Protesters March on San Jose Police Dept. with 3 Demands

A throng of about 100 protesters rallied Thursday evening in a march from the Santa Clara County District Attorney's Office to the San Jose Police Department, where some officers filmed them as they walked by. They had three demands:

Fire Officer Phillip White, who tweeted threatening remarks against people protesting police brutality; charge the two San Jose State University officers who on Feb. 24 killed Antonio Lopez Guzman; and drop resisting arrest charges against Lamar Noble, who was caught on a dashcam being roughed up by three sheriff deputies.

Outside police headquarters, San Jose Police Chief Larry Esquivel accepted a petition with more than 15,000 signatures asking White be fired.

"Being a native of San Jose, this is important to me, as a person of color and as a chief," Esquivel told the crowd outside the agency's headquarters. "Believe me, this is very troubling for us as an organization. It is not what we stand for, and can I guarantee you we are looking at this, as we have been, proactively and aggressively to bring justice."

White was placed on paid leave, stripping him of gun and badge while the agency investigates his remarks. A 20-year SJPD veteran, White also worked as part of Internal Affairs, the unit charged with investigating ethics complaints. This makes him the second officer in Internal Affairs currently subject to a review. Sources say Sgt. Craig Storlie is also being investigated after a judge ruled that he lied under oath, making false statements in court that put an innocent man behind bars.

Protesters on Thursday called for Esquivel and the Independent Police Auditor to re-examine all Internal Affairs complaints handled under White's watch.

One of White's most contentious tweets invoked a divine right to kill. Another mocked Eric Garner's last words, "I can't breathe," which has become a rallying cry in nationwide protests against police violence against unarmed black men.

"Threaten me or my family and I will use my God given and law appointed right and duty to kill you. #CopsLivesMatter," White tweeted last weekend.

"Officer White wanted to be famous, so we'll make him famous," Raj Jayadev, one of the march organizers, belted into a megaphone outside the District Attorney's Office. "It will be the fastest firing of a San Jose police officer we have ever seen. Let's end that guy's career today."

The coalition of protesters—led by the Asian Law Alliance, Silicon Valley De-Bug and the Silicon Valley chapter of the NAACP—used the demonstration to call attention to other local cases of police force.

When Guzman was killed earlier this year, after police said he was charging them with a saw, he left behind his partner Laurie Valdez and their son, 5-year-old Josiah. Valdez spoke at Thursday's rally, calling for the DA to release bodycam footage of the incident and to at least consider bringing charges against the two officers.

"What is the point of body cameras, of patrol cameras, if they can't tell us what happened?" asked Jayadev. He added: "We want prosecutorial discretion to bend toward the arc of justice."

Valdez said a thorough review would bring closure for her and her son. "I don't know what to do when my 5-year-old says he wants to die so he can see his father," she said. "My son doesn't know that death is forever. ... My kid needs healing."

Parents of Diana Showman, a 19-year-old woman with mental illness who was shot dead by San Jose police in August, also joined the rally. Showman was holding a power drill that police say looked like a real gun. She was killed by a single bullet.  

Noble spoke at the event, describing his 2013 traffic stop while video of the incident was projected on the wall of the San Jose police department. Here's that footage, which he fought for a year to obtain:

It shows three officers walking up to Noble's SUV, pepper spraying him, pulling him out to the ground and wrestling with him on the ground to cuff him—all over the crackling soundtrack of Guns N' Roses' "Sweet Child O' Mine" from the cop car's radio. The recording ends with a sheriff's deputy walking to his cruiser and placing his jacket over the camera, while Noble repeats over and over that he's done nothing wrong.

Noble says they told him he was pulled over for running a stop sign. He asked which one, at what intersection, and officers didn't say. Then, Noble says, officers told him his brake lights were out. He pressed the brake pedal to prove that wasn't the case. Then things got violent.

Officers maced him, physically removed him from the car and drew their guns. One of them punches Noble in the head. Instead of writing a ticket for a traffic violation, they charged him with resisting arrest.

"It's not right," Noble told San Jose Inside after the protest, shaking his head. "The video shows it all."

