Palo Alto Police Chief Dennis Burns–Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde?

Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde is the mental condition often spuriously called “split personality”, referred to in psychiatry as dissociative identity disorder, in which the same person has the ability to exhibit more than one distinct personality.   In this case, there are two personalities within Dr Jekyll, one good and the other evil; completely opposite levels of morality.

The very phrase “Jekyll and Hyde” has come to mean a person who is vastly different in moral character from one situation to the next.  Perhaps the most notorious person to exhibit such a contradiction of exhibited morality is Ted Bundy.

And the most famous person to publicly exhibit psychopathy characteristics is Bill Clinton,  “It depends on what the meaning of the words ‘is’  is.” –Bill Clinton, during his 1998 grand jury testimony on the Monica Lewinsky affair

Jim Kouri, vice president of the National Assn. of Chiefs of Police, has assembled a group of traits that define psychopathic personalities — like serial killers — and has discovered that these traits also apply to many of today’s politicians.  Traits such as superficial charm, an exaggerated sense of self-worth, glibness, lying, lack of remorse, manipulation of others, and sexual obsession are the hallmark of both groups.

Kouri notes that these types of psychopaths are psychologically capable of committing their dirty deeds free of any concern for social, moral or legal consequences and with absolutely no remorse, save getting caught.

There is not much that separates the politician from the Police Chief when it comes to possessing the character traits of those who seek powerful positions of control.

To the community, to his unaware friends and even his family Mr. Burns presents the façade of a boy scout yet lurking under that veneer is a person who would violate everything he proclaims to stand for.

In 2008 long time Palo Alto resident Tony Ciampi was rousted out of his vehicle by three gung-ho police officers, (April Wagner, Manuel Temores and Kelly Burger).  The incident resulted in two of the officers using their taser guns on Ciampi.  Ciampi has maintained that Ofc.

Burger first fired his taser gun at Ciampi’s face while Ciampi was not fleeing or resisting and that the police destroyed and tampered with all of the evidence that would prove his allegation.  On the other hand, Chief Burns has asserted that nothing unethical or illegal has taken place regarding the Ciampi case despite the fact that Judge Thang Barrett ruled that the three officers violated the Constitution.

Ciampi has provided a detailed description of the city policies and laws that Chief Burns and his subordinate officers have violated.

Chief Burns and City Staff are not willing to address Ciampi’s allegations to dispute them, and thus provide credibility to them through their silence.

The psychology of the Palo Alto Police Department takes its lead from its Chief and other superiors on City Staff, so by way of extension we are not just referring to who Chief Burns is, but what the generalized psychological make-up is of the members of the police department and by their actions represent what Chief Burns’ true character is.  Vice versa the Chief is known by the conduct he either condones or condemns that his officers exhibit.

As a 30 year veteran of the Police Department Chief Burns has been around it all and just like a child taking on the attributes, good or evil, of his parents people are influenced by the culture they live in exhibiting the attributes of that culture.  Burns was a Lieutenant in 2005,  Asst. Police Chief in 2008, acting Police Chief in 2009 and appointed Police Chief in October 2009.

Traveling back in time what do we find?

1)     In 2008 Sgt. Micahel Yore conducted a well known bungled investigation of the Children’s Theater and Pat Briggs which resulted in no charges and the City Council issuing an official apology.

2)     It was Sgt. Yore who recommended murder charges be brought against Nelson Galbraith for the death of his wife.  Yet Galbraeth won a $400,000.00 settlement from Santa Clara County for malicious prosecution and bungling the investigation.  Despite this apparent act of taking responsibility by the District Attorney, Yore remained defiant during a 2005 deposition by referring to the Galbraith’s lawsuit as, “ludicrous.”

3)     When Burns was Assistant Police Chief he called Yore a “quintessential detective.”  Chief Burns followed that up with “We’d be pretty apparent if we were doing anything untoward or trampling on people’s rights,” Burns said.

That’s very interesting given that Ciampi has documented Chief Burns’ involvement in violating department policy at least half a dozen times over the course of six months by suppressing and destroying evidence which are also violations of California Law and the Constitution under Brady v. Maryland.

4)    In 2002 Jorge Hernandez was charged with a rape of a 94 year old woman due to a coerced confession induced by Sgt. Natasha Powers, the same Powers, who conspired with Chief Burns in destroying and falsifying evidence in the Ciampi case.

