City delays releasing report on cop’s use of N-word

perron barbour

BY SARA TABIN
Daily Post Staff Writer

The city of Palo Alto has delayed the release of an independent auditor’s report about Palo Alto police Capt. Zach Perron’s use of a racial slur while speaking to a black officer.

As the Post reported on May 22, Perron, who is white, joked that “n***as don’t swim” to then-Officer Marcus Barbour after Barbour jumped into San Francisquito Creek to save a drowning black felon he was chasing on Jan. 28, 2014. Barbour is black.

Another officer lodged a complaint over the incident in 2017. The city hired an outside firm to investigate the incident. That firm’s report was given to the city’s police auditor, which is a firm of investigators in Los Angeles, for review in May. The report from the audit would go to the City Council and the public when it is completed.

Steve Connolly, an attorney with the police auditing firm, the Office of Independent Review, told the Post in May that the report would be released in June, but nothing surfaced publicly over the summer.

Michael Gennaco, Connolly’s partner, said Monday (Sept. 9) that the review “is still in process with the ball currently in the city’s court.” He said he does not have a time estimate for when the report might be released.

An employee at the City Clerk’s office, who would only identify herself as Kim, said the report is currently with the Police Department.

Police spokeswoman Janine De La Vega and City Attorney Molly Stump did not respond to requests for comment on the report’s whereabouts.

City spokeswoman Meghan Horrigan-Taylor said the audit will be published as an informational report to council, and made available to the public, after it is finalized. She did not provide a timeframe for or say why the report has been delayed.

Barbour, a U.S. Army veteran who later won the police department’s Medal of Valor for rescuing the man, told the Post earlier this year that Perron made the comment in a hallway at the police station in front of other officers.

Barbour left the department in January 2017, around the time Chief Dennis Burns retired and Perron was promoted from lieutenant to captain, to work for another law enforcement agency.

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