Blogging Bayport Alameda

November 5, 2013

Mic drop

Filed under: Alameda — Lauren Do @ 6:05 am

Tonight, even though I totally jumped the gun about it, the City Council will be deciding (or maybe not deciding, who knows) about whether to re-up the contract with the current property management and leasing team at Alameda Point or go with the new guy in town.

Instead of rehashing that I want to write about the pure awesomeness that is the response to a complaint letter from Alameda Police Chief Paul Rolleri in the Alamedan.   So to provide some background, a resident felt as though the police over-responded to a “fender bender” involving her daughter.   She claimed that she was simply “asking questions” but faced rude and disrespectful police officers.

I remember when I first read the letter I thought, wait, is this lady actually complaining about the police when her daughter admitted to drinking and then driving and then getting into a car accident?   I mean, if it were me I would be thankful that the accident wasn’t worse and leave it at that and not write indignant letters to the editor about the situation.

In the grand tradition of Alameda police chiefs to be super responsive, Paul Rolleri responded with great panache and thoroughness.  Turns out the police officers accused of being rude and disrespectful had audio recording devices switched on and so the audio devices captured portions of the exchange between the letter writer and the police officers.  Suffice it to say things happened a wee bit differently than the letter writer’s accounting.

Oh, and ironically the daughter was reading a text when the accident happened that read “drive safely.”

The best part of the response is, of course, the audio files.   Worth a 5-7 minute listen to get through all of them.



  1. You’re not the only one who jumped the gun about the City Council meeting. I think there might have been a small defugalty on the Agenda page of the city web site.

    Comment by Tom Schweich — November 5, 2013 @ 6:59 am

  2. Having worked with the public, I’ve found that when someone accuses you of “being rude” it often means that you did not lie down, take their crap and ask for another helping. For some people, the word “no” is never polite no matter how sweetly uttered.

    This woman was obviously in full-on Momma Bear mode, which any mother can relate to, but she was letting her primitive self direct her actions and the police were just doing their jobs. She should have owned up to that when she calmed down. I think we all will think better of her if her next letter to the editor is an apology.

    Another big take away from this is that, even though the daughter was not legally impaired by the alcohol, it may have contributed to her bad decision to look at a text while driving.

    “Keep your mind on your driving, keep your hands on the wheel, and keep your snoopy eyes on the road ahead” is good advice whether there’s action in the backseat or not.

    Comment by Denise Shelton — November 5, 2013 @ 7:02 am

  3. Your readers might be interested to know that the person complaining about the police was AEA’s lead negotiator in last year’s contract talks.

    Comment by Things that make you go Hmmmm — November 5, 2013 @ 7:02 am

  4. I don’t believe an apology will be forthcoming, from Facebook.

    Comment by Lauren Do — November 5, 2013 @ 7:14 am

  5. 4. Oh, dear. I feel pretty sorry for the daughter. This whole thing would have an embarrassing incident soon forgotten except for Mommy Dearest turning it into a public spectacle. Now everybody knows who she is and what she did, which accident or no, was irresponsible and caused damage and hassle for the other vehicle’s owner. How’s that for protecting her reputation?…not so great.

    People have to understand that police officers deal with dangerous people almost every day. They cannot afford to make assumptions that everybody is an upstanding citizen who means well. When you get aggressive with them, their defenses go up and rightly so. Your feelings and dignity by rights have to take a back seat to their personal safety. Ms. Turner set off alarm bells by her actions. The best policy in dealing with the police, especially when you’ve done something wrong, is to shut up and follow instructions. Like it or not, they are holding all the cards, the handguns, and the handcuffs.

    Comment by Denise Shelton — November 5, 2013 @ 7:44 am

  6. Ms. Turner says the police are disrespectful. She says they lied repeatedly. She says they were rude and threatened her. One of her main points seems to be that they are unprofessional. I’m not sure most people listening to those recording would agree.

    While she was the lead negotiator for the teachers union, didn’t she and other union leaders refuse for many months to agree to a school calendar and threaten a teachers strike? Didn’t she and they try to justify all that largely through a sustained propaganda campaign claiming school district officials were . . . disrespectful, lying, rude, threatening and unprofessional?

