SJPD Claims It’s Never Had a Single Incident of Racial Bias

Never in the history of the San Jose Police Department has a citizen's allegation of racial bias been upheld.

In her final year-end review before retiring as Independent Police Auditor, LaDoris Cordell points to that finding as evidence that the agency needs to change the way it reviews complaints of bias-based policing.

The 155-page report released last week urges the department to take a more critical look at cases of suspected profiling, to look at the officer's behavior leading up to an incident. It recommends banning the use of chokeholds, in light of the death of Eric Garner, who was choked to death by a Staten Island police officer last year. It asks SJPD to redefine excessive force to determine whether the officer provoked use of force or responded with force greater than the threat posed by the suspect.

The audit also proposes civilian oversight for department-initiated investigations—those are complaints by other officers—which currently undergo no outside scrutiny.

Overall, the agency fielded 830 allegations against officers, mostly for procedural violations. Five percent were validated, 9 percent rejected, 24 percent ruled as unfounded and more than half justified the officer's actions.

Chief Larry Esquivel has declined to comment on the report until he has more time to review it, according to SJPD spokesman Officer Albert Morales.

When someone alleges bias, the department asks them to prove it; while the accused officer simply says whether or not race played a role in the interaction. Cordell says the investigation should factor in the officer's past behavior and prior complaints to find out if there is a pattern.

In her report, Cordell includes several cases of alleged racial profiling that the department dismissed. In one instance, two bicycle cops on morning patrol detained an African American man for flicking cigarette ash on the sidewalk. The man said he didn't want to talk to them and dropped his cigarette while turning away. Police ordered him to put his hands behind his head, but the man refused. One cop struck the man's legs with a baton. The man tried to leave, walking into a nearby check-cashing store, but collapsed when police tased him in the back. When he tried to get up, police tased him twice more.

The smoker filed a grievance, alleging that racial bias prompted the officer to use excessive force. SJPD thought otherwise, exonerating the officer's use of force and stating that he had every right to detain the man. Cordell thought that conclusion missed the mark.

"The department’s investigation failed to consider whether the detention was racially motivated," she writes in her report. "The question was not whether the officer had the right to detain the subject but whether his discretionary decision to do so was motivated by race. ... The severity of the crime, dropping cigarette ash and failing to get onto the ground, were minor relative to the risk of injury if officers went 'hands-on' with batons."

Another time, an African American man walked to the back of his house because the front door was broken while his friend waited in the front yard. An officer showed up, gun drawn, and ordered the pair to drop to the ground. Backup arrived and handcuffed the two men before verifying that one of them actually lived at the address.

That man also filed a complaint. SJPD maintained that the officer acted appropriately because he observed "suspicious behavior," thinking that the friend was a lookout while the man was casing the place. Cordell challenged that assessment.

"The department failed to critically examine the allegation of racial bias," she states. "The officer’s report contained language that appeared to justify his actions after the fact, by adding descriptions that the two men wore loose-fitting clothing that could conceal deadly weapons."

Raj Jayadev, head of local civil rights group Silicon Valley Debug, says the lack of any sustained allegations breaks the public's trust.

"The numbers don't lie," he says. "They point to an inarguable observation: that there’s something broken here, something systemically wrong with the way the city handles these complaints if not even one is taken seriously."

Maybe it's time to expand the authority of the IPA, Jayadev suggests.

"The position itself, it's got a skin around it that’s pretty limiting," he says. "It can be as elastic as you want within the confines of those rules, but it’s got such a limited sort of power."

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.