Powers and other officers lied to Hernandez claiming that they had finger prints, physical evidence and a video tape that placed him at the crime scene when in fact they had zero evidence.  As a result of DNA testing the charges were dropped against Hernandez and the actual perpetrator was arrested seven years later.  Had the PAPD focused on the real evidence instead of the fake evidence perhaps they could have apprehended the true criminal much sooner.  In response to the settlement Powers is quoted in the Mercury News stating that her use of falsified evidence isn’t going to change.

5)     In a retaliatory act due to Ciampi’s case being thrown out by Judge Thang Barrett, Powers filed a false report with her own agency falsely claiming that Ciampi had threatened her 4 months before she filed it.  Burns, the Acting Police Chief, did nothing to hold Powers accountable.

6)     In 2005 Palo Alto Police Officer Michael Kan and Craig Lee were prosecuted for falsely arresting and beating a homeless man, Albert Hopkins, who was reclining in his car on a residential street.  The trial resulted in a hung jury, 8 members voted to convict and 4 Asians voted to acquit.  During the trial, then Lt. Dennis Burns supplied his own investigation of the incident which cleared Kan and Lee of any wrong doing yet contradicted the initial investigation conducted by Sgt. Con Maloney as well as the District Attorney’s Office.

In fact DDA Peter Waite who prosecuted the case stated that Burns’ report was flawed.   Revealing of Burns’ character, Burns refused to allow Maloney to read Burns’ investigative report.  When asked while on the witness stand if Burns’ was lying in his report, Maloney stated “no comment” and “I have some concerns about some of the things I’ve heard.”

7)     One result of the Hopkins incident was the implementation of video cameras in the squad cars.  Then Police Chief Lynne Johnson stated to the Human Relations Commission that the cameras would record any contact between police officers and the public providing insight to the interaction.

So long as that interaction does not catch police officers violating the law.  In 2008 during a very similar situation that occurred with Hopkins, three arrogant, bully Police Officers falsely arrested, assaulted and battered Tony Ciampi.

Instead of revealing what occurred, the Palo Alto Police destroyed numerous pieces of evidence and edited and falsified the videos in order to remove the incriminating evidence of their actions and to falsely portray Ciampi.  Chief Burns would have a very integral role in the suppression, destruction and falsification of the evidence.

8)     In 2009 a Palo Alto Police Officer ran a red-light and t-boned a private vehicle.  Almost all significant auto crashes are reported in the blotter and to the media but not this one.  The Daily Post found out five months after the fact due to a claim filed with the City.  The PAPD claimed that there was no video available even though the video records all the time storing video whenever the lights are turned on such as what occurred in this case.  It appears that the PAPD and Burns did not like the video footage of this interaction either.

9)     In 2009 a Palo Alto resident, Jerold Reed Jr., was arrested on drug and weapons charges which resulted in a Judge throwing out the case because the officers violated the man’s “right to privacy and freedom from ‘unreasonable’ searches and seizures.”  Reading the Palo Alto Weekly’s story it is clear that the officers made up a neighbor’s statement of placing a suspect at the property when in fact that was not the case.  In fact the neighbor stated that the police never inquired about the person whom the police claimed they were looking for.  Lie, lie, lie.

10)     In 2009 Palo Alto Police Officer Anthony Bulatao rolled his Ford Explorer at the San Antonio off ramp.  Officer Bulatao thought he was in San Jose because his blood alcohol level was twice the legal limit .16 percent.   The Palo Alto Police refused to identify Bulatao and it took over year to find out through public records requests to several agencies.  Bulatoa was off-duty and was picked up from the Santa Clara jail by Palo Police Sgt. Zack Perron after Bulatoa submitted to blood tests.

Bulatao refused to submit to field sobriety tests telling CHP Officer Kevin Gualtieri that he was not going to allow Gulatieri to build a case against him.  That’s a good example for the community to follow.  Bulatao is back on duty working for the PAPD.

11)    On October 25, 2011 fifteen Palo Alto police officers took part in the Occupy protests in Oakland which resulted in Scott Olsen being severely injured from a police projectile.  The Palo Alto Police refused to identify the fifteen officers involved, however attorney Aram James and media mogul Mark Petersen-Perez were able to obtain the identities from the Oakland Police Department demonstrating how honest and transparent government is supposed to work.

12)     Then there was the David Carlson case of 2005 in which Carlson was falsely arrested for molesting a 4 year old girl by the Palo Alto Police, Detective Powers.  Like Hernandez, Carlson spent three weeks in jail before DNA testing exonerated him. Then Chief Pat Dwyer stated that the “system failed somebody.”

