Chief Mills Discusses Racism in Black and White

Tensions between law enforcement and people of color have been highlighted for the last couple of years. Deaths of black men and boys named Michael Brown, Eric Garner, Tamir Rice, and Freddie Gray have become part of the national conversation. Another black man was shot yesterday by a police officer in the Southern California city of El Cajon. Regardless of the justification for his death, the cycle of violence and protests seems poised to begin again.

Chief Andrew Mills

Chief Andrew Mills from his Twitter account.

Before the shooting, Eureka Police Chief Andrew Mills, sent out the following attempt to defuse racial tensions in his city. He asked the media to not release this piece until 7 a.m. today.

The tension in our nation between the black community and the police is palpable. It feels like one bad incident and cities will burn…again. Recently Elizabeth (Liz) Smith, member of the Eureka Chapter of the NAACP and Executive Director of the Boys & Girls Club of the Redwoods, had a cup of coffee with me to discuss issues of race, policing and justice. Both of us felt we should lead a discussion locally.

In late August Liz and I assembled a small group of police officers and people of color.

Liz Smith from her LinkedIn profile

Liz Smith from her LinkedIn profile.

We held a private function where we broke bread, threw the cards on the table and had open, honest and sincere dialogue. (Thank you Redwood Capital Bank and the Ingomar Club.) The level of openness at this initial meeting is debatable, but I saw a group of smart, dedicated professional people (community and police) who were direct, honest and open about their perceptions and experience. Each person listened intently to one another seeking to understand. The discussion was enlightening, powerful and humbling.

If we stop here we have failed. We must push on to a place where all people are respected and feel safe. A place where we reach toward the high ideals of the Reverend Doctor Martin Luther King Jr. who said, “Hatred paralyzes life; love releases it. Hatred confuses life; love harmonizes it. Hatred darkens life; love illuminates it.”

Over the upcoming year, the NAACP and EPD will host a broader community meeting to discuss race, policing and justice. Eureka, we can show the world how love works. We can meet and respectfully discuss tough topics, listen to each other and create a path forward, together. A path not determined by political party, but rather a highway of compassionate discourse and understanding, fairness and hope.

Martin Luther King

Martin Luther King [Portrait by Betsy G. Reyneau, Public Domain]

Monday, January 16, 2017, is MLK day. Members of the NAACP and EPD will stand for justice by marching together from EPD to the Adorni Center. There, we can celebrate Dr. King and continue to pursue his ideals. In a small way fulfill his dream. When protestors in Selma, Alabama, crested the bridge in 1965, peaceful protesters were met by riot police with tear gas and night sticks. Here we can dim that vision of travesty, honoring the memory of civil rights advocates by marching arm-in-arm as we crest the 5th Street hill walking toward the courthouse. Lastly, we can mentor. The Boys & Girls Club needs responsible adults who are willing to serve as positive guides to kids, many are people of color, and help them succeed. Eureka this is your opportunity to help heal the racial divide. I would also invite people of color to mentor EPD. Teach us. Help us navigate the turbulence of policing a free society where people of color often feel singled out for enforcement and are disenfranchised from government. Teach us to understand fairness and aide our implementation of procedural justice through fairness.

Then, just maybe, Eureka can demonstrate to the world what a just and free society looks like. Peace, civility and hope can be palpable also.



  • Every life matters!!!love peace,and maybe someday,peace will end WAR

    • Henchman Of Justice

      Fuck loving evil, and until all evil is dead, war and local situations will “carry on your wayward son…….”

      Peace is overrated too because mouthy people of political influence spout shit they will never adhere to which suggests the word peace has been hijacked for negative ulterior political purposes.

      Peace is as worn out as Hope…..look at a bum to understand metaphorically.

  • I like some of the quotes about love from Martin Luther King .The reality is many of these communities in the inner cities
    Have high rates of drug abuse and dealing and black markets in drugs there animosity towards law-enforcement is a direct result of not wanting to be punished or held accountable . Using an excuse to create a crisis that doesn’t exist except through their actions . So that they can continue on the path of destruction and addiction only healing and love will pull us out and some true honesty wouldn’t hurt either .

