Rogues in the Ranks

 

The Fly is a weekly column written by San Jose Inside staff that provides a behind-the-scenes look at local politics.

46 Comments

  1. You failed to mention the bad apples of the media who put their spin on the issues. Perhaps, “The Fly” failed to mention it because they are a “bad apple” and “butthead” too!

    This has by far the worst piece of editorial or “journalism” I have read on this site. Maybe because the writer was recovering from a night of excessive drinking.

    After reading this article/editorial/blog I have one last thought; be wary of the Rogue Media and their political agenda!

  2. What a waste of law enforcement resources! Busting a journalist for taking a cell phone photo is the kind of thing we expect from places run by guys like Mugabe. Where‘s the transparency? Thanks for continuing to get the word out about this. Maybe we should take up a collection to pay your fine. Hopefully Chief Davis will wake up and realize how his troops are alienating the good people of this community.

  3. Downtowner, did you even bother to read the piece, which generally praised the police for their adept handling of the situation?
    And, no, the author was returning from Mountain View and stopped to talk to a friend who was doing a ridealong. It was not a night of drinking and clubbing. Sorry, your speculation is without merit. The reporting is what happened, the good and the bad. You’re the one with an agenda.

  4. The Fly,

    Please in the future refrain from referring to
    the drunk wagon as the “paddy wagon”. That is a slang term which is very derogatory to the Irish for whom it was coined when they were immigrants to this country. Thank you.

  5. #3- The Fly?
    “Downtowner, did you even bother to read the piece, which generally praised the police for their adept handling of the situation?” I read it, and I DO NOT agree with your perception either. Further, SJI is a discussion blog that not only allows, but encourages differing views on topics posted here. Or has that policy changed now since the Metro invasion? Also there’s the nasty First Amednment that guarrentees us the right to freedom of thought and expression, or don’t you think that applies past the press?

  6. Fly,

    After rereading your article, which officers are you referring to who are the “Rogues in the Ranks”? Just the fact you titled your article “Rogues in the Ranks” shows your bias at the outset. So what if an officer has a knee on an out of control suspects back to control him? What would you do? And as far as getting cited for walking in the street your friend can take it to court and win the case if it was given in error. Neither officer was rogue or deserved to be labeled as such. Your type of journalism is what is putting the Mercury out of business.

  7. #1-SJ Downtowner 70 in San Jose,
    Now you don’t seriously expect fair, accurate columns on serious topics like this from PAID writers that earn a living from a magazine that sells pages, and pages of massage ads in it do you? And you can’t really expect people to support the SJPD, “when several fights spilled into the street and a metal crowd control barrier toppled over. Police standing by quickly grabbed and handcuffed the suspected combatants to maintain order and assure a smooth, safe exit for patrons.” Or when, “patrons as they shuffled to their cars, a couple of whom paused to vomit on local businesses,” was occurring!  No, we aren’t supposed to expect our Police Officers to do their jobs by keeping order, or protecting innocent citizens and property owners from these drunken idiots. We are supposed to feel sorry for some photo-taking reporter who is interfering with the Police, and thus by doing so, possibly endangering innocent citizens. We are supposed to hold the POLICE responsible for everything that criminals do wrong downtown! Get it! wink

    To the Fly:

    “Attitudes towards policing in central Los Angeles were cited at a key reason in the failure to obtain a conviction in the O.J. Simpson murder trial. The same phenomenon can happen here if police brass doesn’t control the rogues in its ranks.”

    Of course O.J. getting off scott-free had nothing to do with the fact that the media had a field day misrepresenting the facts, or that O.J. was rich, or that he was an African American sports icon that was playing the race card every chance he got, or that he had the best attorney’s injustice could buy, or a jury composed of some men/women who didn’t believe in interracial relationships, and based their opinions of his guilt or innocence solely on his RACE not the evidence. Nor did the fact that the DA’s Office didn’t have a millionaire’s budget to work with like O.J. did, nor did they have a huge well paid staff and resources to put together a better case, nor did they have star status either. They had a bigot named Mark Freeman, but hey every department has its idiot racist’s right?
    I guess the horrific deaths of two, young, innocent people weren’t as important to the press or jurors as helping a sports star get off, and bashing the Police were.