13)     Instead of admitting the loss, the City of Palo Alto passed up on the jury award to Michael Schmidlin of $24,000.00 plus attorney’s fees and appealed the case for eleven years incurring close to a million dollars in costs.

14)     In 1999 Palo Alto Police Officer Louis Verbera was sentenced to a 1 year jail sentence for sexually assaulting 5 women while on duty, some of  whom were hand-cuffed in the back of his patrol car.  One of the victims, Ronelle Meier, who filed suit against the City, claimed that numerous officers in the department covered up her complaints about Verbera’s assault against her with lies.

This seems to bear out given that Verbera was initially charged with assaulting two woman in 1999 but then three victims dating back to 1996 were added to the complaint.  Three years transpired between the first victim the last. There is a serial “fondler” on the loose in Palo Alto as we speak, do you suppose he will get a year of work release when he gets caught or will the justice system apply a much stiffer penalty demonstrating a double standard?

15)     In 2008 the Palo Alto police secretly recorded a conversation between and East Palo Alto tenant activist, Chris Lund, and a representative of Page Mill Properties Russelle Schaadt.  The recording was taken because Page Mill alleged that Mr. Lund had attempted to extort money from Page Mill Properties.  To be specific, Page Mill claimed that Chris Lund wanted $20,000 and he would go away for Mr. Lund was having a significant impact on protecting the tenants from the oppressive acts of Page Mill Properties.  After reading the transcript it is clear that it was not intention at all by  Mr. Lund to extort money.   Page Mill Properties were at their wits end and attempted to pay Mr. Lund off if he would go away, Lund refused to take their money.

Page Mill Transcript:

Russell:      “I mean you are continuing to disgrace me you know and our company you…………Know, with going around and posting these things but that seems to be what it is about at this point and would just as soon accommodate you in your request get you out of the picture and want you know to move on.”

Chris:      “Thats not. .thats not on the table and it has never been about personal settlement.”

Russell:       “they said look it may be easier just to get Chris out of the picture.   Lets just pay him you know and.”

Chris:    “I am not going to be…m not going to be bought off that is not what it is about it never has been  there is no even if took cash like that and gave it to community legal services you think am going to walk away from the 4000 people who still live in this neighborhood who are.. are.. are struggling to put food on the table.”

Chris:    “Making people aware of what the tragedy that happens in this neighborhood on daily basis.”

As a part of the harassment of Chris Lund, Page Mill’s Head of Security Tim Morgan who happened to be moonlighting as a full time Lieutenant for the Palo Alto Police went out to Lund’s house to photograph Lund.  Morgan refused to identify himself toLundwhen asked.  (Ciampi experienced strange men taking pictures of him at thePalo Alto playing fields).

If that wasn’t bad enough, the officer who secretly recorded the conversation between Lund and Schaadt sent the recording to Page Mill Properties to have Page Mill Properties transcribe it.  Since when does a public police station hand over investigative evidence to victims in a crime to have them transcribe the recording as a part of the investigation?  If the transcript were to have ever been submitted to a court it would have been tossed out due to the blatant conflict of interest.  In an attempt to embarrass Mr. Lund Page Mill Properties released the transcript to the media.

As a result the officer, who is presumed to be April Wagner for her name is at the top of the transcript for the PAPD refuses to verify the officer’s identity, was reprimanded with a slap on the wrist, (wink-wink), for violating department policy.  Ciampi established that Wagner made false statements in a declaration to federal court and destroyed evidence in violation of department policy, yet Burns did not discipline her for that.

The kicker is former Deputy District Attorney Jim Shore who is Page Mill’s general counsel.  In a nut shell, a cop and a former Deputy DA both working for a private company use the Palo Alto Police in an attempt to bribe Chris Lund with $20,000 in order to get Mr. Lund out of the picture by twisting the facts and turning their bribe into extortion.

All of the above occurred under Chief Burns watch.

16)     Since becoming Chief of Police, Dennis Burns created an advisory group composed of Police Department personnel and members of the community who are tasked with advising the Police Chief on the delivery of effective and responsive policing to all members of the diverse community, in the most fair and impartial manner possible, according to the police department’s website.

Just one major problem, the meetings are held in secret so that Mr. Burns and manipulate and mold the perception of the cherry picked participants without incurring objective or subjective criticism.

If you are not doing anything wrong or ashamed of then you have nothing to hide.

17)     Perhaps the most famous revelation of the character of the Palo Alto Police is when former Police Chief Lynne Johnson ordered her officers to contact every African-American wearing a ‘doo-rag’ to find out who they were because an African-American wearing a ‘doo-rag’ had robbed someone.