    • This is a typical racist view. Crime follows poverty. Crime is a symptom of poverty, not vice versa. People in poverty, especially the black community, get trapped in a cycle of imprisonment and poverty. It’s institutional. It’s not really even a stretch to say it’s intentional. White supremacy is real. Look at the system we have created to keep people of color locked up and poor.

      • Calling someone a racist that doesn’t agree with your view certainly doesn’t seem helpful in the dialogue of conversation . The community I live in is full of white rural poverty. Was it created intentionally most likely the answer is yes play for pay and many other games were used to destroy a once proud community .

      • And this is a typical liberal response.
        Shall we continue?

      • You are exactly correct Joey. Thanks for your post

      • Plenty of impoverished white trash people around the country that commit crimes ….. how is his statement racist again …. ???

      • I didn’t read it that way. No racist types of references and could apply to any community, Asian, black, latino, white. Did I miss something, or do you just jump on the racist rant at the drop of a hat?

      • We have a black president Joey. I get that there are pockets of unjust treatment but as a whole I think we are doing ok.

        • obama is halfrican american

          obama is half black. we’ll never have a black president, this land was conquered by white puritans and “our” government remains in their control.

          • obama is halfrican american

            …obama has never even refered to himself as black. not once. hes spoken of his heritage but has never identified. hes as white as a half black/white person can be. its like a big joke to appease the masses.

      • People like Joey are exactly the problem. Perpetuating myths that excuse black people’s actions while blaming it on racism only exacerbates the problem. There is plenty of data out there to show that crime DOES cause poverty, not the other way round. Joey is not interested in that data, only in the narrative. Unemployment rising and falling do not always match neatly with crime rate statistics. Self loathing whites like Joey and veterans friend would rather pat themselves on the back, claiming to be standing up for blacks, while in reality, ignoring the actual data and facing the uncomfortable facts. If you point out the facts, Joey calls you racist. This is why liberals suck.
        The FACT is that blacks DO commit more crime. Sorry if that makes you indignant but it doesn’t make ME racist. Blaming [edit] only fans the flames of racism. FACT: more whites per ca pita are shot during encounters with police if you look at how many encounters police have with the races. They are not having more encounters with blacks simply because they are racist but because blacks commit more crime. Again, sorry if that FACT makes you uneasy. The reasons blacks commit more crimes are numerous but blaming it on racism does nothing to solve the problem. I’m so sick and f!@#% tired of this race bating bullshit. I agree that cops in America are out of control, too militant, and unaccountable for their actions. I believe there is an epidemic of police shooting citizens that has been co opted by BLM and ignorant antagonists like some of the commenters here. The recent Tulsa cop shooting APPEARS to show an officer shooting an innocent man in the back. If all is as it appears she should be convicted and sentenced. But equating cases like Michael Brown with the shooting of an innocent man discredits the movement. Walking around saying: hands up don’t shoot and blaming everything on racism pisses off regular people and diverts attention from the very real problem of police violence. I, for one, am SIIIICK of being labeled as a racist because of the mere fact that I am white and I disagree with you.

  • Everyone I know from around here that’s in prison is white. This is a problem in the majority of city’s but I don’t believe eureka is one of them the problem in eureka is drugs.

  • Hopefully blacks start to realize that they only make up a small percentage of the population in the U.S but account for majority of the violent/non-violent crime. Studies have proven that poverty is not the driving factor, seems color is. There’s some sort of cultural behavior that’s the underlined problem here. Hopefully people like Liz can start to teach how to break this racial/cultural divide.

    • Wow! Uhhhh ok, keep telling yourself that. Where’s the exit please? I thought this was a sheet mending class, not a sheet wearing class.

  • Henchman Of Justice


    1) faux words for sensationalism of melodrama for political groupees.

    2) The op ed was released early 1:00 am as HOJ responded to Mills in writing and viola, epd’s Mills does not “notice folks” that comments won’t be published, even though “he misleads people that email addresses won’t be published.”

    Lack of trust again exposed……say one thing but really mean that…… or empty words that never apply because the reality disproves the horse shit that comes out in oral or scribed form.

    3) Again, who believes gubbamint or groups will do anything tangible…..change is a faux word.