50 Comments

  1. For someone so concerned with supposed bias, Cordell appears to be completely blind to her own.

  2. SO much ‘race’ talk. Whenever I see SJPD on the street its a Mexican, or a asian man/woman, I have friends who grew up in ESSJ who only became a cop to better their community, so this whole “racism” trend here in the bay area just doesn’t work for me. San Jose has been a melting pot for generations. How about we teach our youth to listen and do what they are told when the physical presence of the law is in front of them. How about these “race-baiters” quit playing the blame game, that its ‘always someone else’s fault’. While I don’t think anyone deserves to be tazed over flicking a cigarette, I do remember my dad giving me a spanking or two when I lied. So if you are going to pop off and act crazy. Don’t come crying when you get what you deserve. We should stop feeling sorry for criminals (most are repeat offenders). Thats why I feel we are in this mess, we feel sorry for criminals so we let them out of jail, then they rob our homes while we are at work, and steal our cars and rape our kids because we don’t give them a penalty, we just slap their wrists and Cordell coddles them

    • Wrong so wrong melting pot my ass blacks are 1.5 percent and racial profiling is a big problem depends on who you speak too…people who dont experience this find it easy to sweep the race issue under the mat….hmm funny

      • Would you care to cite some scientific studies to back up your assertions? Or, are you just going to throw out assertions without taking the time to back them up with anything resembling scholarship?

  3. In the first instance: Throwing burning matter is a citable violation. Refusing to talk to the officers is a violation of 148PC, a misdemeanor violation. Refusing to obey the lawful orders of a police officer is another violation of 148 PC. Officers are permitted to use force when necessary to overcome resistance and/or effect an arrest. I don’t see the problem or where the individual’s race played a factor in the initial probable cause to make the stop. No one alleged that the officers forced the individual to litter/throw burning matter.

    In the second instance: It’s a virtual guarantee that a neighbor called in something like a suspicious circumstance, believing that the subjects in question may have been burglarizing the house. Based on the description of the activities, a reasonable officer might believe that the first party was looking for a discreet point of ingress and the second party was acting as a lookout. That was my immediate reaction. I can’t see where the SJPD investigation is off the mark. And, since reports are ALWAYS written after the fact, Cordell’s complaints about that reality come across as petty and absurd – particularly in light of the fact that no one seems to be disputing the fact that the detained parties were, in fact, wearing baggy clothes. Officer safety dictates that under circumstances such as that, the subjects be detained at gunpoint since burglars are often armed. Again, I don’t see where there is any indication of racial bias. Again, the officers almost certainly didn’t just magically appear at the scene and they certainly would’ve had no way of knowing that it was the first subjects home and that he’d been locked out without doing at least some basic investigation. Nor did the officers in question dictate the subjects’ wardrobe choices.

    If that’s the best the Cordell or Jayadev have in evidence of ‘racial biast’ then all they’ve done is firmly establish that the IPA is pretty useless, a waste of city funds and desperate for relevance. As well, her insistence that these instances display some kind of bias seems to be a pretty clear indicator of her own anti-police bias, which is something SJPD officers have been complaining about practically since she took the job. And, given her membership with both the NAACP and the ACLU, no one should be surprised at this revelation. Similarly, Jayadev’s asinine comments reinforce his desperation for relevance and what appear to be his own institutional bias that *some* SJPD officers *sometime*, *somewhere* act out of racial bias.

    • > Refusing to talk to the officers is a violation of 148PC, a misdemeanor violation.

      No. Not at all.

    • Well I guess if beating a man senseless and using a Taser gun to shoot him in the back as he is walking away from being beaten all because he dropped cigarette ashes on the sidewalk is covered in the SJPD manual for acceptable use of force, then I guess it must be OK! Yep, no racial profiling or excessive use of force here! #officeranonymous, do you ever read the c**p you write before you press the send button?

      • If a police officer is conducting a lawful investigation into the commission of an infraction, misdemeanor, or felony, then the person being investigated IS obligated speak with the officers. It is called a “lawful detention”. Might want to look it up.

        • Lawful detention and legal obligation to speak to speak to an officer (148PC) are entirely different.

          148PC @ http://www.leginfo.ca.gov/cgi-bin/displaycode?section=pen&group=00001-01000&file=142-181

          All of us have a constitutional right to remain silent. 148PC(a) is *willfully* resisting or obstructing. Example: going limp after arrest.

          Based on at least one case (Kansas as I recall) it’s prudent to assert that right (‘I assert my right to remain silent’) rather than assume it’s inherent. Conversation is entirely consensual. Criminal defense lawyers advise, DON’T TALK.

          Likewise, lawful detention has limits too. It’s important to ask if ‘Am I free to go?’. If not, (and one’s feeling frisky) then demand to arrested or released.