    I find it very odd that in every scenario that the Metro writes about that has anything to do with Police involvement, that victim’s rights are ignored, that criminal’s behaviors are always over looked, and that the Police get blamed for everything criminals do. Jeez, I guess we can thank God for Karma, or O.J would still be walking the streets committing armed robbery, and thinking he is above the law!

  8. Hats off to The Fly for encouraging a stronger sense of community. The police are a key part of that as their behavior sets the tone for everyone else.

  9. 7 – If you are going to launch a tirade against the media you really should make sure your comments are 100% accurate. FYI – It was Mark Fuhrman, not Mark Freeman.

  10. #4 Apologies to anyone who took the reference to paddywagon the wrong way. Wikipedia defines it as a slang term for “a police vehicle used to transport large groups of people who have been arrested.” Its etymology is either from the padding inside the wagons or the clipped form of “Patrick,” sometimes used as a slur against Irish-Americans.
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Paddywagon

    #5: Kathleen, thanks for your defense of the First Amendment. Metro is happy to pay for the servers to host your cheap shots at Metro.

    #6: The suspect was already handcuffed and on the ground, so use of force would have been gratuitous at that point, if it was applied. That will never be know because of the police force’s apparent policy of citing observers who come close enough to see what’s going on.

    NEW INFO: Club management confirms that two one-on-one fights occurred outside the club, one of which was brought under control by club security, the other by SJPD.

  11. I recently watched an episode of “Cops” that was filmed in London. I was impressed by their low-key approach and the positive results they obtained by talking to and treating people with dignity and respect— even drunken louts.

    On the other hand, there is nothing easier in this world than avoiding confrontations with the police.

    So cops, try being civil to people.

    And drunken idiots, you got what was coming to you.

  12. #10 Fly
    “The suspect was already handcuffed and on the ground, so use of force would have been gratuitous at that point, if it was applied.”

    After looking again at the photo the person who is handcuffed had legs and feet, unless those were great prosthetics. Handcuffs take away the hands to a point but he sure likes he could still kick, headbutt or run away if he got on his feet. Putting a knee on his back was controlling the suspect in not allowing him to turn over or get up, not a “use of force” (ie baton, taser etc). The officers used that degree of control necessary to effect an arrest as they are allowed under the law and they showed great restraint with an obviously combative drunk idiot.

  13. #9-Jimmy Olsen, a mere typo. Thanks for the correction!

    The Fly,
    “Kathleen thanks for your defense of the First Amendment. Metro is happy to pay for the servers to host your cheap shots at Metro.”

    Cheap shots at the Metro?  It seems to me that the Metro is paying for something all right and that is the right to hold a double standard, when it comes to exercising freedom of thought and speech. Exercising my right to challenge your perception of the facts, and your bias reporting should be something your paper supports, not censors. By not posting my comments for others to see, but responding to them publicly so no one knows what you are referring to is censorship, and is lacking in integrity and fairness is it not? It certainly shows we SJI folks who is running the show now, and it isn’t the original founder of this blog because neither Tom, nor Jack would ever have pulled the stunt you just did. Who are you by the way? Inquiring minds want to know? wink

  14. #12

    Steve, The guy whose legs you see is the cop who gave the citation to the photographer.

    The arrested suspect is underneath him

  15. #14 the guy whose legs I see in your photo is wearing jeans.  Cops don’t wear jeans.  And the jeaned legs appear to be kicking.  The arrestee is also face up, which means his back is on the ground, thus the cop could not have his knee on the arrestee’s back.  And the cop’s legs are straight, not bent into the arrestee’s back, as you claim.

  16. #19—yeah, the citation does seem chicken shit at first blush.  But did we get a full and accurate recitation from Fly re his interaction with the cops? 

    I’ve looked at the picture a number of times, and see nothing roguish. Indeed, four of the five cops are just standing around, much like CalTrans employees, while one guy works the citizen.

  17. hey Steve,

    If your cop friend with, count em, five additional officers standing above him or her is so afraid of a handcuffed drunk idiot that he or she has to assault the suspect.  Maybe the person isn’t fit to be an officer!  The officer seems like a sissy to me!