    Comment by Hmmmm — November 5, 2013 @ 8:53 am

  7. 6- I agree with you. Having listened to the tapes–and hearing the daughter admit to both drinking and driving as well as texting–I would say that “Momma Bear” failed to teach her now-24-year-old daughter the basics of safe driving. It is also clear that the daughter was far more polite and cooperative with the police than her mother, who clearly has “issues” like not “hearing” or “listening” very well. Or letting go of her “little girl.” I hope Momma Bear knows that she can get the help she needs.

    Comment by Jon Spangler — November 5, 2013 @ 10:32 am

  8. disrespectful, lying, rude, threatening and unprofessional


    Interesting set of words. When my daughter spent a very bad year in Turner’s classroom, I found Turner disrespectful, lying, rude and unprofessional, but never threatening.

    Comment by Things that make you go Hmmmmm — November 5, 2013 @ 12:16 pm

  9. “I was constantly amazed by how many people talked me into arresting them.”
    ― Edward Conlon, Blue Blood

    Comment by Jack Richard (not verified) — November 5, 2013 @ 12:19 pm

  10. I think Momma gets a pass because, well, she was acting like a Momma. Once she gets some perspective on this, she should at least take pride in raising a very mature respectful young woman who appropriately interacted with the police, while also asserting her rights in a respectful manner. I happened to be watching a new sitcom last night called mom (don’t judge me – I am an Allison Janney fan from West Wing), and one of the lines was “each generation gets better” That appears to be the case here. The real question that needs to be answered though – was it Momma who sent her the text telling her to “drive safely”?

    Comment by notadave — November 5, 2013 @ 2:01 pm

  11. Although I generally agree with you, Lauren did you purposely frame it as drinking and driving? If so that is in poor taste as the police’s investigation found that not to be the case.

    Comment by Lloyd Dewolf — November 5, 2013 @ 2:41 pm

  12. Before you fall all over yourself again, gushing about our APD, I just received a letter from Mr. Rolleri, in response to the hand-off of a letter I wrote to Mr. Russo about the license plate readers. At the end of the letter, which warrants a response, Rolleri says “If you have any other questions,… please feel free to contact me”. But Rolleri does not provide his phone number or email address. And he did not cc a copy of his letter to Mr. Russo, either. No contact info at all? That is rather unprofessional.
    BTW, I cannot listen to the Audio, since it doesn’t work with IE 10. What does it work with?

    Comment by vigi — November 5, 2013 @ 2:52 pm

  13. vigi, audio:

    Comment by Lloyd Dewolf — November 5, 2013 @ 3:21 pm

  14. Hmmmmmmmmmmmm………. a million ways to go with this incident and some of the comments too.

    I thought the peace officers were cool, though if you read comments on Alamedan after Rolleri’s letter some thought they could have done better, the female officer in particular. In reflecting on that I can see that if that female officer for example had asked Turner to step aside for a minute to speak one on one, maybe she could have avoided escalating to the threats of arrest part, but Turner was also upping the ante by being insistent based, in her mind I suppose, on technical fact that her daughter actually didn’t have to say anything or cooperate. But if she had been allowed to speak to her daughter one on one before the investigation proceeded, what good would have come of her daughter pleading the 5th instead of doing what she did? Gotta say that considering the stress involved with police work the female officer seemed well within bounds, that is from what one can judge from the tape without being there, which may seem like a lot, but ya don’t know what ya don’t know.

    It is human nature to form an opinion about anything, often based on the smallest glimpse at a situation, and for many of us it’s irresistible to express such thoughts, but with each step backward one can remind oneself to take, there are infinite facets on which to reflect. If Ms. Turner is not contrite about her actions that is her business and she can reap the consequences ( like comments 6 and 8), but all things being equal, as they say, this seems like an “all’s well that ends well” situation. ( just realized this kid was shot in the back as he was turning around, while at the same time, he didn’t respond to order to drop weapon and barrel of his toy gun appeared to be rising as he turned, according to officer who shot him.

    Comment by MI — November 5, 2013 @ 3:32 pm

  15. 3
    “Your readers might be interested to know that the person complaining about the police was AEA’s lead negotiator in last year’s contract talks.”