          Will appreciate case law citations / links if my understanding is incorrect.

          • You’re mostly right, but I’ll clarify two things and point out another.

            If lawfully detained (as a pedestrian) for the investigation of a crime, or based upon “reasonable suspicion”, failure to provide ID or verbally identify yourself upon request can not only prolong the detention, but result in an arrest for the “obstructing” section of PC 148. If driving a vehicle, you must provide a license, otherwise that’s it’s own VC violation. So, you can’t simply say “I’m exercising my right to remain silent” in either situation and then not provide ID.

            Secondarily, infractions and misdemeanor violations of the law (with some exceptions) provide officers with discretion to counsel, cite, or with misdemeanors, arrest. Escalating a simple contact to the level of a 148 violation will almost guarantee an arrest, where simple cooperation could have resulted in verbal counseling or a minor citation.

    • Well I guess if beating a man senseless wth a metal baton and using a Taser gun to shoot him in the back as he is crawling away, all for dropping cigarette ashes on the sidewalk, is allowed by the SJPD police manual, well then heck it must be OK! Yep, no racial profiling going on here! #offiiceranonymous, do you even read the c**p you write before pressing post comment? The only way the SJPD will be cleaned up is by bringing in the District Attorney or FBI to investigate this corrupt police department. Bad mouth Cordell all you want, but the city brought her in to avoid such an investigation and hopefully stop future and imminent litigation.

      • What is this UFO person talking about? Makes little sense. Sounds bitter.

  4. I read the report in its entirety.
    1. The conclusion (that racial bias exists because no claims were substantiated) is deeply flawed. Social scientists or statisticians would be ridiculed were they to make such claims based on Cordell’s data.

    2. The table (page 37) contrasting complaints by ethnicity is bizarre. 2014 population estimates are available from the Census Bureau – no need to contrast 2010 ethnicity data against 2014 incident data. More importantly, why use population ethnicity instead of incarceration ethnicity? Maybe because that would not support a bias claim?

    3. Cordell had every opportunity to make sensible change recommendations to the Duty manual that would improve SJPD efficiency and effectiveness, but choose not to. She could have easily joined with the POA in areas of mutual interest to advocate on behalf of officers. Instead, she chooses to remain SJPD’s scold. That doesn’t strike me as being in the public interest.

    4. Conspicuous in it’s absence are IPA customer satisfaction data. How does anyone know if IPA customers feel about the service IPA provides? What changes in the IPA office are warranted to improve effectiveness and efficiency?

    5. The inclusion of Seattle’s entire force procedure (wouldn’t a reference be sufficient?), news clippings, and absence of SJPD feedback on IPA recommendations are an embarrassment. It appears to be a desperate efforts to create a 155 page report when at most 20 pages would be sufficient – and blindsiding SJPD management. Unlike IPA, the Civil Grand Jury and City Auditor include responses to recommendations.

    Cordell extolls Seattle’s force procedure, but provides no data to suggest that it is effective. Nor does she provide anything to the contrary (how many PDs that lack force procedures appear OK?). How does SJ’s settlement payouts compare to other cities on a per capita basis?

    My sense is that SJ is fairly generous, but our per capita payouts are low compared to other PDs – i.e., SJPD is more professional than most.

    I find it difficult to take her recommendations and Mr. Jayadev’s comments seriously given the report’s obvious flaws and low professionalism.

  5. Cordell represents everything she says she is against. She is a blatant racist. That Cordell chose now to bring this up just a few days after burying a SJPD officer, shows her true character. Everybody is too afraid of speaking the truth about her. Good riddance to her.

  6. Remember she was begging for complaints to come into her office. She placed advertisement flyers in the garbage bills sent to San Jose residents. I guess she needed to drum up business some how.

