Mayor Concerned Police Profiling Drivers

Remember when Mayor Chuck Reed received a traffic ticket for not using his turn signal? It seems that story refuses to die a timely news cycle death.

In his normal Monday morning talk with KLIV this week, Mayor Reed was asked how he planned to handle the citation after it was reported that officers within the San Jose Police Department sent messages gloating and congratulating the officer who stopped Reed’s car on his way to work. Rather than cast off the reported messages as juvenile, Reed suggested that police might be profiling drivers. Some listeners even took it as Reed playing the race card.

“I was planning to just pay the fine and go to traffic school,” Reed said, “but with the recent revelations of what went on when the ticket was being written and afterwards, I’m getting concerned that perhaps the police department is deciding to selectively enforce the law based on who people are. That’s a concern. That shouldn’t happen in the city, whether it’s the mayor or a young black guy driving through our city. So, I think there’s some interesting issues there, so I’m rethinking what I’m going to do about it.”

Here is two-minute snippet of that KLIV interview.

Now, that’s pretty broad swath. The mayor and a young black guy are about as similar looking as Barack Obama and Mitt Romney. And it should also be noted that the officer who pulled over Reed mentioned in many of the messages with his fellow officers that he didn’t know it was the mayor he was citing.

But, as Mercury News columnist Scott Herhold detailed, the officer said in messages to other officers that a lack of turn signal use is one of his “pet peeves,” yet he didn’t give another turn signal citation in the previous five months. Based on that frequency, it’s the equivalent of saying daylight savings is a pet peeve.

But getting back to the more salacious claim—that police are profiling drivers and selectively enforcing the law; a claim Councilmember Rose Herrera hinted at in a mailer—Sampson asked him what he thought of Councilmember Pete Constant’s claim that police overstepped bounds by asking about his political activity.

The mayor answered that the police union is “playing mean and dirty,” before adding, “I don’t think the San Jose police officers are buying into it. They’re getting blamed for a lot of stuff the union is doing. They ought to do something about that internally, but I still think that the vast majority of police officers in the San Jose Police Department are doing their jobs professionally ever day, working hard despite the fact they’ve had to take a 10 percent pay cut, despite the fact that they lost Measure B ballot measure in June. Seventy percent of people said we have to change pension. Most of our officers are still doing their jobs, just being professionals, and we appreciate that.”

So did the mayor just walk back those comments about officers “deciding to selectively enforce the law,” or does it take just a minority to prove his point?

Josh Koehn is a former managing editor for San Jose Inside and Metro Silicon Valley.

21 Comments

  1. We have long known that public officials are a “suspect class”. 

    That a big city Mayor would get a ticket from his own police force, regardless of the “pet peeves” of a police officer is laughable.  The simple truth is the distrust between the Mayor and city employees is so bad that he would have trouble checking out a book at the library.

  2. When did the mayor come to that silly conclusion.
    Let’s put a mustach on his face, dress him as an immigrant. Have him drive an old car. Splash him with bronze color, or beter yet very dark color.
      You guys want to kick each others butts, do it on your own time.
      I have so many stories that were cronicled and expressed by many folks that suffered under the abuse by simply being brown or black.
      THE VILLAGE BlACK SMITH

  3. Were I a police officer, I’d selectively ticket Reed and his gang every chance I got.  They’ve ruined our fair City!

  4. First, the Mayor said “the police department is deciding to selectively enforce the law based on who people are.”, and later “that the vast majority of police officers in the San Jose Police Department are doing their jobs professionally ever day.”, he said.

    He’s a very interesting Mayor!

  5. I cant think of ANY mayor in any other large city that has spat on his police force the way this mayor has. To accuse his own police dept of profiling, even after years of voluntary tracking of the carstop dispositions. This politician has truly lost his marbles. RACIAL baiting thats all this is. Talk about opening up yourself to lawsuits! He is truly losing his cool in this heated election/pension reform. In the end the big loser is Chuck Reed. He will go down as the mayor who completely changed the crime landscape of the the city in one fell swoop! You should be proud of your legacy Ruphus……

  6. “Seventy percent of people said we have to change pension.”…. 70% of the people that voted which equates to less than 10% of the people in the city….  get real mayor.

