief’s resignation
    From: Mark Petersen Perez
    Date: Mon, 10 Nov 2008 15:15:17 -0800


    I found Ryan’s comments most disturbing and chilling reminiscent of the Klansmen. PAPD’s legacy, in all outward appearances continues on to this day and demonstrates an open fragrant display of hostiles by the once president of the PAPD union!

    Finance Analyst
    Mark Petersen-Perez
    650.230.7479 Office
    650.230.7600 Fax
    From: [] Sent: Monday, November 10, 2008 1:09 PM
    To: Mark Petersen Perez;

    Hi Mark,

    Excellent and compelling e-mail. I suggest you put a Dear Editor on the letter and send it to the Post, Daily and Mercury News–it is worthy of publication.

    To say the least if your facts are accurate I would think this potential story would be of some interest to the press and the Independent Police Auditor for Palo Alto ( Mike Gennaco and Rob Miller).

    In addition, the new City Manager ( James Keene) might want to review the issue and report to the city council. How much–for example–did it cost the taxpayers to have such units on standby if in fact this was the case? Why, given– the peaceful nature of this citizen action–did they believe it was appropriate to spend our tax dollars in this fashion?


    Aram James

    P.S. Did you see officer Dan Ryan’s comments in the Mercury News today ( Nov. 10, 2008) questioning Reverend Darrington’s credibility? Ryan’s suggestion that no one has ever complained about an extensive and oppressive history of racial profiling by the PAPD flies directly in the face of all the accounts we have heard the last 10 days– in addition to what we both know is the very long history of similar complaints.

    As you know I have represented a young man before the IPA ( African-American–age 19) who has repeatedly advised me that he has been stopped at least 50 times by the PAPD –yet never arrested. I have–contrary to Ryan’s claim –brought this to the attention of the PAPD.

    P.S.S. I find Lynne Johnson’s continued claim that she has apologized— and feels deeply sorry about her comments and the firestorm she has created—and that she now wants to begin the healing process –undercut by the fact that she has selected Dan Ryan as the department spokesperson and continues to allow him to falsely claim there is not and never has been a problem re the PAPD and racial profiling.

    If she was sincere about her statements she was put a shot leash on Ryan or reassigns him ASAP. Lynne Johnson is playing the citizens of this community like fools–with one breath she says how sorry she is ( good cop) while at the same time unleashing Dan Ryan to do her dirty work (bad cop). It’s Unconscionable!

    “Mark Petersen Perez” wrote:
    South Africa?

    I was horrified to see two Tactical Swat Teams from Los Altos and Mountain View during my Sunday morning ride. Swat / incident teams are heavily armed with automatic weapons.

    No doubt both teams were ordered by Chief Johnson to lie in wait in the basement of the Palo Alto police garage ready to converge on peaceful protesters from East Palo Alto. This was in my opinion the ultimate example of “racial profiling”.

    Finance Analyst
    Mark Petersen-Perez
    650.230.7479 Office

  2. I have found that the best way to deal with possible racism, such as against African Americans, is to bring one of my black friends over to make friends with the possible racist. Few people have a self image as a racist. Their making friends with a black person encourages their self image of being open minded and nondiscriminatory. They then change gradually.

    The worst way to deal with it is by bashing them, which should always be a last resort, like the necessity defense I criminal law, which only works if other remedies are used up.

    For all we know, this guy might disagree with everything he is made to say as a spokesperson. Someone should go and meet with him in a friendly way, and have much patience. Then try to bring him around to his own self image. Another method is to find something good in him regarding possible anti-racist attitudes, and encourage those. The will outgrow the problem part of him.

    The job of a cop is a tough one. And we only have the police officers that apply to work with. When an employee does something wrong, the person to complain to is the employer. When a public employee does something wrong, the person to complain to is the public citizen who.

    And sitting around writing letters of complaint or posts to a newspaper is a cop-out. (There’s a pun lurking in there, waiting for better wording.) Instead of writing these posts, the complainers should be going out and talking face to face with their own employee police officer.

    That said, I guess I have some face-to-face talking to do with someone, being a citizen as I am, and all that. That’s the plain truth.

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