    4) poor training, bigotry, racism, bullying, self righteousness……that is a swine in a nutshell, blanketed pigs in a bun……Mills is like the rest of the chumps that come along attempting to cover for cops, nothing changes…….two liars for prez, the lesser of two evils is still evil, and here is Mills shmoozing locals, pweeze…….Mills will never be “all other cops under his command”……ya, think about that clueless power tripping……as if the chief is in control, what a hoot.

  • In any community where drugs and the bad life styles that come with are rampant, there is going to be more trouble. Violence, drugs and gangs/police violence are a connected issue. Both need fixing or the cycle will continue. People of every make and model need to improve their life goals and behaviors.

  • People are going to disagree, but I see this as a great step forward. Not just for the BLM movement, but for opening up communications between law enforcement and it’s citizens they are sworn to protect. If you happen to have met the cop who is pulling you over, vice versa, there are much better odds for a better interaction. There should be more “meet and greets” with our police. See them as people, not just law enforcement, and for police to see us as people, not just potential criminals. Fear levels would decrease if we all knew each other in one way or the other. Kudos to everyone who attended that meeting and for trying to have an open dialogue about issues nobody wants to talk about, but would rather fight over.

  • We all need to start somewhere,and this might get the ball rolling.instead of bitching about let’s try!!!and yes PEACE is the ultimate again a shooter enter a school and started shooting,at TEACHers,and kids in N/C!This MUST STOP.people use guns to solve their tend to listen with a gun in your face.i guess if you have nothing your not losing nothing.heard that a few times.SAD

  • Poverty ->Crime. Are black communities typically poorer than other races due to a history of racism, or due to their own culture? Both?

    Is Asian success simply a matter of positive Asian stereotyping, on the part of white people?

    Resisting arrest seems to be a cultural practice for black americans. Remember, in almost every single case the media feeds us of cops v blacks, the black person was resisting arrest.

  • Honeydew Bridge Chump

    What’s with the picture on the right?
    It looks racist to me.
    Was is some fb meme that is being complained about?

    This entire story lost me and I don’t understand what the meaning is.

  • I can’t stand this guy. Total hypocrite. Hire more detectives Chief Mills and make sure they do their job and arrest the criminals who commit violent crimes in Eureka. One excuse after another why my sons perpetrator hasn’t been arrested. It makes me sick! Lies upon lies. Look in your own department. There lays the biggest problem in Eureka.

  • More people are killed by cops in America than any other first-world nation and more so than most third world Nations. There are also more whites killed each year by cops than any other racial group in America. This is not a racial thing, it’s an accountability thing. Cops have become Above the Law and are not held to account when they fucked up. There are very few professions in the world were you can get away with literal murder without being fired or held accountable, but more and more not only cop but all government “officials” are becoming more and more above the law. We see this with countless members of our government including the president of the United States and one of the presumptive nominee to become president of the United States. When the highest offices in the land are not held accountable for the illegal actions they partake in why should anybody? And as a PostScript if you do not want to be shot by a cop drop the fucking gun when they ask you to and quit acting like a fucking Thug. As far as the poor gentleman who was executed standing next to his vehicle doing absolutely nothing wrong that cop should certainly be not only fired but put in jail for manslaughter, at least she is being charged with manslaughter but we’ll see how the prosecution shakes out.

  • Thank you for being proactive!

  • I was pulled over the other day by a female cop. She says she pulled me over because i didn’t use the correct lane while turning left on a two lane road entering a two lane road(no middle lane) she spoke of white lines on roadway that do not exist. I felt compelled to say, ma’am, there is only two lanes, I was in the correct lane and as you can see, no white lines at all. She asked me if I was lost and was extremely disrespectful in her language. I just said I was sorry and I understand even though she was completely incorrect in all that she was saying. She did not cite me and I went on my way. It seems to me that the situation could have escalated in a bad direction had I not just kissed her butt.

    • I used to think that the police were there to help. I am not so sure today. After two suspicious deaths at my old apartment building in Arcata which were caused by a gang of tweeker thugs, (I can say that because I am a witness) all of the nonviolent people had to move away. Good people who had lived there for years chose to become homeless (some of them elderly) because the police wouldn’t or couldn’t do their job. I don’t have any faith in them anymore. I will never forget just how wrong this is. Rip Randy and Hal.

  • The poor guy in El Cajon did a bad move. The cop didn’t know what was being aimed at him. It was an eCig mod. Be careful out there vapers!