    “While she was the lead negotiator for the teachers union, didn’t she and other union leaders refuse for many months to agree to a school calendar and threaten a teachers strike? Didn’t she and they try to justify all that largely through a sustained propaganda campaign claiming school district officials were . . . disrespectful, lying, rude, threatening and unprofessional?”


    If my memory serves me correctly she was also on the Rant Squad Jerry Springer Style at the School Board meeting Embarrassing anyone involved or had anything to do with the Schools.and representing the Teachers Side of the Story.. Probably one of the reason there is such a low morale problem in the District.

    Playing that video would give you better idea of who you are dealing with and the mindset.

    It was on Local Cable and also replayed on Education Channel.

    Comment by No Surprise — November 5, 2013 @ 3:35 pm

  16. Most City staff, including the police chief, can be reached at first initial last name (all together)

    Comment by Lauren Do — November 5, 2013 @ 4:32 pm

  17. 3, 6., 15. this AEA connection is interesting tid bit and not entirely irrelevant in the world of gossip and political intrigue. When it comes down to it, the personalities of individuals often have a lot , and in some cases everything, to do with a situation which is supposed to be about groups. Collective bargaining is by definition a group venture, but like all representative democracy the nuts and bolts are carried out by individuals.

    What folks may not consider is how it is that certain individuals end up in positions like negotiating for a larger group. Here I’m going to digress, as many ( too many) times already to qualify my opinion based on what you might call “street creds”. My spouse who taught at AUSD for 12 years was a union side labor lawyer for about a decade prior to teaching. In her last couple years teaching she elected to become directly involved in the politics of her union by serving on executive board of AEA. This was a reluctant choice because she didn’t really have extra time with her teacher responsibilities and what not, but I think it accurate characterization that because of her unique qualifications she felt a responsibility to the teachers and community at large ( yes, even the administration) to get involved because the average teacher doesn’t have the same depth of knowledge about labor law and union negotiation. In order to pull this off she went to what is called 4/5th time, dropping one class per day and a fifth of her annual salary, because to commit to serving union position without doing so was a recipe for total over load and burn out. What “Hmmmm” might not have considered is that for the average teacher serving in such capacity is the last thing any of them want to do. Even more so being a lead person such as negotiator or union president. For those who do get involved, each has their own personal motive, but getting into details of each of their personal histories and personalities, though it may have relevancy it is also tenuous.

    You look at the history of unions and politics in general and it’s easy to go far afield making all sorts of relevant or irrelevant conjecture. On the one hand you have Eugene Debs and then you have Jimmy Hoffa. People can laud or fault either of them based all on sorts of qualifying criteria. Take your pick. I think it’s fair to speculate that for many folks, their personal motivations can be deep rooted principal, but also zealotry or tendency to be strident in their opinions. Sometimes that is what it takes to do what can be a thankless job nobody else wants to do.

    Many folks have faulted Lauren for what they characterize as an obsession with Trish Spencer’s behavior, and some might even consider her posts attempts at character assassination. If so, I’d call it justifiable homicide, but I digress again. We are all entitled to our opinions but one thing we must all give Lauren credit for is that she states her opinions in plain view and everybody literally knows where she lives. Whether what “Hmmmm” points out about Connie Turner’s role at AEA has any relevancy or not, I find it disconcerting that the inferences are made anonymously. Sort of chicken shit behavior which undermines the point he or she is trying to make.

    Finally, snooping around Ms. Turner’s Facebook page I noted she is now retired, so the whole AEA connection is not that relevant. But if one is desperate to tar the union and all teachers in the bargain with snotty innuendo about an individual, keep plugging. It works for Fox News.

    If union has lent to low morale at the district that doesn’t get administration off the hook. At least two sides to every story.

    Comment by MI — November 5, 2013 @ 4:53 pm

  18. I meant to sign 17 with full name, Mark Irons. Personal note: thankfully spouse retired from teaching the year before all this shit hit the fan. Now you can speculate about how her input into union process ( and qualifications to teach) are suspect because she married a contentious asshole.

    Comment by MI — November 5, 2013 @ 4:59 pm

  19. The patrol officers acted with professionalism per the audio tape. They could have allowed the ‘momma bear’ to continue on her rant and allowed her to self-escalate the situation to the point she be placed under arrest for interferring with a peace officer. The involved driver seemed to have a better head on her than her mother – even if slightly impaired.

