By Robert Haugh
In mid April, Santa Clara resident Debbie Aligieri made a public records act request for police reports related to Councilman Kevin Park. They were for police visits to his home in 2017 and 2018, before he was elected to the Council last year.
Algieri received the reports days after her request. But then she was contacted by Assist Police Chief Wahid Kazem and was told to destroy them. He said that information had to be redacted.
Aligieri didn’t think that was right and wrote an op ed about it.
Aligieri also called into the City Council meeting last month and informed the Council that she has filed a complaint with the District Attorney Jeff Rosen‘s office.
According to sources, Kazem took over the department’s handling of the reports about the incidents at Parks’ home only after Algieri received the original, unredacted reports. Then between April 20 and 23, Kazem took steps to redact them.
Kazem contacted Algieri on April 23 with the redacted reports.
The very next day, Kazem was given an award by the Silicon Valley Korean American Federation. Kazem appeared at the April 24, 2 pm event to receive his award and pose with a group including Park.
This is a developing story.
The City of Santa Clara wants to set the record straight on multiple items in this story that are implied but are not factual.
Assistant Chief of Police Wahid Kazem oversees the department’s investigative and administrative services, including the Records Unit that handles all public record act requests. The department is required by law to release information that includes the type of call for service, date, time, and location. This information was never redacted from the documents. After a review of a PRA by the City Attorney’s Office, they discovered that some of the information inadvertently included was exempt from releasing publicly and should have been redacted since the information implicated medical privacy rights, reporting party and witness contact information, and public employee personal contact information.
When it was brought to Assistant Chief Kazem’s attention that the Santa Clara Police Department (SCPD) inadvertently released police records without proper redaction, he reached out to the requestor and respectfully asked that the unredacted documents that were released be destroyed (see, e.g., Ardon v. City of Los Angeles (2016) 62 Cal.4th 1176, 1182–1183; Newark Unified School Dist. v. Superior Court (2015) 245 Cal.App.4th 887, 894). The California Public Records Act contains requirements for redaction by public agencies to balance the public’s right to know with residents’ rights to privacy. The requestor was sent a properly redacted copy of the records. A copy of the City’s communication with the requester and the City’s properly redacted documents for the PRA can be viewed here: SantaClaraCA.gov/home/showdocument?id=72789.
The story above implies that Assistant Chief Kazem told the requester that she was required to destroy records containing information about police visits to Kevin Park’s home in 2017 and 2018. That is not true. The information redacted was medical-related and protected under the law (Government Code 6254(c)). The SCPD is required by law to release certain information, which they did.
Also, the story infers that there is a connection between Councilmember Park and Assistant Chief Kazem receiving an award from the Silicon Valley Korean American Federation (SVKAF) on April 24, 2021. The event was organized by SVKAF several weeks in advance to educate the AAPI community and encourage members of that community to report hate crimes. The Police Chief was also invited to this event but was not available to attend. Assistant Chief Kazem had never met or spoken directly to Councilmember Park prior to the April 24, 2021 community event. There is absolutely no connection to the award from SVKAF for Assistant Chief Kazem’s continuous efforts to support the AAPI community and many other disenfranchised communities in redacting medical-related information protected under the law.
The City of Santa Clara has been and will continue to be transparent, truthful, and follow the law, which is why we provided a copy of the communication with the requestor and the properly redacted documents, available at the following link: SantaClaraCA.gov/home/showdocument?id=72789.
After reading the rebuttal post from the City there are still several major unanswered questions. 1. Is Kevin Park a domestic violence abuser. 2. Is Park’s wife safe or is she in danger. 3. The released info from the PRA is only a dispatch takers call log. Why is there not any associated police reports for these domestic violence calls. We know that the 2017 call Park’s wife told the dispatcher that Park had hurt her, the police responded and was on the scene for about an hour. In the 2018 call Park himself called stating that he was concerned that his wife was going to call the police stating that he had hurt her, this time no police response at all not even a check to make sure she was ok. Both of these incidents are domestic violence related but no police reports to document any hint of an investigation. Since Assistant Chief Kazem oversees investigations and the report records unit, maybe he can answer as to why there was no investigation or reports taken on either incident.
Kazeem is covering his own A$$. In 2017-2018 he was in charge of patrol functions for the PD. He either made the decision to not investigate Parks domestic violence cases himself or bowed to then Chief Mike Sellers cover up, either way Kazeem must now attempt to sweep this whole thing under the rug, how would it look if the public were to find out that he was instrumental in a domestic violence victim remaining a victim, still at the hands of her abuser. It is sad, Santa Clara will never change.
Or is two, three million dollars, how much will they spend to buy the next election for Chief of Police? Is Assist Police Chief Wahid Kazem covering up for Kevin Park? He is certainly trying to gain favor with Park and the asian community. I only hope that District Attorney Rosen puts the politics aside and fully investigates the multiple Kevin Park domestic violence incidents. Time for Santa Clara citizens to start asking these questions at all city council meetings until fully investigated.
Interesting thought, Kazem is a hold over and promoted quickly up the ranks under Mike Sellers. Sellers is listed as a director of the 49er PAC that spent over 3 million to buy Park, Becker and Jain’s council seats. Would one really believe that the second in command of the SCPD routinely reviews and redacts incident reports or was Kevin Park given special treatment again. Finally, it sure looks suspicious that Kazem is given an award by Kevin Park the day after the redaction that removed Kevin Parks name off all reports. Oh and Park failed to list on his required monthly meeting calendar the meeting/ceremony of the Silicon Valley Korean American Federation or being with Kazem at that meeting.
I was an attendee in a council cmte mtg this afternoon. Becker Park and Watanabe are on cmte.Talk about a hot mic! Just as mtg was to start it was obvious there was an altercation in the Park household. A woman’s voice was clearly yelling’mine! mine! mine! Someone told Park to mute the hot mic and he said something about moving things. I sure hope that was recorded! There is obviously *stuff* going on in THAT house!!
Was there an indication what the award was for?