Earlier in the day, nearly 100 public defenders held their own rally on the steps of the Hall of Justice on Hedding Street, a rare political statement and a show of solidarity with the national movement protesting racially biased policing. Some held up signs that said "Black lives matter" and "Hands up, don't shoot."

Jennifer Wadsworth is a staff writer for San Jose Inside and Metro Newspaper. Email tips to [email protected] or follow her on Twitter at @jennwadsworth.

35 Comments

    • I agree and sometimes being overworked and/or burned out from stress, fatigue or sleep deprivation due to a city administration caused staff shortage, requiring so much time spent at work, can make a person say and do “stoopid” things. Doesn’t help that the nation seems to be turning against officers due to the really bad actions of a few. I think Chief could suspend him without pay for 30 days and put him on “desk duty” for the next year. Fired…I don’t think that particular punishment would fit the “crime”.

      • Really? So when the next cop does a “stoopid” thing like kill an unarmed citizen, no matter their color, can we just expect to hear…” overworked and/or burned out from stress, fatigue or sleep deprivation due to a city administration caused staff shortage, requiring so much time spent at work” as the excuse??

  1. Have to agdee the remarks made by the officer were notreflective of good judgement. But do you really believe in mob rule. The only thing missing from this group of protesters were pitch forks and torches.

  2. At my old job, someone stole my last slice of pizza out of the fridge. I wrote a snarky note that made 98% of the company laugh, so I took a picture of it and posted it on facebook. Next day the boss tries to write me up for “Violating company social media policy” because, “My note would make people think the company was full of pizza thieves” Funny thing was I noticed he had written, “I hate the nepotism at my company” just a few months earlier. I screenshotted that, brought it to HR and told them, “If you don’t write him up, I’m being singled out, and who’s comment is more damaging to the company image? A peon complaining about a slice of pizza, or a director complaining about nepotism?”

    Anyways, Officer White if you read this, I’m behind you 100%. You might want to try the same tactic, find a superior officer with troubling tweets, notes in the locker room, etc. Send them to HR and ask “Why am I being singled out?”

  3. Jayadev’s belief is that nearly every criminal is treated too harshly and deserves understanding and a second chance. But when it comes to police officers, he believes that a few dumb tweets which don’t even amount to a crime should result in an officer losing his career. He’s the one with the bias.

    • Amen, I believe there are some out crazy verdicts, but to cities like Oakland and SF, Berk and others are just a cheap reason to commit public crimes. Time to come together and find a solution! Jay is just trying to fire people up and keep his name in the news.

      • Retired: “Jay is just trying to fire people up and keep his name in the news.” He gets paid very well to do this to the Police. Check out his grant funding.

        • “He (Raj Jayadev) gets paid very well to do this to the Police. Check out his grant funding.” Another parasite feeding from the public trough?

      • Karma always bites nasty people like that in the arse, in the end. One day, karma will find him.

    • Pete Malloy- Jayadev and some of his collaborators receive HUNDREDS of thousands of dollars in grant money to take these actions against the Police, and the DA’s Office. Whit that kind of incentive, why on earth would he care about equal justice in ALL circumstances?

  4. The worthless anarchists will get nothing but contempt from the law abiding community.

    Officer White is a good cop. He’ll be with us until he decides to leave or retire.

    For those that “Can’t Breath,” take your asthma medication or better yet, in the spirit of the yuletide season, “it is better that you die and decrease the surplus population-” a Bah-humbug to you and yours.

    David S. Wall

    • Those are terrible sentiments. Whether or not you support White, no one should be OK with being killed or left to die when being arrested.

      • Death is a possible outcome anytime someone resists arrest. Had Eric Garner not broken the law, he would not have been contacted by NYPD. Had he not resisted arrest, he would not have been laid prone. Had he not been morbidly obese, he likely would not have died of positional asphyxiation, which was the ACTUAL causes of death, and not being ‘choked’.

        The same holds true of Michael Brown. Had he not been a thug, he wouldn’t have robbed a convenience store (a felony). Had he not resisted arrest, violently, Officer Wilson would not have had to use deadly force to end the threat posed by a juggernaut thug.