  18. There are two issues here, both seem interrelated, and then they are not related.

    Press credentials are issued to allow journalists to monitor and record events, and should be honored.

    Journalists, when they can, should not become part of the story by attempting to get the story.  It is not an easy thing to do, and the photographer in question did have a right to be on the scene.

    Club owners and their patrons have a legal right to maintain their club scene in the early morning hours.  It is in their permit.

    There is no more challenging job, unless it is being a firefighter, in our country than being a police officer.  When you are right, there many people happy to think you are wrong.

    This is not a zero sum situation at all.

    Downtown San Jose is out of control, there is no one connected with Mayor Reed that seems competent to handle it.  Sooner or later, there will be a major incident.  It will not be the fault of the police, but they will be expected to handle it, and the press along with the public, who will be caught up in it for being there at the wrong place at the wrong time, will suffer from it.  Reed will be focused on his casseroles and Ajlouny ponzi schemes.  Time to shove all the lawbreakers that are causing this in the namturky wagon.

  19. The first paragraph of this article is fairly competent recitation of facts as the reporter saw them. The rest is an opinion piece without any pretense of objective journalism.

    Metro/Fly is entitled to it’s opinions, but I find it interesting that Fly is so damned defensive when readers question their facts or conclusions. Do they feel that their version of events is above criticism?

    The article also fails readers in one very important respect that goes to the heart of the difference between blogs and serious journalism: Nowhere in the article is there an attempt to present the SJPDs version of events. Was the metro reporter really as innocent as presented? Did the reporter interfere with police? Metro says no, but Police obviously disagree. With SJPD facing so much scrutiny these days it seems unlikely the cops would bust a reporter, in front of lots of witnesses, for simply taking a picture. So why not present both sides of the story?

  20. I would suggest that before commenting on the Downtown San Jose club situation, everyone should take a walk by the First and San Salvador area at 1-2 in the morning on a weekend night…I am certain your views will be highly influenced by what you observe there…It is a disgusting mess and there will be a very serious incident there before long… I cannot understand why the City of San Jose continues to award use permits for nightclubs Downtown …It is time to rid the area of this ongoing problem…

  21. Enough with the media bashing. The San Jose police are doing a fine job on their own of making themselves look like Keystone constables. What kind of moron busts a journalist for taking a picture?

  22. The San Jose Police Departments Downtown units need a good class of “rudeness awareness”. 
    With the cowboy mentality all you will continue to get is the bad publicty. 
    Also, isn’t our city in a budget crisis.  There are more police parked on curbs and driving around than actual patrons downtown.  Something is wrong with that picture.

  23. #3 Fly,
    I did read the piece, twice in fact. While there was some mentioning of the good work the police did at the incident, I didn’t feel it was a warm and fuzzy story towards them.

    I must disagree with your statement that; “your speculation is without merit”. First, I believe the story was poorly written. An example of this is the “authors” use of the term “butthead”; is this high school paper? The accuracy of the reporting is also in question. You indicated a citizen “law enforcement supporter” gave his opinion of the “jury pool”. Yet, you place blame upon the San Jose Police Department for this statement, and its implications.

    My speculation is with merit as I was stating my opinion of this poorly written story. I theorized it was written poorly because the author had a late night partaking in adult beverage and maybe was hung over. But, maybe it was poorly written for another reason not obvious to me.

    I work downtown, and spend my money at the restaurants and bars there. I plan to go to Christmas in the Park next week with family. My only agenda is that your opinion and perceptions are balanced with that of a different view. You hold the police accountable for what they do. The readers of this article can do the same to you.

  24. What a circus our Police Department has made the downtown entertainment zone. Its a shame to continue to see the mismanagement of our tax dollar by the Chief and his brass.

    Someone over in city hall please fold up your sleeves and do something…

    While the country moves forward with CHANGE on its mind, San Jose is continuing to FIND direction.

  25. The Fly,

    I have to be honest.  My first thought about your article was…. Yawn!  Another Raj henchman finding his/her way to a keyboard after a night on the town.  But then I went back and read it again.  I found that your observations bring to light some interesting points and questions. 

