First Report By the CONSTITUTIONAL ENFORCEMENT AGENCY OF PALO ALTO
Pursuant to Palo Alto Independent Police Auditor’s 2011 Final Report:
lll. Cases Pending from Prior Report
IPAs Michael Gennaco and Robert Miller inform the community that PAPD policy restricts officers from making vehicle stops based upon race or ethnicity and that the stop must point to objective facts of a violation of law.
Gennaco and Miller reviewed all of the reports and the MAV recording of the incident.
Gennaco and Miller determined that the complainant was driving a 1976 Chevrolet Nova and that the vehicle was being driven by an African American, the complainant.
Gennaco and Miller verify that the police officer turned off the headlights to his vehicle to determine whether or not the complainant was in violation of a California Vehicle Code.
Gennaco and Miller concluded that the stop was neither racially nor economically motivated.
Gennaco and Miller concluded that the stop was lawful for the claimant was in violation of V.C 24601.–“Either the taillamp or a separate lamp shall be so constructed and placed as to illuminate with a white light the rear license plate during darkness and render it clearly legible from a distance of 50 feet to the rear.”
As a result of the detainment, the officers engaged in a search of the complainant and the car due to the complainant’s probation status.
Gennaco and Miller concluded that the officer turned his headlights off in order to determine whether or not there were objective facts that the complainant was in violation of V.C 24601,
The question that Gennaco and Miller failed to ask is, “WHY DID THE OFFICER TURN HIS HEAD LIGHTS OFF IF THE OBJECTIVE FACTS OF A VIOLATION WERE ALREADLY PRESENT?”
Answer, there were no objective facts prior to the officer turning his headlights off for logic dictates that if there were then it would have been unnecessary for the officer to turn his headlights off.
The next question that Gennaco and Miller failed to ask is, “WHAT WAS THE MOTIVATION BEHIND THE OFFICER TO TURN HIS HEADLIGHTS OFF BEHIND A POOR MAN’S CAR DRIVEN BY AN AFRICAN AMERICAN?”
Does this particular officer turn his headlights off on a regular basis to see if citizens are in violation of V.C 24601? How many times over the last six months has this officer turned his headlights off to obtain objective evidence that a license plate light is out? Does this officer turn his headlights off when following late model BMWs and Mercedes driven by White Middle Aged Women?
Prior to determining whether or not there were objective facts that conveyed a violation of V.C 24601 the officer was forced to turn off his headlights which is a violation of Calif. V.C. 24400.(b) and or Calif. V.C 24409.
The officer violated a vehicle in order to determine whether or not there were objective facts to detain a citizen for not having an illuminated license plate jeopardizing the safety of the community in the process.
Gennaco and Miller concluded that the officer verified that the search of complainant and his vehicle was lawful due to the complainant’s probation status. However, the initial search of the complainant would not been performed if not stopped for the vehicle violation and therefore the complainant’s probation status would not have been discovered.
Since the initial stop was initiated by a prejudicially motivated and unlawful act of turning off the headlights which resulted in discovering the probation status it is concluded that the search was unlawful and in violation of PAPD policy.
Additionally, the officer knowingly and intentionally violated a vehicle code for which he has not been cited or disciplined for.
The act of giving a citation to a citizen for violating a vehicle code while knowingly refusing to give a citation to a PAPD police officer for violating a vehicle code which occurred during the same incident is empirical, beyond reasonable doubt, evidence that the PAPD has acted prejudicially against the complainant and that Gennaco and Miller support this prejudiced act.
The CEA has concluded that Palo Alto IPAs Michael Gennaco’s and Robert Miller’s findings in this case in error.
Due to the lack of thoroughness performed by IPAs Michael Gennaco and Robert Miller it is found that their report is prejudicially motivated in order to shield the PAPD and City of Palo Alto from financial and legal liability while protecting the reputation of PAPD and City.
CA V.C. 24400.
“(b) A motor vehicle, other than a motorcycle, shall be operated during darkness, or inclement weather, or both, with at least two lighted headlamps that comply with subdivision (a).”
CA V.C 24409. “Whenever a motor vehicle is being operated during darkness, the driver shall use a distribution of light, or composite beam,directed high enough and of sufficient intensity to reveal persons and vehicles at a safe distance in advance of the vehicle, subject to
the following requirements and limitations:”
Constitutional Enforcement Agency of Palo Alto
May 2012 Report Prepared