        It’s really that simple. And I’m sick to death of activists lionizing criminals and castigating law enforcement in the same breath. It’s sick. It’s perverse. It’s antithetical to the rule of law and the support of a civil trust-based society. It breeds, chaos, entitlement and lawlessness. It makes clear to those among us who are the smartest and most suitable for careers in law enforcement that there are other, far better choices of career from which to choose.

        • All of these protestors need to focus on raising their kids not to commit crimes… Michael Brown manhandled a store clerk AFTER stealing from him – he was listening to no one on that day..and Garner had a loooong rap sheet. Want to stat alive? A) dont break the law and B) if you do break the law, listen to the cop when he/she tells you to do something.

    • David S. Wall: “For those that “Can’t Breath,” take your asthma medication or better yet, in the spirit of the yuletide season, “it is better that you die and decrease the surplus population-” a Bah-humbug to you and yours.”

      Not funny at all.

      May the Ghosts of Christmas Past, Present, and Future visit you Christmas Eve to enlighten you on your ignorant comment.

    • My feeling is that those tweets merit some kind of discipline but fall below the bar for termination. Weigh the twenty years of service and the resources expended by the City to train and the cost that will be incurred to replace him. The comment about “Can’t breathe” are another issue. Once police take someone into custody, it is their responsibility to within reason ensure that the person is delivered to the holding cell in no worse condition then when they were subdued. An audible verbal communication from the arrestee that he “Can’t breathe” should have been acted on. I disagree with those who say he should not have been arrested for what he was doing, with force necessary to effect the arrest if he resisting (as he was), but he should have been delivered in condition suitable for booking rather then for being placed on a slab at the morgue. Someone should burn for that.

  5. Where is Obama, Eric Holder, Al Sharpton and Raj on the officers killed just sitting in the car? Why doesn’t the news type, black armed mureder executed a father and newlywed officers sitting in a police vehicle for no reason. They won’t it’s not politically correct. Let see how SJI reports on this, will they use the same bias?

    • I remember that happening with Dorner in LA. I don’t know whether the president or the attorney general said anything, but the point was that when they were shot, the cops and the DA stopped at nothing to catch Dorner. The entire justice system was working to bring him to justice (or kill him).

      I believe that what victims of police violence–justified or not–feel is that the killing of their loved one is never investigated, let alone prosecuted, properly. The justice system as a whole ignores the case of police killings unless they are absolutely egregious and there’s a lot of evidence (and even then).

      • Yes, they may feel that way, but they do so because of their own bias and a flawed view of the facts and the world. The killing of Michael Brown was justified both legally and morally. After having just committed a robbery, he assaulted Wilson, tried to take his gun, and then charged at him again in what was no doubt another attempt to take Wilson’s gun. Eric Garner wasn’t even killed by the police; his heart gave out because of his poor health and his decision to engage in a physical struggle. He didn’t die because of a chokehold. That these two deaths are being used as a national rallying cry is ridiculous.

        Despite what you think, suspect deaths are meticulously investigated. Do you think the FBI gets involved with the typical homicide? Officers don’t go to work every day hoping to kill someone. If it should happen, the aftermath is a very stressful process that can affect the officer for a long time. Some never fully recover. Darren Wilson was exonerated but lost his career anyway. And yes, the law gives the officers the benefit of the doubt because they have to make split second decisions in extremely stressful circumstances. Being human beings, they’re not always going to get it right, but please show me the case where a suspect died who wasn’t attempting to

        There are always going to be those who hate the police. What is outrageous about the deaths of Brown and Garner is that people in power like Obama, Holder and DeBlasio, with their comments, have legitimized the false beliefs that police officers don’t value black lives and seek to hurt or kill black suspects because of their race. The media has played an even bigger role by distorting the facts and failing to challenge the false beliefs of the protesters. Where is the evidence that the officers involved with Brown and Wilson are racists? Do you really think that Wilson would’ve acted differently if a white suspect had done the same things that Brown did? Do you really believe that officers wouldn’t have tackled and wrestled with a white man who reacted as Garner did? By perpetuating these myths, politicians and the media have made police officers even bigger targets than they were before. I do believe that the atmosphere that they have helped to create led to the deaths of the officers in New York. I won’t be surprised if something like that happens again, soon.