    • As I recall, a substantial portion of the arrests discussed in that article were alcohol-related. Perhaps you should read the two studies put out by the AAA Foundation titled “Unlicensed to Drive” Parts 1 and 2. These studies show conclusively a correlation between nation of origin (particularly Latin American nations) and alcohol abuse. While their focus was on DUI behaviors, it doesn’t take a major leap of deductive reasoning to see how these same behaviors relate to arrests for public drunkenness. As to the rest, I can’t count the number of times I, a Mexican police officer, have cited or arrested other ‘Latinos’ for disturbances, resisting arrest, etc. Why? Drunks out of control at wedding receptions. Drunks out of control at birthday parties. Drunks out of control at quinceaneras. And, arresting the drunks and breaking up the parties is far and away preferable to the alternatives – alternatives such as the fatal stabbing which occurred (2nd homicide of the year in 2008, if I recall correctly) in which an Hispanic male, drunk and in a fit of jealousy, stabbed another Hispanic male at a birthday party! I administered first aid to the victim and he died as I was trying to save him.

      One of the things the Mercury News article fails to document is the number alcohol-related fights, stabbings, shootings, various other types of assaults with a deadly weapon, or DUI’s involving Hispanics – especially ones resulting in injury or death – occur in the city of San Jose. I would wager that, if those statistics were examined – and, yes, they are gathered – one would find that they occur in excessive and disproportionate numbers relative the population representation. The article is far more about shallow reporting and sensationalism than it is about a deep and meaningful discussion of crime and arrest patterns as they relate to ethnicity in San Jose.

      • These are insightful and relevant points Officer Anonymous, that would have an impact on any logically thinking person.
        Unfortunately though, the entire race baiting industry is founded on tilting at the windmill called racial profiling.
        Asking Ms. Cordell to admit to the wisdom of your observations would force her to consider that she has spent her entire career fighting an illusion.
        But it goes further than that. The public has bought into the notion that racial profiling and racism are big problems, that IPAs and other racism “watchdogs” are legitimate and serve a necessary purpose, and that anyone who questions this reality must be a racism denier and a kook. The societal stigma of being labeled as such keeps people quiet and allows the lie to persist. And so Ms. Cordell and Al Sharpton are taken seriously and revered rather than being ridiculed and scorned as they should be.

      • Wannabe cops like #officeranonymous who pretend to know the law and spend their days posting nonsense online are one of SJPD’s worst enemy. Just be quiet or go away.

        • Ufo223, Why not be grateful for OfficerA’s comments? They’re insightful.

          It seems as if both of us agree that OfficerA’s understanding of constitutional rights is lacking. If so, then there’s an opportunity to improve professionalism. Lunch & Learn, group problem solving, and weekly tests are some of techniques I’ve experienced in the private sector.

          Don’t know how SJPD assesses officer knowledge – some form of continuing education may help if not implemented.

          Which brings me back to Ms. Cordell and whomever replaces her. Advocating for better training is an area she could have championed, but failed to do so. Once of prevention….

          • In this instance, I should have been more clear. While the person being detained is not obligated to conduct a conversation with the detaining officers, they are required to comply with an officers lawful orders which include being detained for a reasonable period of time. This is called a “Terry Stop”. If the person is being investigate for a crime, infraction, etc. then, yes, the subject is required to indentify themselves for the citation, crime report or booking sheet. If it is for a citation, refusal to identify onesself may result in arrest and transportation to a facility where the subject can be fingerprinted and identified.

            In the case to which I was referring it seems that the subject in question was to be lawfully detained for the commission of an a misdemeanor, specifically PC 374.4. As such, the officers, as part of their investigation are required to properly identify him for the purposes of citing or arresting him. And no, he would not be legally permitted to simply continue to walk away and ignore the officers.

            However you may feel about the severity of the initial violation which led to the use of force, there was nothing illegal about it and nothing in the reports generated which would seem to indicate a racial bias.

  7. s if the portfolio wasn’t bursting at the seems SJI and Jennifer Wadsworth barf on the Internet and claim to be reporting news.

    When and where did SJPD or anyone representing the department ever claim that it NEVER had a “single incident of racial bias.”

    Never happened , no one ever made that claim anywhere anytime ever. Headlines like this are crafted to deceive readers. It is reckless and irresponsible and happens frequently on SJI to the extent that SJI has little to no credibility.