Johnson and the PAPD received much criticism for their racial profiling and recanted.  Though City Manager James Keene put on a good show for the public, Dennis Burns did say a word regarding characteristic profiling since Johnson’s resignation in January 2009.

The above are the cases that we know about.  Given the extent to which the Palo Alto Police will violate its own policies and state laws to cover conceal it’s officers’ unethical and illegal acts one has to conclude that there are numerous other incidents that have gone unreported corroborated by the three sex assault victims that were revealed only after Verbera was charged with attacking two other women.

The Dr. Jykyll and Mr. Hyde disorder is not left to natural causes, but is actually fostered and inculcated within the police department.  It is common knowledge that the police are trained in how to lie and be deceptive in order to catch violators of the law, even to the extent of violating the law themselves.  But the courts have ruled that it is okay for law enforcement to violate the law, buying illegal drugs, in order to catch a dealer.  But as we seen in the Hernandez case, there are no restraints left giving law enforcement the latitude to lie to suspects inducing false confessions from out of context and contrived interrogations.

Showing the edited and falsified videos of the Ciampi case to the media sums up the psychopathic traits of Dennis Burns and the PAPD.  First, Burns coaxes his co-workers to go along with the plan to lie to the public, (manipulation).  Two, the videos portray the exact opposite of what occurred painting Ciampi in a negative light, (lying to harm another/manipulating the public’s view with the lie).

Three, Burns refused to allow Ciampi to be present at the showing to challenge the authenticity of the videos in the presence of the media and public whom Burns was manipulating, (refusal to be challenged; total control; bullying and cowardly traits).  Four, the showing of the videos was in response to a public records request, yet the videos were a part of an ongoing investigation and case which the PAPD usually denies requests under such circumstances, (double standard, manipulating department policy for his own benefit and others harm).

The “Good cop, bad cop” routine manifests the tell-tale characteristics of the Jekyll-Hyde disorder.

The “good cop” is just a charade acted out by the officer to disarm the unsuspecting and trusting target for all the while the “good cop” has an ulterior motive of doing harm to the suspect/victim.  The “bad cop” routine is to accentuate the “good cop’s” character and false promises.  This is how the PAPD induced a false confession from an innocent young man, Hernandez.

With the support of the Palo Alto City Council, City Manager James Keene appointed Dennis Burns to become the next police chief.

City Manager James Keene praised Chief Burns as a “person of integrity, character, commitment and honesty,”

At his inauguration Burns stated, “Please do not lose sight of the fact that our job is to serve that public and that this is a tremendous privilege and responsibility.”

In order to generate hostility from the Public toward Ciampi Chief Burns used his official office within the City to make false and defamatory statements about Ciampi in official reports to the City Council and public endorsing the use of those false statements by his subordinate officer Manuel Temores while giving testimony during a court proceeding.

Chief Burn’s is quoted as saying, “We’d be pretty apparent if we were doing anything untoward or trampling on people’s rights,”

During Ciampi’s criminal case the PAPD refused to provide Ciampi’s attorney the taser gun activation data in violation of the law, the Constitution and Palo Alto Police Policy 308.99.  While knowingly violating his own policy, Chief Buns lied to the media by stating, “perhaps the data downloads are still awaiting transfer.”   

The ability to coolly and comfortably lie to the public and the media is a clear sign of a psycho-sociopath.

Burns’ actions contradict Keene’s and his own statements.   Click here to read how Chief Burns lied to a federal judge:

Chief Burns comes across as friendly and charming, not unlike former Sgt. John Costa and Lt. Sandra Brown.  Ciampi had a very friendly relationship with Costa and Brown up until they conspired with their fellow officers to wrongfully incriminate Ciampi of a crime.

Like Costa and Brown, Chief Burns’ appearance is that of a boy scout, yet that appearance belies his true nature, a nature that hates the Constitution, freedom, truth and his fellow man to such a degree that he would imprison a fellow citizen by using fabricated and falsified evidence.

You see, Burns didn’t have to fabricate the video in such a manner to falsely portray what occurred on March 15, 2008.  Just as he removed the audio dialog from Temores’ MAV recording (See Echibit 8I)

Just as the PAPD claimed they could not retrieve the MAV recording of Seghetti smashing his patrol car into a private citizen, Burns could have protected his officers from being held accountable for their false arrest and brutal beating of Ciampi by ditching Temores’ MAV video without falsely portraying what occurred.

