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Racial Equality and Justice

The City of Mountain View is fully committed to racial equity and justice as we strive to create a welcoming, safe and inclusive community for all. While recent national events have created an urgent cry for policing reform across the country, the City recognizes that systemic racism is far-reaching and long-standing and requires a comprehensive approach of reflection, engagement and action.

This webpage is dedicated to keeping the community informed about the City’s efforts to uphold our commitment to racial equity and justice and the opportunities for community members to be involved.

Initial actions are described below, including: statements affirming the City’s values, such as the Council Resolution Proclaiming Black Lives Matter; review and alignment of the Mountain View Police Department’s policies with best practices advocated by 8 Can’t Wait; and creation of an Ad Hoc Council Subcommittee on Race, Equity and Inclusion.

More work is underway including development of a comprehensive Action Plan on Racial Equity and Justice and planning for a series of listening forums and other engagement events. Ongoing updates to this webpage will be made as this work continues to take shape.

City Statement on Importance of Diversity in Community and Community Policing

The fabric that builds the Mountain View community is one that is diverse and vibrant. Those who call Mountain View home come from every walk of life, and as a City, we honor those differences, those histories, and we believe that the heart of every community comes not just from what we similarly love, but very much from the beauty of what makes us all unique.

In the week since the death of George Floyd, we have collectively felt the pain, the anger, and the concern regarding what we all horrifically witnessed. Without trust and transparency between those who protect and serve, and those who call their cities, counties, and states home, communities face even further divides that can lead to irreparable damage.

In Mountain View, we believe in honoring and recognizing our diversity and we believe in making every effort to not only acknowledge challenges in our community, but working together to build one another up and move ever forward, together.

“I share in the sorrow and anger our nation has been expressing in the wake of the tragic death of Mr. George Floyd in Minneapolis and stand in solidarity with those who call out the institutionalized racism that has plagued this country. I have always been proud of Mountain View for our great appreciation of our diversity and our efforts to ensure that we are a community for all, which in fact, has been a City Council goal for the last several years,” said Mayor Margaret Abe-Koga. “Our entire City organization is committed to providing exemplary services and assistance to all of our residents with respect, compassion and care. I appreciate our Mountain View Police Department and each of its members who protect our community with those same values and work hard to build connections and trust within our community."

Mountain View Police Chief Max Bosel released a statement on Friday to the Mountain View community regarding the Department’s condemning the actions of Minneapolis police officers that led to the death of George Floyd, as well as a solemn vow to uphold the expectations of the community regarding officer conduct.

“I want to convey my thoughts and feelings of sorrow for the loss of life and violence in Minneapolis, and reflect on the tragic death of George Floyd and its impact on the fabric of the trust and support that all peace officers in our nation rely on to protect and serve,” Bosel said. “This aberrant, inexcusable, and inexplicable incident has angered the policing profession. It goes against the tremendous service many peace officers across this nation perform each and every day.

“At the Mountain View Police Department, we will continue to focus on our commitment to the values, ethical standards, and priorities of our City, our Department and our community. We will continue to do all we can to provide exceptional service to you by working first and foremost with compassion and care for all. We are honored to be able to protect and serve all those who call Mountain View home.”

Deputy Police Chief Chris Hsiung echoed Chief Bosel’s sentiments, saying that in his more than 25 years in law enforcement, the oath to protect and serve all with care and compassion hasn’t changed.

“As someone who has spent more than 25 years in this profession, our oath hasn’t changed from our first day on the job – we promised to protect and serve all of those in our community. We promised to build bridges, not barriers. We promised to be the best we could be, not just for us, but for you,” he said. “To protect and serve applies to all. We, as a profession, must honor that. We must be better. We must never stop trying to be better. And we must continue to build trust and dialogue with the communities we serve.”

The Mountain View Police Department continues to make its policies, procedures, and Policing Plan available to view at any time at mvpd.gov. The Department also incorporates many of President Barack Obama’s 21st Century Policing Task Force Final Report recommendations as part of their operations and training curriculum, which was prepared in 2016 and continues to serve as a model to law enforcement agencies today. For Mountain View, much of what the report recommended was already in practice at the Department before the report was published.

June 4, 2020: City Manager's Statement on Black Lives Matter

I write today to discuss the painful events of the past week and a half, which are layered on top of the challenging last few months. I hope each of you have found support in your colleagues, friends, and family as we navigate through this time and attempt to take positive steps forward.

I wanted to provide a few updates and also share my thoughts on our future.

There is no easy way to discuss the horrific and senseless death of George Floyd. But we cannot turn away from recognizing the violence and racism against Black Americans that has been part of our country’s history. Sometimes this shows up in overt ways, like what we witnessed with Mr. Floyd’s death and many others before him, and other times it is seemingly silent with devastating results. We see this today with COVID-19 deaths disproportionately affecting Black Americans at a faster rate than others, along with higher unemployment rates, lower wages, and unequal access to education.

Addressing these inequalities means having hard conversations with each other about privilege, acknowledging the framework of institutional racism, and seeking to repair and change these entrenched systems.