        I remember stopping a car many years ago, early in my career. It was nighttime, and dark enough that I couldn’t see into the car. I had no idea who was driving. The driver, who turned out to be black man, jumped out of the car and was immediately irate. He KNEW that I had stopped him simply because he was black. I tried to explain to him that I had stopped him because his brake light was out, but he would have none of it. I asked him if he wanted to stand next to my driver’s door and tell me if he could see into his car from my vantage point. He wasn’t interested. His belief that I was a racist couldn’t be swayed by the truth. I’ve had quite a few similar experiences. A lie doesn’t become the truth simply because it is repeated over and over again.

      • The reason that people feel ‘that the killing of their loved one is never investigated, let alone prosecuted, properly’ is because, although more often than not these cases ARE investigated properly, you have activists and politicians perpetuating ignorance of the law and outright deception in an effort to establish or reinforce their positions as persons of influence. Not one ‘activist’ has bothered to investigate or speak on the merits of the grand jury investigation conducted in Ferguson in which ALL the facts of the Brown shooting were laid bare. The same can clearly be said of the Eric Garner case in which people still say that he choked to death despite the fact that he died, not from choking, but from positional asphyxiation, which occurs when a suspect is laid prone, under stress, and is so obese that he cannot breathe properly in a prone position.

        Furthermore, NOT ONE ACTIVIST OR POLITICIAN has bothered to speak on the AMPLE case law and statutory law which establishes what actions might constitute assault with a deadly weapon or a justifiable homicide by a police officer. In fact, all too many in the media and virtually every activist or activist group has latched onto the fact that the deaths of Michael Brown and Eric Garner were classed as ‘homicides’ as though this was the kiss of death when it comes to criminal conduct by police officers, rather than simply acknowledging that a ‘homicide’ is simply the killing of one person by another person and may be classified as a justifiable homicide or one of various degrees of unlawful homicide i.e. manslaughter, criminally negligent homicide, second degree murder or first degree murder.

        Finally, NOT ONE ACTIVIST OR POLITICIAN has addressed the central salient issues of both cases which is that if Michael Brown and Eric Garner had not broken the law in the first place (strong-arm robbery and obstructing traffic in the case of the former, illegally selling cigarettes in the case of the latter) and that, having broken the law, if each had complied with the lawful orders of the police officers in question as is required by law, neither party would be dead right now. I will reiterate for emphasis: If Eric Garner and Michael Brown had not broken the law or resisted arrest, both would still be alive today. Their deaths are squarely their own responsibility, and not the responsibility of those who were obligated to enforce the laws each was breaking.

  6. Antonio West was the white 13-month old Brunswick Georgia child who was shot in the face at point blank range by two armed black teens who were attempting to rob his mother. When she said she had no money, they shot little Antonio in the face and then shot his mother. Antonio died. His mother lived. President Obama didn’t take a single moment to acknowledge the murder. Attorney General Eric Holder didn’t come into town and start a Federal investigation. There isn’t a white equivalent of Al Sharpton to protest, because if there were he would be branded a “racist”. No one’s rushing to Brunswick, Georgia to demonstrate and demand “justice” for little Antonio and his mother. No-one made t-shirts with Antonio’s picture on them. No white people around the nation vandalized, looted, or rioted in “protest” of Antonio’s death.

    • JMO- Sad but true. No one has protested the deaths of hundreds/thousands of innocent children of color murdered everyday by their own either. As a matter of fact, black on black, and brown on brown crime is NEVER addressed and I want to know why, and I want to know why we aren’t doing anything to stop it from happening especially since this is WHERE the change needs to begin!

