News - June 29, 2011

Atherton: Complaint against police 'unfounded,' investigator says

by Renee Batti

Private investigator David Reuben has concluded that a citizen's complaint against Atherton's police chief and police lieutenant filed by former finance director John Johns is unfounded.

Mr. Reuben, whose background includes a long stint with the San Francisco District Attorney's Office, was hired in April by Atherton's interim city manager, John Danielson, to review Mr. Johns' complaint that a prior investigation into his allegations of wrongdoing by the police department was tainted. That investigation had been done by Pete Peterson, the former police chief of Clayton, California, and also concluded that Mr. Johns' complaints were unfounded.

In his latest formal complaint, Mr. Johns had alleged that Chief Mike Guerra and Lt. Joe Wade denied him "the right to a (proper), thorough and timely investigation of the citizen's complaints I filed during the time frame of February 2010 through January 2011."

Those allegations stemmed from his August 2007 detainment by police at the Atherton Town Center, when he was on paid administrative leave while being investigated by the town. Mr. Johns had accused members of the police department of evidence tampering, falsification of a police report, unlawful search and seizure, and illegal detention.

Soon after the 2007 incident, Mr. Johns was fired; he then successfully sued the town for wrongful termination.

In a press release issued Friday afternoon (June 24), the town announced: "Following an exhaustive review of all documents submitted to the town ... over the last several years, a review of Peterson's investigation, and follow up interviews with relevant personnel (including Mr. Johns), it has been determined that no evidence was uncovered to suggest that investigator Peterson's inquiry was improper or incomplete in any way.

"On the contrary, Peterson did an extremely thorough and exhaustive review of Mr. Johns' complaint and was not influenced in any way by the police department or any individuals."

Reached by phone, Mr. Johns first joked that he was "absolutely thrilled that everyone in the Atherton police department is innocent." He concluded: "I thank the town for looking into my allegations, and other than that I really don't have anything to say. I accept the findings of Mr. Reuben."


There are no comments yet for this post

Post a comment

Posting an item on Town Square is simple and requires no registration. Just complete this form and hit "submit" and your topic will appear online. Please be respectful and truthful in your postings so Town Square will continue to be a thoughtful gathering place for sharing community information and opinion. All postings are subject to our TERMS OF USE, and may be deleted if deemed inappropriate by our staff.

We prefer that you use your real name, but you may use any "member" name you wish.

Name: *

Select your neighborhood or school community: * Not sure?

Choose a category: *

Since this is the first comment on this story a new topic will also be started in Town Square! Please choose a category that best describes this story.

Comment: *

Verification code: *
Enter the verification code exactly as shown, using capital and lowercase letters, in the multi-colored box.

*Required Fields