    First off.  You wrote an article “Mean Streets of SoFa” (Oct 29, 2008) were you say:

    “The large sucking sound echoing through the empty street was from precious tax dollars being spent to supervise a crowd that turned out to be well behaved, as club security handled patrons capably.

    Nonetheless, at least a dozen cruisers stacked up on three sides of the intersection. Clumps of police stood on two corners. Officers in commando outfits adopted aggressive, wide stances in the middle of First Street, with thumbs in their belts and hands on their service revolvers. A PD videographer filmed patrons on the sidewalk outside the club. This was all much ado about nothing. We repeat, nothing happened……”

    Well guess what.  Things are happening now.  Fighting and vomiting in SoFa.  (Hey there is a good title for you for the next article).  This is a new club correct?

    Second off.  Since the “media” and others have been so concerned with racially skewed drunk arrests could you please tell me the nationality of the man in your photo?  Can you tell me the nationality of the people who were vomiting on the nearby businesses?  How about the others that were arrested for fighting?  I ask this with all sincerity.  You were there and I wasn’t.

    Third off.  You wrote,

    “Two officers, including entertainment zone head Sgt. Brian Kneis, videotaped patrons as they shuffled to their cars, a couple of whom paused to vomit on local businesses.”

    Are these patrons so intoxicated that they are vomiting on their way to their vehicles?  Do you think they are going to get in and drive off?  Should the two officers have arrested the drunk vomiting people before they made it to their vehicles?  Or perhaps the officers were too busy video taping the incident because they have to fend off criticism from the “media” who flash press passes when arresting fighting suspects.  Or maybe they were too busy giving out stupid tickets (i.e. 21956 (b))

    One last comment. Please do not refer to it as a “drunk wagon” either.  The drunks might get offended.  HaHaHa.

  26. In response to John and Steve’s interpretation of the photo, a closer look at a contrast-enhanced blowup of the original is inconclusive.  Is the the standing officer holding the suspect by his jacket? If he is the suspect, why wasn’t he handcuffed, since he had been held on the ground for some time? Or is the man facing the camera a plainclothes officer? And what’s the dark object behind and underneath him? Any lawyer, cop or judge will tell you that an incident or photo can be seen different ways by different people. Given the poor lighting and low resolution, it’s impossible to conclusively identify without further information. There’s no suggestion by this witness that police acted in any way improperly in ending the fight and restraining the suspect … in fact they did a good job. Which is why it’s so ridiculous that an officer felt the need to chase a photographer away, then give him a ticket.

    http://i440.photobucket.com/albums/qq127/VirtualValley/blowupofarrest.jpg

    #29 JJ: Didn’t see the vomiters (only the results on the sidewalk near Motif and Agenda) or which club they came out of, so can’t identify their ethnicity. Arrestees appeared to be white or Latino, didn’t see them all.

    #25 MC: Only the one officer took issue with the presence of a journalist at the scene. His contention was that being in the roadway after being requested to stand on the sidewalk violated the law. There was no allegation of interference… in fact, after the ticket-writing, the writer returned to having a friendly chat with the entertainment zone sergeant and the lieutenant at the scene. In any environment with media coverage (San Jose has so little media that many agencies aren’t too experienced in dealing with the press), there is usually some jockeying between photographers maneuvering for an angle and handlers who want to control the scene. The sophisticated ones understand this and don’t tie up the justice system on matters as minor as this. SJPD does great police work but has a community relations problem because of the way a few of its officers interact with citizens.

  27. #3 The Fly,

    You’ll have to forgive the police fans on this site. They get extremely heated whenever anyone questions the SJPD’s behavior, no matter how ugly.

    Just be glad they haven’t called you a sissy or a communist yet, as they have on other threads:
    http://www.sanjoseinside.com/sji/blog/entries/a_new_model_of_police_oversight/

    Be glad that they are sticking to the “you are biased” and “you are a bad writer” schtick.