  8. Here’s the actual independent study http://ca-sanjose.civicplus.com/DocumentCenter/View/11233

    The 2009 Mercury News article leaves much to be desired. In particular, it conveniently omits some interesting observations. Yes, there is bias. But it’s reverse bias. The incidents of ‘white cop’ v. ‘non-white’ citizen is lower than ‘white cop’ v. ‘white’. This is consistent with crime stats i.e., most crime where both instigator and victim belong to the same race.

    Also, the standard deviation (am a former statistician) is low – i.e., not a lot of difference (Table 5.1) in how people are treated.

    Major Findings: None. OK – there were two (below). But nothing that suggests officer misconduct or bias.

    a. “Officers play a significant role in producing a culture of equitable treatment”. Duh.
    b. “A novel way to use existing data to assess officer-level disparities” This is consultant-speak for ‘ we didn’t find anything important so we’ll justify our fee by torturing data coupled with lots of footnotes’.

    So circling back to Cordell’s report: her claims of bias aren’t supported by an independent analysis. In fact, just the opposite. It’s terribly inconvenient when facts don’t support one’s prejudice.

    Also disappointing that Cordell fails to cite officer fatigue as responsible for [alleged, but unsupported by fact] bias. Our cops are over-worked. Tired employees make mistakes. It’s tough to be polite when exhausted. Seems like hiring more cops would be smart for a variety of reasons.

  9. What Ms. Cordell, Raj Jayadev, and every other race merchant would like is to establish in America the cause-and-effect form of reasoning found in primitive societies throughout the world, one where undesirable events are always attributed to the work of an established demon (neighboring enemy, angry god, witchcraft, etc.). But because of this nation’s tradition of reasoned thought (relying on logic, testable evidence, objectivity) most Americans aren’t susceptible to the raw tactics of primitives (tribal hysteria, war chants, etc.); they instead require factual evidence, or, at least, something that looks factual, before they can be convinced to doff their civilized attire and join up for some savage outrage and destruction.

    In her latest report Ms. Cordell asks us to interpret the lack of something as evidence of the existence of that same something. This is EXACTLY the same type of reasoning a New Guinea tribal chief would use to convince his war party that the peaceful ways of a neighboring tribe (of which he is secretly envious) are in reality an effort to lull them into complacency so that they might be caught off-guard. In the former, Ms. Cordell beats the drums against her personal demon (racism against blacks), while in the latter, the chief bangs out the same tune in service to his personal jealousy.

    As a former judge, Ms. Cordell should know that the use of a government office to wage her personal war against the men and women of the San Jose police department demands that her efforts remain within the confines of the law and the evidence. Her decision to officially proclaim as evidence (of felonious discrimination) an empty statistic qualifies more as proof of her desperation and derangement than it does anything else, and certainly meets the standard of official malfeasance. She might have just as well proclaimed the low arrest rate of Japanese-Americans as proof of their skillful lawbreaking.

    This county is, and has been for decades, thickly populated with attorneys who dream of racist cops and deep municipal pockets. If racist police conduct and cover-up is the scourge Ms. Cordell claims it is the evidence to support that claim should be there in the court records. That it is not exonerates the police department as it condemns Ms. Cordell.

    • Frustrated – thanks, but beg to differ on one point. We’re in violent agreement that the absence of something fails to prove its existence. Using Ms. Cordell’s logic: we have no reported cases of ebola in San Jose, therefore there must be some.

      But if every other community (or vast majority) reported ebola cases, then San Jose would be an outlier. No proof of ebola existence in SJ, only an aberration. And outliers warrant investigation.

      One explanation could be that the absence of reported bias is a San Jose success story. Instead, Ms. Cordell chooses to treat it with alarm.

      Ms. Cordell prefers to shoot from the lip. Sad that she and other “race merchants” fail to do rudimentary research – there is ample material freely available. We could have a meaningful and productive discussion instead of a witch hunt. It’s disturbing that she believes the public is so easily misled.

      One more tidbit from the 16 Jan 2013 Consortium for Police Leadership in Equity http://ca-sanjose.civicplus.com/DocumentCenter/View/11233 report: “There is no “silver bullet” for measuring racial and ethnic bias, nor for curing it where it is found.” Put another way, ‘we can’t reliably quantify it, nor fix it if we think it exists’.