    For those who still relish old black & white movies, you might enjoy this one. By chance, I just watched it yesterday & here we are now, talking about racial tensions.
    It’s a good story, at least I thought so.
    Pinky, (1949),

  • good deal, lets hold hands and love eachother, openly and honestly. so how about the police department release the video of their officer beating up a 14 year old kid before arresting him?

    • Henchman Of Justice

      ws Blog
      Eureka Takes Police Video Fight to the Supreme Court
      by Thadeus Greenson
      September 30, 2016




      Since 2008, the Eureka Police Department has outfitted all of its patrol cars with Watch Guard cameras. Who gets to see the footage they collect remains up for debate. – PHOTO BY THADEUS GREENSON
      photo by Thadeus Greenson
      Since 2008, the Eureka Police Department has outfitted all of its patrol cars with Watch Guard cameras. Who gets to see the footage they collect remains up for debate.

      The city of Eureka is trying to keep its recent appellate court loss from setting a statewide precedent.

      In July, the First District Court of Appeals rebuffed the city’s effort to block release of a video depicting the arrest of a 14-year-old suspect, ruling that the video — and others like it — could not be considered a confidential police officer personnel record, which receive special protections against public disclosure. The appellate court published the ruling, meaning it would become case law and set a precedent throughout the state.

      But the city has now petitioned the state Supreme Court to depublish the July decision, which wouldn’t impact the court’s order that the specific video in question be released but would keep the decision from becoming case law and guiding future court rulings. And, in a rare move, on its own motion, the Supreme Court has extended its deadline for deciding whether to take up a full review of the appellate case — a review that would venture beyond the publication question.

      The nuances of how this case meandered through the court system are somewhat complex, but the basics are as follows. On Dec. 6, 2012, Eureka police officers arrested a 14-year-old and one of the involved officers, Sgt. Adam Laird, was accused of using excessive force and criminally charged with assault. In court, Laird argued that he acted reasonably but that his fellow officers essentially set him up and withheld evidence of his innocence from prosecutors. Laird ultimately retired from EPD after settling a claim he brought against the city alleging that the city violated his rights in its handling of the case. He now works as a local private investigator.

      The juvenile’s arrest, meanwhile, was captured on the dash-mounted video recording device in one of the responding EPD patrol cars. After the criminal case against Laird was dismissed, the Journal submitted a California Public Records Act Request asking for a copy of the video — a request the city denied, citing the discretionary exemptions for police investigative files and personnel records. The Journal then filed a petition in juvenile court under Welfare and Institutions Code 827, which carves out a process for members of the public to access juvenile court records.

      On May 21, 2015, Humboldt County Superior Court Judge Christopher Wilson granted the Journal’s petition, finding the public interest in releasing the video outweighed any privacy concerns, and ordered the video released. The city then appealed, arguing Wilson erred in his ruling and his interpretation of the law.

      Some 14 months later, the appellate court decided that Wilson got it right, finding that the video “is simply a visual record of the minor’s arrest” and couldn’t be considered a confidential police officer’s personnel record as it wasn’t generated as a part of a process to review or discipline an officer. The city’s argument to the contrary, the court stated, “would improperly sweep virtually all [police videos] into the protected category of personnel records.”

      In the city’s request for depublication (viewable here) submitted to the Supreme Court last week, City Attorney Cyndy Day-Wilson makes two central arguments: That the court’s published opinion would create confusion on the issue and that it based its decision on an incomplete record of the lower court proceedings. To the confusion piece, Day-Wilson argues that the court never specifically addressed the “interplay” between the legal statutes that protect confidential police officer personnel records — known collectively as Pitchess — and Welfare and Institutions Code 827, which governs the release of juvenile court records.

      “The case may confuse the bench and the bar by creating the appearance the Welfare and institutions Code section 827 sidesteps the protections of Pitchess,” Day-Wilson wrote.

      As to the incomplete record, under appellate rules the appealing party is responsible for providing the court with a record of all the lower court filings and proceedings that led to the decision being appealed. In this case, Day-Wilson was unable to locate and obtain a transcript from one of the court appearances before Judge Wilson. “The opinion was reached based upon an incomplete factual record, and the lack of a complete record undercuts its reasoning,” Day-Wilson wrote.