    PLEASE keep reporting on police misconduct, especially any attacks on people observing their behavior. The SJPD Duty Manual states clearly in section L 2308 that onlookers have a right to observe an arrest within hearing distance provided they are not threatening an officer. http://www.sjpolice.org/download/Duty_Manual_2007_Electronic_Distribution.pdf

    It sounds like the officer was on a power trip (I mean, how dare the credentialled reporter take a second picture!) and needs to be reported for violating SJPD policy. Just as an exercise in how a regular community member can try to hold the police accountable, and possibly a really useful story for people on both sides of the police accountability debate, you should recommend that your friend go to the Indpendent Police Auditor and file a complaint. http://www.sanjoseca.gov/ipa/ Then, write up how the process went and what the outcome was.

    The City Government doesn’t think there is a problem with the police and have fired the current Independent Police Auditor who was trying to get authority to investigate and subpoena records and individuals. It is up to the public and hopefully our journalists to observe and report. When the police break their own policies and attack people for observing their behavior, you have to ask what they are so afraid of.

    Fly, keep your head up,

    Downtownster

  28. #18- You are welcome Jimmy Wisenheimer! wink

    The Fly says,” Only the one officer took issue with the presence of a journalist at the scene. His contention was that being in the roadway after being requested to stand on the sidewalk violated the law. There was no allegation of interference…”

    So, basically one Officer who felt that both the photographer, and his competitors, might be endangering himself, or others took a stand and cited someone who blew him off. By your own admission, the photographer was asked to get out of the road, and on to the sidewalk, and clearly was violating an order by a Police Officer. He deserved to be cited.

    Your defense of the photo is just plain ridiculous, as well as your explanation of this article. If your writer is going to write a story stick by what he/she wrote, or do a better job of reporting it in the first place because all we want is the facts. No one and I mean no one wants to excuse unnecessary violence or abuse of power by anyone, including the Police. If a Police Officer truly goes rogue and hurts or kills someone, no one is going to believe you, and that Fly is the point here.

    The Fly says,” SJPD does great police work but has a community relations problem because of the way a few of its officers interact with citizens.”

    No, in my opinion, the Police have a community relation’s problem because the media continues to relate incidents in a very biased, and non-factual way. I’m very pleased to see that the Police are fighting back by video taping what is really going on during these fights, and drunken arrests. It is about time that the public sees both sides.

    Tom Colla is right, take a trip downtown one night and see for yourself. These reports by the Merc and the Metro are sheer BS.

  29. #31 – Downtownster:

    Take your own advice and stop being a hypocrite.  You are fine when you are in your circle of friends who all agree with your opinion, but when people here question your viewpoint with facts, you get defensive and accusatory.  Why don’t you try responding to the facts, and taking an honest, and OBJECTIVE look at what is being said to you?  I can tell you I have, and I know others have. 

    Also, on every blog where you have come on, and defended Raj’s and the Fly’s viewpoint, you have been asked questions that you have failed to answer.  By refusing to be challenged yourself, on your perception of things, you are just as guilty of refusing to open your mind to a different perspective as the people you are bashing on here.  At least in the Fly’s post #30, he/she is showing a willingness to see things from another side, and is somewhat acknowledging that there are photographers and videographers who are not complying with the law regarding their right to document arrests.  You should take a lesson from that.  Don’t forget; you are not on a liberal blog.  SJI is, and always has been, a moderate to conservative blog.  So I don’t know why you are suprised by the responses these columns are getting.

  30. INCREASE IN COMPLAINTS AGAINST SAN JOSE POLICE

    Citizen complaints against the San Jose Police Department reportedly took a 10% rise during the first six months of 2008. This is one of the findings of a mid-year report from San Jose’s Independent Police Auditor.

    The complaints range from rudeness and improper use of police procedure to major concerns that allege unnecessary force or unlawful arrest.

    San Jose Mayor Chuck Reed says he’s not concerned by the rise in complaints. He says the numbers jump up and down every six months because there are more than 200,000 calls for service. About 35,000 to 40,000 of those turn into arrests, and to get only 272 complaints is a relatively small number, which will fluctuate during the review periods.