      I’d like to believe that Ms. Cordell and Mr. Jayadev are are well-intentioned. But the absence of credibility will make it difficult to be taken seriously should they raise legitimate issues.

      • When it comes to this issue, evidence is irrelevant to those who have emotionally convinced themselves that racial bias is present everywhere. Many years ago, I stopped a car at night for a broken brake light, or something similar. At the time I made the stop, I had no idea who was in the car; it was too dark to see anything. As it turned out, the driver was a middle-aged black man who was instantly angry, convinced that I had stopped him only because of his race. I attempted to explain to him that he was wrong; that it was impossible for me to see who was in the car. I asked him to step back to my car, stand next to the driver’s seat, and tell me whether he could see anything inside the car. He declined. He simply wasn’t interested in the facts. He KNEW the truth.

        This driver seemed to me a good man; he certainly wasn’t a criminal. He truly believed that I was a racist cop. His emotional reaction to our meeting wouldn’t allow him to believe anything else. He was very wrong, but he was sincere. I always wonder whether people like Cordell and Jayadev, who make there living alleging bias, are as sincere in their misguided beliefs.

        • Was this a stop made out toward the East Foothills, and did the driver have his wife as a passenger? If so, I think I was your fill on that stop and I remember it well. It was back in 2001. If not, this exact same type of incident occurred with my teammate that shift and he actually had to call for a fill because this guy was so belligerent that if it escalated any further, he was going to have to be arrested. I remember this guy’s wife -who also was black – was absolutely mortified and extremely apologetic.

          For that matter, I have had to endure a handful of the same kinds of experiences. The ones which were always the most frustrating were the ones such as you described: stops made late at night in situations wherein I would have no way of knowing the ethnicity of the driver or occupants until I actually walked up on the car. Those were the ones which reinforced for me that all too many of the issues surrounding ‘racial profiling’ have far more to do with myth than fact.

          • It actually was. The stop might have been on Clayton Rd., but if not, it was somewhere near there. Now that you mention it, maybe his wife was there, but I’m not positive.

      • Isn’t what she is really saying is that there is racism infecting police work and because there is such racism, and the police aren’t finding it, they must be blind (and racist).

  10. I once got pulled over on blossom Hill and snell for expired tags (I’m young don’t judge me) cop looks at my license and sees that my adress is on the east side. He quickly looks up and asks me what am I doing on this side of town as if im not allowed to travel past the east. I’m pretty offended by it. Why couldn’t he just be cordial, serve me my ticket and move on? Did he have to make that remark? There was another instance where I was driving (99 Toyota camry) down snell headed towards Santa Teresa. I saw the officer pull out of a shopping center and start to follow me. How do I know he’s following me? As soon as I turn onto the street where my destination was to park, he speeds up catches up to me, and stares me down for a minute. The officer gets out of his car and immidietly asks for my ID. His excuse for contacting me and asking for ID was because my car looked suspicious, Really?? There’s plenty of good officers in the city but honestly probably only encountered one good one in my life. Kudos to those officers that really do it to help the community and not just surrender themselves to the badge because they need a paycheck.

  11. FinFan, you’ve revealed Cordell’s folly in such an accurate manner with a just a single sentence – “She might have just as well proclaimed the low arrest rate of Japanese-Americans as proof of their skillful lawbreaking.” This same logic would also support the notion that the low number of female sex offenders compared to men indicates women are just better at avoiding detection.

    An important statistic is absent from Cordell’s debate – How many complaints of “bias based policing” were generated from calls for service vs. officer initiated contacts? When a call for service is made, an officer is simply conducting an investigation based upon the information given to them by reporting parties, victims or witnesses. How can an officer be accused of exerting personal bias when the Suspect was determined/identified by a citizen? Any “bias” at that point would become a matter of “procedure”, as the officer is simply responding to what is in front of them.

    Anyone who advocates that the police department revise its training manuals so that new officers are trained to respond differently to “people of color” cannot objectively assess allegations of racial bias.