      The Supreme Court received letters from five entities opposing the city’s depublication request: the Journal, the American Civil Liberties Union’s California affiliates, the California Newspaper Publisher’s Association (CNPA), Arcata attorney and Executive Director of the Humboldt Center for Constitutional Rights Jeffrey Schwartz and Californians Aware, a nonprofit largely dedicated to increasing access to public information. (Click the hyperlinks to read each entity’s letter.) The city saw no letters submitted by outside entities supporting its request.

      The letters opposing the city’s request combine to argue that the appellate court’s ruling was accurate and valuable, and that depublication would have broad impacts.

      Schwartz and the CNPA, which represents nearly 1,400 newspapers throughout the state, argued that depublication of the opinion would encourage police agencies throughout the state to sweep all police videos under the umbrella of confidential police officer personnel records, which could shield public access and tie up the courts.

      As to the city’s argument that the opinion creates confusion by failing to address the interplay between laws governing the release of juvenile court information and those protecting police officer personnel records, Californians Aware argues there is no confusion at all. The court determined the arrest video “was generated independently and in advance of the administrative investigation” and concluded the video can’t be considered a confidential personnel record that would warrant Pitchess protections, Terry Francke, the nonprofit’s general counsel, writes.

      “The city of Eureka, in requesting depublication, does not take issue with these conclusions but instead ignores them,” Francke writes.

      As to Day-Wilson’s charge that the missing transcript undermines the court’s opinion, Paul Nicholas Boylan, a Davis attorney representing the Journal, points out that it’s the appealing party’s responsibility to provide the court with the record. If a transcript was missing, it was the city’s responsibility to either find it or take other steps to provide the court with the information it would have contained.

      Meanwhile, the ACLU used Day-Wilson’s own words against her, pointing out that she’d argued before the appellate court that the missing transcript was “irrelevant” because this was a matter of “statutory interpretation.”

      “The city should not be permitted to take the position before the Court of Appeal that the facts are irrelevant and no factual submissions are necessary, and then request depublication of an unfavorable decision on grounds that the court did not have all the facts,” the ACLU writes.

      “To the extent that the opinion discussed any factual background,” the ACLU’s letter continues, “it was the undisputed manner and purpose for which the video was generated — independently and in advance of the ensuing administrative investigation — that the court found dispositive as a matter of law. Nothing in the transcript could alter that basic fact or undermine the conclusion that followed.”

      Back in August, we reported that the city had already spent at least $7,683 appealing Wilsons’ ruling, in addition to an unknown amount of staff time. If the appellate ruling stands, it also allows Boylan, the Journal’s attorney, to recoup his costs and fees from the city.

      Days after the appellate ruling, Boylan sent Day-Wilson an email urging her not to take the matter any further.

      “I am not posturing when I say that, should you appeal this further, you won’t win,” Boylan wrote. “Although anything is possible, a reversal of the Appellate Court’s opinion is extremely unlikely for a bunch of procedural and substantive reasons. Further appeal will do nothing but waste more public employee time and more taxpayer money. Further litigation will only drive up the fees and costs the city will inevitably be ordered to pay.”

      It’s worth noting that the case has only been agendized once for closed session discussion with the Eureka City Council since the appellate court’s ruling, and the council announced no final action. It’s unclear who ultimately decided to pursue depublication. Councilmembers Linda Atkins, Marian Brady and Kim Bergel declined to comment on the matter, as did Mayor Frank Jager. Councilmembers Natalie Arroyo and Melinda Ciarabellini didn’t return Journal calls seeking comment.

      In an email responding to the Journal’s inquiry as to who made the call to pursue depublication, City Manager Greg Sparks said the city attorney told him not to respond because the case “is in litigation and could not be commented upon.” Day-Wilson did not respond to a Journal email seeking comment.

      Under its motion, the Supreme Court has until Nov. 17 to decide how to proceed with the case.

      For more on the appellate case, see past Journal coverage here and here. And to track the case as it proceeds on the Supreme Court docket, click here.

      • Henchman Of Justice

        Can’t imagine fair minded, reasonable people could or would trust the Eureka Police Department with secret policies, elusive practices, poor training, failing hiring practices, etc….

        Have a stupendously wonderful weekend and be safe. 😃

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