    However, the Mayor doesn’t completely dismiss the Auditor’s report. He says the City looks more at the different kind of complaints and how the department has been handling them. If there’s a trend that shows up among multiple reports, then the city will investigate the matter further.

    http://kliv.com/INCREASE-IN-COMPLAINTS-AGAINST-SAN-JOSE-POLICE/3497447

  31. KLIV 35

    We had a supposedly “independent” police auditor who networked and collaborated with every anti police group whose collective purpose was their hatred of police officers. Having been at a couple of her meetings she virtually begged anyone who would listen to make a complaint at her office, however frivolous. She also encouraged friends and family members who had nothing to do with the alleged incident to make a complaint with her office. She then makes a complaint to the police department over this frivolous matter and cries the sky is falling and complaints are up. Not only is 600 complaints a tiny number for a half a million calls for service it does not show how many complaints were actually valid which is a much smaller number than the 600 complaints. Why don’t you or any other of the above posters who hate the police get the courage to go through the year long hiring process, the background investigation, the 6 month police academy, the field training program and a year long probation to become a police officer and make a difference rather than being a rebel without a cause?

  32. #12—I see four guys’ legs—3 cops and the arrestee.  The arrestee apparently lost his right shoe, which is laying on the ground under his right leg, which has a white sock on it.  The cop bending over the arrestee has his left hand on the jacket shoulder of the arrestee.  NO cop in the picture has a bended leg or a knee in the arrestee’s back.

    #30—There are two men facing the camera—the guy on the ground in jeans, and the guy standing to his right, clearly wearing the striped pants of a uniformed cop.  The object in that cop’s hand is either a walkie-talkie or a cell phone.

  33. I find it laughable to hear about some cop kneeing a handcuffed patron, and citing a guy that wants to take his picture. If the cops were doing their job, they would be at a Shark Game to handcuff and knee the players during the bashings they give each other while everyone watches and cheers. Truly laughable how we spin our political obligations as the power of goverment changes hands. Ha Ha Ha Ha Ha. I love the sunshine at 2 am.
                  Shark Bite

  34. Fly,

    You state in #3 your article “generally praised the police for their adept handling of the situation”. Why did you then title your article “Rogues in the Ranks”? Why wasn’t it titled “Officers Adeptly Handle Combative and Intoxicated Crowd”? 99% of the citizens of San Jose are extremely happy with the police department, but you seem to write for the 1% who look for any excuse to hate the police, including most of the previous posters. If you want to get an idea of how much hatred is out there towards our police from this 1% please read this article regarding the recent police officer suicides and then some of the truly disgusting comments left by the Mercury posters. The Mercury is a dying institution and those writers that cater to this fringe crowd should be looking for other work.

    http://forums.mercurynews.com/topic/san-jose-police-grapple-with-suicides-of-two-fellow-officers?source=article

  35. Politicians, Cops beware.
      Thru the Holidays there will be Cop and Political checkpoints set up at all nightclubs. There is a plan to plant as many victims to prove the existence of the old political demographic game.
      The land lords will have a great time dealing with the police presence. Who will pay the bill? It’s time to deal with the reality of who’s on first. What’s on Market St. Where’s San Pedro Square. All this BS about good cop bad cop is just that, BS.
      I’m sickened by the sheer stupidity of the posts, here, that have no clue who is at the wheel, driving this broken down Model A welfare state for downtown land lords.
      There’s an offensive nature about what our politicians are subverting us to.
      Stop blaming the cops. they work for the Mayor. Stop blaming the night clubs, they pay rent to the land lords. Who if anyone has the Cajones to publish the Land Lords and the connection between the Mayor’s office, Sam’s district, and all of the violence that occurs in that small area of our great city.
      Nora Compos has a valid argument about her colleges on the City Council. Gonzo’s politics is back! Do you think we are not watching? Let’s get it on. Violence is OK as long as it is the HP Pavillon, on Shark Night, right Tom?
                  Shark Bite

  36. Chief Rob Davis, you need to resign! Your leadership is no longer needed here in San Jose.  Follow the footsteps that Palo Alto Chief took.  We kindly ask you.

  37. Way back in the ‘80’s, if I recall correctly, cops in the Venice Div. of LAPD started videotaping DUI arrests.  They only did it ‘cuz they got Fed. $$$ to blow.  Defense lawyers won so many acquittals that they stopped the practice…but not until they’d spent all the federal $$$.  That’s one side of this “debate”.