  12. Taxpayer,

    Your disagreement with me, while understandable, is founded on a misconception. No matter what the irresponsible news media would have you believe, vast differences exist among America’s police departments (and police officers), and what might be true (or passed off as true) of a department in one part of the country is not necessarily true of others. For instance, most if not all police officers working in this valley conform to a similar set of departmental goals and expectations (reflected in hiring standards, training, operational rules, and culture), and for that reason I suspect that should Ms. Cordell conduct her witch hunt in Santa Clara, Milpitas, Sunnyvale, or elsewhere around these parts she would come away with the same “alarming results” she found in San Jose.

    And what, really, are those results? Do they constitute evidence that San Jose police officers are colorblind on the matter of race? Of course not. No police officer endowed with a brain in good working order could possibly be blind to the huge impact that race plays in American crime. American blacks are to violent crime what Kenyans are to marathon running. Hispanics are to street gangs what Jews are to diamond cutting. Do either of these facts mean that every black is a thug or every Hispanic is a gang banger? No. And just as our police officers are capable of realizing that most Kenyans are not distance runners and few Jews are skilled stone cutters, so too are they capable of keeping race in its proper perspective when enforcing the law.

    And what does it mean to keep race in its proper perspective? First, I’ll tell you what it doesn’t mean. It doesn’t mean to operate as if race doesn’t matter so that, after hearing of a drive-by shooting in a Hispanic neighborhood, one is just as likely to stop a close-fit suspect vehicle driven by a turban-topped Sikh as one driven by a bandana-clad, lowriding Mexican. Colorblindness of that nature goes by another name in police work: incompetence.

    Here’s an example of the proper perspective: in the wake of a drive-by shooting involving unknown suspects in a red or brown car a good police officer understands the importance that car stops be made, and that he or she make the best car stop possible. That means things need to be considered: direction of travel, time element, car color (anything close), observable dress and/or conduct of the occupants (stiff, nervous, etc.), RACE of the occupants, and any vehicle code violations (that would justify a short detention and a closer look).

    The odds dictate that the more car stops are made the better the chance of catching the criminals. This all but guarantees that a good many uninvolved Hispanics are going to be legally stopped, approached with great caution, and ultimately released (to go on to tell their gut-wrenching profiling stories). But this is the way that good arrests are made, often in cases that would otherwise go unsolved (and give the criminals a chance to create new victims). This is the way cities with lots of criminals are made safe by their police officers. It has nothing to do with racial profiling and everything to do with individual courage and a commitment to duty, but if we give Ms. Cordell her way, those good police officers are doomed to be branded as racists and fired.

    • Thanks for the clarification. No disagreement – your response makes the point better than I originally did.

      I was simply approaching the bias claim from an analysis standpoint – that Cordell’s claim fails from a research methodology perspective. Highly recommend “How to Lie With Statistics” – it was on the required reading list in my first statistics class and still commands 4.5/5 stars on Amazon – more than 50 years after publication.

      We should all be grateful Ms. Cordell is no longer on the bench.

  13. Jack Slade Here!

    Ok, let’s get this straight. No sustained complaints because, like the prior Police Officer’s Association President admitted that he had a mole in the IPA office and his wife worked as a receptionist in the Internal Affairs Office. So every time the IPA had a complaint the details were relayed to the POA and from there reviewed by counsel, then to IA where someone passed the details of the investigation to the POA and the officers involved. They got together with the POA attorney and worked out their story before the IPA ink was dry.

    Of course you can call the IPA Office and get a run around by the paralegal working there cause the IPA, $169,000.00 a year and who gets to stay away for days at a time doing private mediation for $5000.00 a case isn’t available. Then let’s not forget the speech that infers that they have never sustained a complaint and if you make one and it’s un-sustained the POA will sue you on behalf of the officer. How do you think they got away with the recent rape all this time.

    SJPD refuses to shine light on their conduct. Everything is a “Personnel Matter” and can’t be revealed. There is no public list of the thugs that wear a badge in San Jose and they have never shown a foot of video from their car cams and from the $250,000.00 worth of head cams or digital recorders.