      It just enrages me that our younger generation is subjected to so much violence, ignorance, and racism at the hands of we adults. In the poorest parts of the country, children of color are growing up without hope of a better life! At least you and I had incredible role models to pattern our lives after. What do these children have? Pop Stars? Sports Stars? Reality TV Stars? UGH~

      I honestly believe that the media has incited a lot of this violent conflict for a profit. They didn’t and WILL NOT report that a “black man” assassinated two Officers, but they’ll report that a “white Officer” shot a black man, thereby targeting whites, Police, and pitting us against one another. It is just sickening to me that we allow them to get a way with this kind of yellow, race baiting so-called journalism!

      Further, the behavior of politicians throughout this entire mess just makes my blood boil! They cater to people of color to get their votes, LIE to them promising change by telling the Police to be more “sensitive to the feelings of people of color,” and then they create laws that Police must enforce that completely contradict their campaign promises. Then the minute something goes wrong, they scapegoat the Police for everything THEY themselves have created!

      Politicians also lean on Police Chiefs EVERYWHERE to side with angry protesters instead of taking each incident case by case, reporting the FACTS, and either prosecuting bad Officers, or standing by them for following the law. (I won’t even get into the inequality, and BS that goes on in our judicial system against the POOR regardless of race.)

      Further, we now have the racist Al Sharpton ranting and raving that he doesn’t want the shootings of these Officers, or violent protestors to impede this new “Civil Rights Movement,” resulting from Michael Brown’s supposed murder by a WHITE Police Officer. This man is just ridiculous! He is exploiting the families of these recent shootings. These two Officer’s families too! Is there no end to this guys lunacy?

      The bottom line is this: I could get a petition signed by TWICE that of Raj’s who disagree with him. Why? Because those who refuse to speak up and be held accountable for their position on something as volatile as this, will sign a petition. We live in a society of people who believe that, “It isn’t my problem. I just don’t want to get involved.” Just sickening really~
      .

  7. Robert Michael Cortese : “You should talk to him either way. I’d love to talk to him. I’m really not for/against either side because I pretty much see an equal amount of animosity directed. Cops have Phil White’s animosity, and non-cops have Jay’s animosity.The overwhelming issue though is not talking, not listening, and not being moderate enough to reach common ground.”

    Robert- I have not only talked to him, I have attended MANY of his anti-cop community meetings. As I’ve said before, as long as hundreds of thousands of dollars of GRANT MONEY pays for the rhetoric he sells, there is no talking to him.

    BTW- He doesn’t even live in San Jose.

  8. > The same holds true of Michael Brown. Had he not been a thug, he wouldn’t have robbed a convenience store (a felony). Had he not resisted arrest, violently, Officer Wilson would not have had to use deadly force to end the threat posed by a juggernaut thug.

    Americans overwhelmingly embrace “civilization”.

    OVERWHELMINGLY!

    The rules of civilization that Americans understand, accept, and embrace REQUIRED Michael Brown to be shot dead.

    REQUIRED!

    Polls say as much.

    The grand jury findings said as much.

    America is a society of 350 million people.

    The voices questioning the consequences of American civilization are very, very FEW in number. A hundred here, A dozen there.

    They are amplified BECAUSE they are freakish, and the dominant media wants attention, and freak shows get attention.

    Bottom line, those who make up American civilization, i.e. Americans, are glad that Michael Brown is dead and accept that he got exactly what he deserved.

    The few hundred people yelling at TV cameras held up by hirelings of the dominant media are freaks.

    It is safe to ignore them.

    Go about your business America.

  9. Your article claims officer White “tweeted threatening remarks,” but that’s hardly accurate. His tweet has been interpreted by some people as being somehow threatening (although since it was conditional on first posing a threat to his physical safety, or to that of members of his family, only people planning such an unlawful course would have any logical basis upon which to feel threated by his remarks), but their feelings on the matter hardly constitute an objective determination. I find it irresponsible to simply rattle off such an accusation, as if its somehow already been proved that officer White has threatened people. That has not in any way been determined as yet, and I frankly don’t see how it ever could be.

    His remarks strike me as ill-advised, yet fall well within the protections afforded unpopular speech with respect to the First Amendment of the Constitution of the United States.