I have always been proud to tell people that I work in local government. We serve our communities at the most impactful level on a daily basis, and we strive to fulfill the promise of democracy. I know it takes intentional steps to avoid perpetuating the inequalities in our society, and it also means seeking to understand how practices and policies impact some people more than others, even when that is not the intention. I believe there are countless bright examples in our City where we are doing that work, and we have the opportunity to do even more.

Our Police Department is doing tremendous work to serve in true partnership with our diverse community. They have built long-standing relationships in the community and sought mutual understanding, and they have been a policing leader. We implemented officer worn cameras in 2015, years before other agencies took that step. Much of what the department does incorporates President Barak Obama’s 21st Century Policing Task Force report. Many of the recommendations in the report were already in place prior to its publication. They have also been doing the hard work to examine the implicit bias that we all carry, to respond to calls with empathy, train on de-escalation and crisis intervention techniques, and resolve situations with less force. Yesterday, the Police Department created a new webpage dedicated to the many questions they are receiving about their policies. They are committed to maintaining the community’s trust and respect by having these hard conversations and taking steps to help heal the community.

I want to thank Police Chief Max Bosel for his leadership in this regard and also thank each member of our Police Department who is giving their best to Mountain View. Over the last week, we have sent officers to other Bay Area cities to help ensure peaceful protest, and I am grateful they have returned without injury and fulfilled their responsibilities without using force. We have seen the news coverage on how many of these events have unfolded, and we know that police departments strengthen bonds in the community when they can keep the peace with restraint and resolve.

There are two upcoming protests planned in Mountain View. One protest is planned for today, Thursday, at 5pm at San Antonio and El Camino Real. The second is planned for tomorrow, Friday, at 6pm at Castro Street and El Camino Real. We have received information on the protests, and both are expected to be peaceful. We are told that protestors will be spread out on the sidewalks around the protest areas. Our Police Department will monitor the events to support peaceful protest activity.

If there ever was a time to grieve and feel frustrated or angry, it is now. We are at a juncture in history where we can have courageous conversations, build one another up, effect meaningful change, and move forward together. I believe that we can be better as a country, and that we have a special opportunity to support that aspiration in our work here in Mountain View to ensure that all feel welcome, safe, and valued.

- Kimbra McCarthy, Mountain View City Manager

Black Lives Matter

On June 23, 2020, the City Council unanimously adopted a Resolution proclaiming that the City of Mountain View stands in solidarity with its black residents and communities of color and is committed in word and deed to the principle that Black Lives Matter.

Black Lives Matter News Release and Resolution

Opportunities for Engagement

As the movement for racial justice began to sweep the nation at the end of May 2020, and we saw some of the largest protests in Mountain View in recent memory, the City recognized the opportunity and obligation to connect with residents to listen to concerns, provide information, promote dialogue and find a path forward together. Engagement on policing has included the Police Chief meeting with the Human Relations Commission on June 4 and participating in a citywide Town Hall on June 12, 2020. The Police Department continues extensive one-on-one outreach and is planning a series of interactive educational forums (details coming soon).

In addition, the Human Relations Commission (HRC) is planning a series of multilingual listening forums in August to give voice to individual community members who want to share their stories about their experience with policing in Mountain View, with themes to be reported to the Police Department and City Council. Stay tuned for dates and details.

Ad Hoc Council Subcommittee on Race, Equity and Inclusion

On June 9, 2020, Mayor Abe-Koga announced the appointment of an Ad Hoc Council Subcommittee on Race, Equity, and Inclusion to engage the community in meaningful dialog and take action toward a vision of racial justice and equity in Mountain View and renewed public trust in law enforcement. The Subcommittee’s first meeting was on June 30, 2020.

Subcommittee Members

Subcommittee Meetings

June 30, 2020:

August 24, 2020 scheduled.

Focus Areas and Next Steps

Staff is developing a comprehensive Action Plan on Racial Equity and Justice that includes a range of actions such as:

  • Analysis of data on police stops, arrests and other activities to identify any data gaps or areas for exploration
  • Research and recommendation related to community-involved police accountability/oversight models
  • Review of alternative service delivery methods to meet community needs on mental health calls for service
  • HRC Community Engagement Series on Local Policing
  • Police Interactive Educational Forums
  • Production of a Local Voices on Race Video
  • Coordination with Advisory Bodies to work on art displays, poetry, history exhibits, and other activities celebrating diversity
  • Exploration of equity-based budgeting as a framework for considering budget allocations and outcomes through an equity-lens and engaging the community in the budget process
  • Assessment of personnel policies and programs to support workplace diversity and cultural humility
  • Exploration of the impact of historical zoning, land use planning and redlining on communities of color
  • Expansion of multilingual outreach and dialog with Mountain View’s Spanish, Chinese and Russian communities
  • Assessment of equity in sustainability and resilience planning and programs

Contact

Melvin Gaines; Melvin.gaines@mountainview.gov; 650-903-6397