    Cops need to work within well-thought-out guidelines, protocols, and procedures in everything they do. They need a firm and committed command structure, with lots of veteran cops calling the shots and reining in (an ultimately eliminating,the “cowboys”) They do not, however, need to react convulsively to the trend du jour, as espoused by members of the public, which can usually be described by two groups—limousine liberals who haven’t got a clue what cops face out there every day from people who don’t have rules; and relatives of the bad guys who get all huffy and run to the limousine liberals every time their n’er-do-well relative gets popped, or tased, or shot when disobeying the law and coming at cops with weapons. That’s the other side of this “debate”.

    The breath test thing for drunk in public arrests is complete B.S.  The legal line for driving under the influence is .08% blood alcohol.  There is no established standard for what constitutes a person walking on the street who is so intoxicated that he/she presents imminent danger to himself/herself or others.  Some folks at a .20 are perfectly capable of walking home and going to bed.  Other folks at a .07 couldn’t find their way home.  Breath tests in the field to determine whether someone fits within the PC 647 are absurd.  Yet the politicians and Chief Davis have caved in to this nonsensical, and probably expensive “solution”.  Very disheartening; especially since most civilians just don’t get it.

  38. Regarding the issues in the Fly’s article, I was looking through SJI for instances of people being arrested for observing the SJPD and came across this:

    http://www.sanjoseinside.com/sji/blog/entries/cinco_de_mayo_2006_copwatch_charges_dropped/

    Are there any other examples of local police targetting of observers that any of you have heard about?

    #40 Kathleen and #41 johnmichael o’connor

    The breathalizer test for dui stops is interesting in that it came as a public relations move or quick fix after the SJPD came under intense scrutiny. Will it help? Maybe for some individuals who haven’t been drinking at all and are stopped for “attitude crimes” but JMO is right about how drunkenness is a subjective call and people react differently for all kinds of reasons.

    In any case, breathalizers may change things a little, but it doesn’t change the fact that the community doesn’t have any means of holding a cop accountable for their behavior except through a toothless Independent Police Auditor or the Internal Affairs department of the SJPD which makes no pretense of independence.

  39. #41- JMO,
    I agree completely with much of what you’ve said. I disagree with the Police stopping video tapping these troublemakers and drunks, in downtown though. I know if the Police videotape just HALF of what I’ve seen going on down there, well as they say, it will shed a whole new light on things. (And by the way, if you’ve been paying attention to the Cop Watchers on SJI, they are pissed that the Police are video taping them! Hypocrisy at its finest.)
    I spoke with several Police Officers who told me that San Jose needs cameras in Police cars because other cities use them, and it STOPS thugs from getting off, as seeing is believing! Jurors tend to make judgments more on what they see, not hear. Watch a Cop show sometime. They have cameras video taping these thugs, and I’ve never heard a sole say it was a Police Officers fault these idiots were stopped.
    As to breath tests, I agree with you 100%. But the IPA, Raj, and others who shall go nameless, want it, and it will be at the cost of the drunk, so hey, what the hell, give it to em. They’re only doing it as a trial to appease the vocal minority. When they realize it doesn’t work to detect drugs, mental illness, etc., they will stop using them, and the troublemakers, and the IPA, and their cronies will find another excuse to hassle and blame the Police.
      Look at #42- he/she is already unhappy about the efforts the Police are making to resolve this, even though it was HIS/HER crowd, the IPA, Raj included, that demanded the breath test. I was at the Council Meeting on the 18th, so I know this to be true, first hand. The Mayor and Police Chief will NEVER make them happy, short of allowing these troublemakers to run rampant over all of us, they will always find a reason to find fault with the way Police Officers do things.
    As to breath tests, I know I am a serious lightweight when it comes to drinking and that is why I do not drink. I would be someone who tested under the limit, but be too drunk to drive. I have friends who can drink and hold it well, and those who can’t. Go figure. Fact still remains; the vocal minority is demanding justice and change, and they will get it, but as my Mom always told me, you better watch out what you ask for because you just might get it! wink

