Palo Alto Police Arrest 18 Year Old While Walking Home
From Worried American Father (Palo Alto, California)
July 2, 2003
My 18-year old son was arrested last night as he was walking
home from his friend's house. After walking about six blocks at 4:30 a.m.
my son sees 4 police cars parked at an intersection, in the middle of trying
to locate some vandals destroying public property (shooting city lights
with hand guns or something like that). My son pauses for a few seconds
in a driveway to assess the situation and decides that he nothing to hide
so he walks towards the crossing and half an hour later, after a body search,
repeated questions, some doses of humiliation he is handcuffed and speeded
to to the Santa Clara County jail 16 miles away (Palo Alto does not have
a jail). He is charged with Penal Code 647(h) (loitering) which reads as
"647. Every person who commits any of the following acts
is guilty of disorderly conduct, a misdemeanor: Section(h) Who loiters,
prowls, or wanders upon the private property of another, at any time, without
visible or lawful business with the owner or occupant. As used in this subdivision,
"loiter" means to delay or linger without a lawful purpose for
being on the property and for the purpose of committing a crime as opportunity
may be discovered."
He is kept in jail overnight with a bunch of DUI offenders,
had to urinate in the open in the same room with these drunks, was treated
with disrespect by the admitting staff and even had to go thru humiliation
while being arrested with the officers making jokes about how his future
was tainted with this arrest. Basically, he was arrested by some frustrated
police men who did not find what they were looking were in their search
and arrested my son so they made good use of their time and probably felt
like they could sleep in peace knowing that they arrested someone even if
it wasn't the perpetrators of the crimes they were trying to solve. My son
was cuffed and driven in the back of a police car at 90 mph and after 2
illegal u-turns, excessive speeding, driving at 90 mph on the freeway and
65 on a 35 zone, conveniently dropped in jail and treated like a drunk,
released with the drunks (he had to spend the same amount of time in jail
as them). Why couldn't they just say: "Do you need a ride home"
or "Have a nice day"? Is it because of his race (he's Asian-Indian)?
Why? It's a good thing because it allowed him to collect his thoughts and
decide that he wants this corrected and the police held liable for their
I find myself here at home, with my son in bed trying to catch
up on his sleep and absorb and digest this traumatic evening of his life.
What went wrong? What gives this group the power to be so mean and stupid?
It could have been worse? They could have beaten him up? What should I do
about this? What can I do? He has a court date and most likely the charges
will be dropped by the District Attorney because there's nothing there to
hold on to. If we lodge a complaint now before the trial and publicize the
hell out of the case they will probably make matters worse for my child.
So I am going to wait until the court date. In the meantime I want to lodge
a complaint against the police department, the 2 officers that arrested
my son so this does not happen to other innocent young adults entering society.
It is unacceptable. We live in one of the most advanced societies in the
world and yet we have these ridiculous laws in place that basically punish
the wrong people. The real criminals are out there molesting kids, killing
people because they are drunk or other hideous crimes. We want a public
apology and disciplinary action taken against these officers. After all
I pay for their paychecks.
So kindly educate me on whether I should seek counsel, who
to write to to lodge my complaint and how to write my complaint and when
I should do this please.
Thanks for listening and reading. I'm not comfortable posting
my address publicly so if can please do and hide this if you decide to post
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