  7. He’s called us cancer, on the gravy train, union thugs and now racist. This man does not deserve his office.

    It’s funny how ruphus and his clowns have all gone defcon 5. Nuclear! Desperate.

    Wake up San Jose.

  8. Sooooo… wait a second. This is coming from a Mayor who, in the past was found to have misused funds and had to return $40k. Now, he’s been found to have illegally diverted $100k to Rose Herrera’s campaign. He lied about the size of the pension liability (anyone remember $650 million?). He repeatedly made comments about how police officers were riding the gravy train and has presided over the attrition of nearly a third of the PD work force (to well below authorized strength) and double digit increases in virtually every type of crime.

    Then, in another interview, he equates the crime San Jose is suffering to that of Palo Alto of all things!
    Lastly – and this has to be the pinnacle of his hubris and arrogance – he equates his piddly little ticket to racial profiling and then suggests that our officers are making stops because of ‘who people are”?

    The news story of the day shouldn’t be that Mayor Reed got a ticket. It happens, and to a lot of people. And probably he’ll get off the hook for the ticket, just like Pierluigi Olviero did when he was stealing campaign signs a few years ago. No, the real news story is – or ought to be – a piece on what a miracle it is that Mayor Reed isn’t facing a recall or indictment yet.

  9. Immediately after the incident, Reed said the Officer was professional. He admitted his mistake and said he would take responsibility in the press.  Often, the thoughts, feelings, reactions and statements immediately following an incident are most genuine. This seems true of both Reed and the PD reaction to his ticketing.

    I believe all the animosity boils down to Reeds’ refusal to negotiate over the last few years.  His stubborn refusal to do what’s fair bothers cops because their nature is to make things right… The nature of a lawyer and politician would seem to the opposite (apologies to Councilman Kalra).

  10. I can honestly say that that the very FEW times I’ve been pulled over, or ticketed, is when I did something wrong. I disagree that our SJPD profiles drivers selectively.

  11. Anyone from the ACLU would call it selective enforcement.  Reed has to frame it so that the hoi polloi get it.

    Anyone from the ACLU knows that just because you aren’t targeted now doesn’t mean that you won’t be targeted later.  That’s why the ACLU defends KKK people.  Either you have a free country or you don’t.

  12. “I was planning to just pay the fine and go to traffic school,” Reed said, “but with the recent revelations of what went on when the ticket was being written and afterwards, I’m getting concerned that perhaps the police department is deciding to selectively enforce the law based on who people are. That’s a concern. That shouldn’t happen in the city, whether it’s the mayor or a young black guy driving through our city.
      Did you violate the traffic laws-Yes
      Was the Officer courteous and professional-Yes
      Did you sign the ticket, and admit guilt-Yes

    This is about arrogance, and a feeling of superiority to the rest of us. This mayor is consistent-he believes he is above the law, and that the rules do not apply to him.  His cronies (Liccardo, Pierlouigi, Herrera..and, drum roll please, Pat Dando)all believe the same thing.

  13. Well, Mr. Mayor, the next time a person of color sues the city for selective enforcement, don’t be suprised if you don’t end up in court as a witness for the plaintiff. What an incredibly stupid thing for a mayor to say.

  14. Just like every other guilty person! I was picked on, It was profiling, its their fault. Nobody made YOU break the law ! Be a man for once in your political career and accept what comes ! There is NO ONE who believes , “the police are out to get you”. Make no mistake , “They do not like you” . But unlike you they do their jobs to the best of their abilites. without judgement regardless of gender,race. Everyone is treated equally, something that you simply cannot say

  15. It is really hard to understand how a mayor can throw the employees of his city under the bus so casually. It really shows me that there is indeed a lot of hatred this mayor has for the employees. It is getting hard for him to contain and he can’t hide it. It is so out there. I don’t think this city has EVER been this bad. It’s just falling apart.

  16. Hey mayor who states we don’t have a gang problem.  Tell that to the person who was shot to death last night and the other 3 that were shot in a 2 hour period last night

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