  40. JMO hits the nail on the head in #41. Someone who has only a drink or two can be an out of control drunk yet be well below the Vehicle Code section of .08% blood alcohol level for drinking and drivings sake. This move was a complete cave in meant to pacify the couple hundred people drummed up by the IPA, most with a personal axe to grind. This will result in much less enforcement of legitimate drunk in public arrests for which we will all pay a price, especially downtown. If we want to keep hogtying our officers where they have to second guess every decision they make lest the Monday morning quarterbacks even in their own organization rip them apart, the obvious and natural answer is to shut down and do less, thus cutting the stress on themselves.  Why would an officer want to arrest an out of control drunk who has a blood alcohol level of only .02% only to have it go to court a year later and try to explain how this person was a drunk in public on such a low blood alcohol level. This same drunk would probably then go to the IPA and the officer would then have to go through an internal affairs complaint and defend himself. I guess this is the reason they are taping such arrests as evidence, but it is not realistic to expect every drunk in public or any other arrest to be taped. This is the tail wagging the dog; in this case the tail of a miniature Poodle and the body of a Saint Bernard.

  41. I thought this would shed a little light. This is an excerpt from the SJPD policy manual on allowing observers to watch and observe arrests.

    http://www.sjpolice.org/download/Duty_Manual_2007_Electronic_Distribution.pdf
    >
    > L 2308 – ONLOOKERS AT THE SCENE OF A DEMONSTRATION, CIVIL
    > DISTURBANCE OR OTHER INCIDENT:
    >
    > Onlookers shall be permitted to observe and overhear
    > conversations in detention or arrest situations in public
    > areas when it is reasonable to do so. Onlookers may remain
    > in the vicinity as long as the presence of these persons
    > does not interfere with the officers’ duties or create a
    > safety concern for the officer, person detained, or
    > onlooker.
    >
    > Onlookers have the right to record the incident, and the
    > recording device
    > (camera, video camera, tape recorder, and any film or tape
    > from a recording
    > device) cannot be seized by an officer at the scene except
    > under the authority of a search warrant. If the immediate
    > circumstances lead the officer to believe that the recording
    > contains crucial evidence, the officer may ask the citizen
    > to voluntarily surrender the recording material.
    >
    > If the citizen refuses to give consent for the seizing of
    > the recording material and there is a possibility of
    > criminal prosecution or civil liability for the City or its
    > employees arising out of the incident, the officer should
    > ask for the name, address and telephone number of the
    > onlooker who records the incident. If the onlooker refuses
    > to provide identification, the officer should obtain any
    > available information at the time that will allow
    > investigators to identify the onlooker and obtain a search
    > warrant for the recording materials.
    >
    > Occasionally, onlookers may record incidents involving
    > juveniles or victims of a sexual assault. In these
    > circumstances, Department members are not obligated to
    > advise the onlookers of the rights of privacy of these
    > victims. A juvenile or victim of a sexual assault may take
    > legal action against an onlooker who publishes or
    > distributes recorded material that would not have otherwise
    > been released by an agency of the criminal justice system.
    >
    > Onlookers Must maintain a reasonable distance when
    > monitoring police activities depending on the circumstances.
    > Onlookers are allowed to approach within hearing distance
    > provided that the control of the situation can be maintained
    > by the officer. Onlookers who are clearly at a reasonable
    > distance will not be subject to a “move-on” order
    > or threatened with arrest.
    >
    > The sensitive nature of these situations requires that
    > officers make every attempt to diplomatically resolve
    > conflicts involving onlookers. Depending on the stability of
    > the situation, officers will advise onlookers of their legal
    > rights and limitations under this order. If an onlooker
    > continues to create a disturbance, a supervisor will be
    > called to resolve the conflict. All highly sensitive
    > incidents will be reported immediately to a supervisor and
    > recorded on a Crime Report to ensure documentation.
    >
    > Nothing in this section is meant to restrict an officer
    > from arresting any person who willfully resists, delays, or
    > obstructs any peace officer in discharging his or her duties
    > according to the provisions of Penal Code Section 148. Nor
    > does this section restrict an officer from arresting any
    > person who willfully commits a trespass as defined in Penal
    > Code Section 602.

  42. Thank you Adam. You have confirmed for me that the actions I’ve seen from the “Cop Watchers,” is unlawful, and that they deserve being cited.