    Comment by Basel — November 5, 2013 @ 5:30 pm

  20. Having a lead negotiator or any other union leader behave in the ways Ms. Turner was “caught on tape” doing in this police matter would not help resolve negotiations. Using the inflammatory language she’s used in her letter to the editor and public comments this week and having the mindset the use of that language reflects would also be unhelpful.

    Comment by Hmmmm — November 5, 2013 @ 5:46 pm

  21. Yes, Turner is retired, much to the joy of the Edison community. Ask around if you don’t believe me.

    She is very, very thinskinned and prone to righteous anger, as you hear on tape. The union has an unfortunate rep for reprisals. Pseudonyms are called for unfortunately.

    Comment by parent — November 5, 2013 @ 7:33 pm

  22. The patrol officers knew that their conversations with Ms Turner were being recorded. Did they convey that fact to Ms Turner? I doubt she knew she was being voice recorded. Police officers are not required to inform citizens when they are being recorded however this whole tawdry mess may have been avoided had the officers communicated the fact that they were recording the conversations to the parent who was trying to defend her daughter. All this other anecdotal dissing of Ms Turner is beside the point.

    Comment by Jack Richard — November 5, 2013 @ 10:23 pm

  23. At least no one had to get a colonoscopy for a traffic stop.

    4 On Your Side investigates traffic stop nightmare

    Comment by Easy on the Air — November 5, 2013 @ 11:06 pm

  24. I did not hear any police officer being rude ,they actually were very accommodating once the Driver said she had a beer , they had every right to get her to blow for alcohol test , and or take her to the hospital to check for it as well as illegal drug in Her system , that’s the law , indeed she is lucky not to be in New Mexico she might have end up in a colonoscopy.

    This is so ridiculous it is actually Funny , the Daughter had no problem , she is 24 , the Mother “not mother Teresa, but Mrs Turner had no business interfering , it was a stupid fender bender.

    If Mrs Turner is so concerned about Officers “lying as she said” she should change neighborhood , Oakland is looking for brave soul to populate their City , Requirement , install bar art every windows , install security gate before the door , double bolt and chain , install cyclone fence , chain your vehicle , it is highly recommended you purchase a gun for self defense , do not go to the bathroom alone , bullet proof jackets are recommended , sleep on the floor to avoid being hit by late night bullet .it is also one of the most violent City in the USA.
    Alameda does not sound that bad after all …..
    Mrs Turner the moving Co have holidays special and are standing by .
    Do all of us a favor Call them .

    In the mean time you owe the Alameda Police Dept an apology as well as to all of us laws abiding {more or less} Citizen.

    In my 26 Years in Alameda I had my share of speeding tickets , Courtesy Officer Ellis “darn He was good” I have never ever met an Officer doing what you state , I had them coming in the middle of the night as there was some noise coming from my neighbor house {they were on vacation} , yes 4 patrol car responded no siren no light within 2 minutes , it take 2 hours in Oakland and they do not investigate :car theft , burglary , property crime cannot solve most of the Murders .

    Comment by The Joel — November 6, 2013 @ 1:06 am

  25. Jack Richard:

    Just making a point that her shrill, contentious manner is how she is all the time. It’s easy to see what a nightmare it is negotiating with her, explains why the talks last year were so awful.

    Comment by Things that make you go Hmmmmm — November 6, 2013 @ 8:47 am

  26. @13 [deWolf]: Not helpful. I know what Google Chrome is. I installed it on the library computers, but the City removed it. It also isn’t available on the Senior Center computers, unless you install it for the day. Then Chrome goes away. I do not have administrative privileges on public computers, which are needed to install Chrome. So only computers with the “right’ browser can listen to the Alameda Police Departments audio files. And they aren’t the Public Computers of Alameda.

    If the APD sets up something that merely appears publicly available, but in reality is only available to a sophisticated few, then the “availability” is illusory.

    The character of this thread has become truly chilling. Value judgments about someone’s past behavior have no place in whether or not police afford Due Process to individuals they accost. This AM, did you not hear about the New Mexico man, pulled over for not making a full stop at a stop sign, who was then subjected to two digital rectal exams, an enema, & a colonoscopy, all because the police thought he might be carrying drugs up there? No drugs were found, on him, in him, or in his car….