Instead Burns chose to not only conceal the crimes of his officers but he also chose to send an innocent man to prison by utilizing his fabricated videos that falsely portray what occurred painting Ciampi in a very negative light which is the complete opposite of that which occured.  That is the definition of a bully, using one’s superior power to harm someone who has no power.

Coupled with Chief Burns’ penchant for secrecy, Burns is a man not to be trusted, for he will do whatever he has to in order to avoid accountability and any means necessary contrary to his oath and duty as an officer of the law to obtain the ends he seeks for self.


Only a person who has two distinct sets of morality can stand before hundreds of dignitaries, law enforcement personnel, co-workers, family and friends and swear an oath to uphold the laws of God and the Nation while at same time violating those laws by bearing false witness against his neighbor and destroying and falsifying evidence, several felonious acts.

One set of morality is for those who are acceptable to Burns, and the other set of morality is for those who are not acceptable to Burns, to those who are less human and have less rights than himself.

Just as many of Ted Bundy’s friends an co-workers were duped by his charm and defended his character, Chief Buns has duped many in the community.  No doubt many will still praise Burns as a man of moral and upright integrity, yet they will be praising a man who will if necessary use falsified videos to incriminate them of a crime should the right circumstances arise.

FACT:  Chief Burns destroyed Temores’ taser probes to cover up the second taser gun firing and the fact that the video footage of the second taser gun firing is missing from the videos.

FACT:  Chief Burns had conspired with his subordinate officers in editing and falsifying 4 audio/video recordings and two taser gun activation memory devices.

FACT:  Chief Burns refuses to acknowledge what he did and instead lies to his friend, family and the community falsely claiming that he did not destroy and falsify evidence.  He has manipulated numerous subordinate officers and City Staff to go along with his lies and crimes to preserve his freedom and status in the community.

FACT:  Chief Burns through his attorney Steven Sherman argued to the court in the civil case that if one of his officers is beating a suspect to death regardless if the detention is lawful or not, the suspect is required to submit to the beating without defending his/her life and seek remedy for the unlawful arrest and excessive force from the grave just like Barron Pikes has.

Contrary to upholding the Constitutions and the laws creating peace and harmony, Burns’ actions have brought anarchy upon the community.

The final piece of a psychopath is the need to have total control and dominion over their victims, to be superior over all.  According to Chief Burns, had Ronelle Meier and the other women defended themselves against the unlawful sexual assault committed by Ofc. Verbera the women would have been justly prosecuted for resisting arrest regardless of the crime committed by Ofc. Vebera.

Psychopathy is a personality disorder that has been variously described and characterized by shallow emotions (in particular reduced fear), stress tolerance, lacking empathy, coldheartedness, lacking guilt, egocentricity, superficial charm, manipulativeness, etc…..

And in fact, this is true. They, (psychopaths), DO have control when others believe their lies. Sadly, the degree of belief, the degree of “submission” to this control via false representation, generally produces so much pain when the truth is glimpsed that the victim would prefer to continue in the lie than face the fact that they have been duped. The psychopath counts on this. It is part of their “actuarial calculations.” It gives them a feeling of power.

It is all too easy to fall under the spell of the charismatic psychopath. There are many who do the psychopath’s bidding without realizing that they have been subtly and cleverly controlled. They can even be manipulated to perform criminal acts, or acts of sabotage against another – innocent – person on behalf of the psychopath. Very often, when this is realized by the victim, that they have caused suffering in innocent people at the behest of a liar, again they prefer to deny this than to face up to the truth of their own perfidy and gullibility.

Not all psychopath are uneducated low-class misfits. Some of them are  quite handsome and have good careers, and use this all the more to  their benefit. Take a look at Ted Bundy; my friend’s mother once went  on a double-date with him and claimed he was the nicest person. His  mother said he was the “best son any mother could have.” Bundy was also apparently quite good-looking, which made him even more  dangerous. So not all psychopaths are derelict, low-class, high  school drop-outs, there are many who also work in professional  occupations;

Another example  which someone on the “Victims of Psychopathy” board came up with was  Bill Clinton and his “goofy” yet loveable demeanour (so is Clinton  really a psychopath? Many believe he is).

Olmstead v. United States 277 U.S. 438 (1928)– “Decency, security and liberty alike demand that government officials shall be subjected to the same rules of conduct that are commands to the citizen.  In a government of laws, existence of the government will be imperiled if it fails to observe the law scrupulously.  Our Government is the potent, the omnipresent teacher.  For good or for ill, it teaches the whole people by its example. Crime is contagious. If the Government becomes a lawbreaker, it breeds contempt for law; it invites every man to become a law unto himself; it invites anarchy.”