City says Black Lives Matter street mural wasn’t offensive to ‘any reasonable person’

In the letter “E” of the street mural in front of Palo Alto City Hall, Oakland artist Cece Carpio painted the likeness of Assata Shakur, a convicted cop killer from New Jersey who escaped from prison and is believed to be in Cuba. Post photo by Dave Price.

This story first appeared in Wednesday morning’s print edition of the Daily Post. If you want to get important local news first, pick up the Post in the mornings at 1,000 Mid-Peninsula locations.

Daily Post Staff Writer

The Black Lives Matter mural that was painted on the street outside of Palo Alto City Hall last summer wouldn’t offend “any reasonable person,” lawyers for the city of Palo Alto are arguing in court.

The city has filed an objection to a lawsuit from six police officers who sued the city in July for helping pay for the 245-foot mural, which depicted Assata Shakur, a Black Power revolutionary convicted of killing a police officer in 1977.

The officers said the mural constituted harassment and discrimination, and the city’s failure to remove the mural after their complaints was an act of retaliation.

But the city threw cold water on those claims in an objection filed by Suzanne Solomon on Nov. 23.

Solomon said police officers are not a protected class under fair state employment law. A protected group is a category by which people are qualified for special protection under the law. The law protects employees from harassment or discrimination based on race, disability, sexuality or other characteristics.

“However annoyed the (officers) were by the mural, that annoyance does not rise to the level of an actionable adverse action,” Solomon wrote.

The officers claim they suffered “anguish, fright, nervousness, grief, anxiety, worry, shame, mortification, injured feelings, shock, humiliation and indignity” because they were “forced to physically pass and confront” the mural on Hamilton Avenue every time they entered the Police Department.

Suit seeks money

They’re looking for the city to pay for their mental and emotional injuries.

The city’s objection will be heard in Santa Clara County Superior Court on March 3.

The lawsuit was originally filed by five police officers: Christopher Moore, Eric Figueroa, Michael Foley, Robert Parham and Julie Tannock. A sixth officer, David “Heath” Ferreira, has joined the lawsuit.

In August, Moore left the police force and wrote a letter criticizing the department, including its response to the mural. He said many people in the department regretted not participating in the lawsuit.

“The reasons I was given when I reached out to every member in the union about joining the lawsuit fell into three main categories: cowardice, apathy or fear of department retribution. All three are concerning,” he wrote.


  1. You’re missing the point. BLM’s sole focus, other than furthering the Marxist agenda, is to target police incidents that involve White officers and black civilians. A disproportionate amount of violence, assaults, including several murders were caused by BLM members during the riots of 2020, with certain politicians endorsing those actions. The mural was a slap in the face to police during a time when it was especially stressful and dangerous to be a cop. Instead of standing up for the Palo Alto police when they needed our support, the City did the cowardly thing and threw them under the bus.

    Tell me, how would you feel if the mural said “Police lives matter” or “Blue lives matter”? What do you think the reaction would be by leftist Palo Altans? And no, I am not a cop or have any family members or friends in my life who are ones.

  2. “Delicate feelings”?!?!?! How would you like it if you walked to work and saw a picture of a person who killed a co-worker looking up at you every day?

    Yes, there are bad cops out there. But we have to respect the good ones.

    I had no idea one has to belong to a “protected class” to be saved from having offensive images thrown in your face every day.

  3. You “enlightened” person units supporting BLM don’t understand that you are being taken by a bunch of grifters who have held up Corporate America for hundreds of millions of dollars. ALL LIVES MATTER. BLM has invested zero dollars into Black communities. The leaders have siphoned off all the cash for themselves. If you want to look at life through the prism of race, you are playing into the Communist playbook which seeks to divide and destroy America.

    If you want to put in the time, why don’t you look at the current racism against Asians. Both in terms of physical assaults, by Blacks, “limiting” percentages of enrollment into San Francisco gifted schools, along with the UC system and Ivy League schools because they outperform applicants of other races. Asians pursue the American Dream, as do people of Hispanic decent and pretty much every other “group”. You demean Black people by saying that somehow they are currently being oppressed by “systemic racism”. Black people can perform and outperform any other group if given the opportunity to achieve. If you make a race a “victim” and assert they can never succeed, you are a racist.

    My ancestors came to America in 1608 and were forced to serve as “indentured servants” for 9-years to “pay for their passage” to America from Europe. I don’t expect reparations…

    So few people today are taught history or civics, let alone having spent the time to study history going back to the outset of recorded history. If they did, they would understand that history is always written by those who “win” wars.

    Ask yourself, why do so many people in every other Country in the World today want to migrate to America? 2021 will see over 2Million illegal immigrants coming into the United States. That is because America has been a social experiment and the greatest representative Democracy in the World. If people of your mindset were here in 1941, we’d either be speaking German or be lampshades.

    WAKE UP. The Palo Alto Police Officer are correct. When the armed bad guys break into your homes in the middle of the night, just explain that you are “woke” and a supporter of BLM…

  4. How did these cops ever get hired if they’re so easily triggered? I thought bravery and valor were something police officers aspired to … this makes it look like the PAPD is full of snowflakes.

  5. PAPD has a fair and reasonable case and it should go forward. The city was wrong to allow activists to deface public property and wrong to shame our police. The city and it’s righteous activists went too far. At the end of the day, BLM is offensive to many – many who are not racist and have always believed that the content of one’s character and not the color of one’s skin is what matters (who exactly started this very mixed country that was making great progress towards being color blind down the road to calling everyone a racist? Who is peddling that?) – to many, the assaults on our police are very offensive. A city that supported that should explain themselves in court. We are not Portland, at least not yet

  6. I believe most police officers are sincere in trying to maintain order and enforce laws reasonably.

    There are a few bad apples everywhere that ought to be weeded out. But it is unreasonable for the City to insist that this mural not be replaced. It celebrates criminal behavior, and in front of men and women that are working to curb it, putting their own safety at risk, for the public.

    I am SHOCKED that the city would call anyone’s feelings “unreasonable”. First, who are they to deem anything reasonable or unreasonable? Secondly, when did it become alright to discredit anyone’s feelings?

    Really. That is so not okay. I have nothing to do with the police department. I’m just a law abiding citizen that appreciates not living amidst societal chaos, thanks to the PD. That mural offends me. I consider myself reasonable.

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