    #5: “best policy in dealing with the police …is to shut up & follow instructions…they are holding all the cards, the handguns, & the handcuffs” Uh, no. Ever hear of Miranda? That’s why we have a state & federal constitution, and why we need the NRA. To protect us from the abject misunderstanding of civil rights exhibited by Denise Shelton and Hmmmmmmmmmm.

    I take it you two are all in favor of the BATT and LPRs.

    Comment by vigi — November 6, 2013 @ 10:15 am

  27. PS: The New Mexico man, who did not consent to any of what was done to him, was later billed for all those medical procedures instigated by his local police.
    He did have hemorrhoids, though.

    Comment by vigi — November 6, 2013 @ 10:50 am

  28. 25
    “Just making a point that her shrill, contentious manner is how she is all the time.”

    So you’re her doppelganger?

    Comment by Jack Richard (not verified) — November 6, 2013 @ 12:11 pm

  29. @vigi: chrome: that does sound frustrating that Library and Senior Center only provide Internet Explorer instead of any one of numerous popular browsers that consistently implements the international web standards: Chrome, Firefox or Safari. I believe you are incorrect in your characterizing that “only computers with the “right’ browser” and “APD sets up something that merely appears publicly available, but in reality is only available to a sophisticated few”. Internet Explorer usage is also now in the minority (40%) where all the other browsers have consistent open source html rendering. Microsoft continues to slowly make progress on delivering a compliant browser though continued public pressure against their anti-competitive actions continue to be beneficial.

    You bring to mind an interesting point for me, although Interim Chief of Police Paul Rolleri writes “here is a link to the files”. That is not actually what APD has provided. The link is to an embedded proprietary audio player that requires Flash and does not support IE10. That is concerning.

    Comment by Lloyd Dewolf — November 6, 2013 @ 1:33 pm

  30. How about the two women in Dallas who had all their cavities searched on the side of the Freeway and the officer used only one set of gloves

    Comment by frank — November 6, 2013 @ 4:33 pm

  31. 26. Nowhere in my comment did I suggest that you give up your rights in dealing with the police. If your civil rights have been violated, there is a time and a place to address that. Sounding off, refusing to cooperate, and treating the police as the enemy when stopped and questioned will just get you arrested or possibly excalate the situation to more dangerous levels. Your family may be living large on a wrongful death suit later, but it will be without you. I stand by my advice, but I would add that you might want to take note of any perceived injustice to review later before a judge. Even if the law is on your side, the police are in charge at that moment and it is folly to challenge that authority at that moment. It rarely, if ever, goes well.

    Comment by Denise Shelton — November 7, 2013 @ 8:07 am

  32. Denise, how the hell would you know? When have you ever been unjustly prosecuted or had your property taken by the state without Due Process? The time & place you piously reference may never come. The most important thing about life is not how long you live, but what you did with the life you had. The police have a legal obligation to not only make sure you understand your rights, but stop anyone else, including fellow law enforcement officers, from violating them! You can look it up in the court documents for the cases posted above. The judge who issued the unlawful warrant is in a buttload of trouble, too [pardon the pun]. If people didn’t stand up to unlawful authority on the spot, Raymond Zack’s body would still be floating in the Bay.

    It occurred to me that perhaps your posts are just your way of Getting Out Of Jury Duty Forever. If you were ever in the jury selection pool for someone who was unjustly accused, all they would need to do to toss you out would be to cite any of a number of your memorable BBA posts. Pretty clever, actually.

    Comment by vigi — November 7, 2013 @ 10:04 am

  33. DeWolf: PS: Chrome is now welcome on the Senior Center computers! Thank you for your help in identifying the problem!

    Comment by vigi — November 7, 2013 @ 10:09 am

  34. Today’s EastBayExpress is especially relevant to this thread:

    Instead of purchasing License Plate Readers, the City should consider using the money to purchase PDRDs [Portable Digital Recording Devices] aka Lapel Cameras, for all Alameda police officers.

    Comment by vigi — November 7, 2013 @ 10:43 am

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