    They have increased their kill rate 500% since the first Measure Vote that took away their unearned salary levels and bargaining rights. It you could see the car impounds and beatings of minorities and killings of mentally ill people. Finally what goes around came around and a man scared to death he would end up like the last 5 people relatives called this department to help were gunned down quickly. He decided to shoot first, SJPD are to blame for that officer dying just like the death of Dick Huerta after clubbing innocent people protesting in the late 60’s. Dick Huerta paid the price for the “You Know Who They Were Thugs” back then.

    Now they are all involved in covering each other because your the taxpayer, your the “Enemy”. You are all suspects or worthless victims annoying them with your calls. Less then a thousand now and hopefully we will lose more until we can hire and train men and woman who can be kept from being coerced into the “SJPD Code of Criminal Silence”. The good ones can’t be recognized because they cowardly keep silent on what they see the others do. Well you have a Mayor and Mariachi Police Department with a history of cover up and lies and deceit. You need a powerful Civilian Review Board that can grab the weasel Jeff Rosen by the tail and teach him about killer cops. I live in Zurich and sit on my hill above Zug Lake and play my fiddle while you taxpayers let these people just rip you off of your tax dollars.

    • Will appreciate source(s) for the claims about an IPA mole, prior POA president admission & IPA staff moonlighting. I was only able to locate this http://www.orovillemr.com/general-news/20150318/san-jose-independent-police-auditor-ladoris-cordell-to-step-down-this-summer/1 that mentions accusations of a mole.

      I can understand failure to *prove* malfeasance (e.g., someone pleads the 5th and other evidence is inconclusive). The piece mentions that an IPA employee was fired, but neglects to indicate why. If related, then it seems as if some justice was done.

      We have a couple of public meetings scheduled on selecting a new IPA head. It’s an opportunity to surface legitimate concerns. Substantiated information rather than innuendo will help.

      FWIW, I was kicked, punched, and body slammed in the late ’60s. One (have had several incidents of brutal PD behavior) was was later described as a “police riot” after a formal investigation. However, that was Chicago’s Finest more than 50 years ago.

      But that experience didn’t prevent me from anonymously trying to buy a hamburger for a SJPD cop that just happened to be behind me at In-N-Out last week. He declined, then came over to apologize and hoped I wasn’t offended because refusing a gift is offensive in some cultures (he & I are racially different).

      Sometimes kindness is more effective than castigation.

  14. In 40 years of living in San Jose I’ve only been pulled over once. The officer was perfectly nice.I suppose that’s because I’m white? I still got a ticket.

    I suppose he didn’t shoot me or tase-me, or hit me with a night stick because I didn’t spit in his face, flick ashes at him, try and pull his gun, or hit him with my flash lite.

    He wasn’t trying to enforce some stupid tax law some local tyrant imposed and was ordered to be enforced.
    I was wrong, but he was nice about it and we both lived!

    • Mr. Big Mac

      I hope you were not a victim of the phenomenon some might refer to as “Cordell-ophilia” (The abnormal fear of becoming “racially irrelevant”).

      While I was working in patrol, there was an intersection in the district that was notorious, even infamous, for its high incidence of traffic collisions. So much so that the City engineers eventually created a clearly marked painted divider strip in the roadway and further marked this with a large sign prohibiting U-turns. Violations and collisions, while reduced somewhat, were still ridiculously numerous. We were all directed to maximize enforcement in the area in an effort to reduce the incidence of collisions.

      One afternoon, I was monitoring the intersection and saw a vehicle roll the stop sign, veer slightly right then make a U-turn over and across the dividing strip. I was primarily focused on the vehicle and didn’t pay any real attention to the appearance of the driver. I stopped the vehicle, contacted the driver, and discovered he was African-American. I attempted to explain the reason for the stop and why enforcement was being increased there. He dismissed my explanation and accused me of stopping him solely because of his race (I am Caucasian) and suggested that I was a bigot and a racial-profiler. I was now stuck. If I let him off with a warning, I would be open to a barely defensible accusation of “stopping him for nothing”, (“There was no violation, Ms. Cordell, or the officer would have given me a citation! I was profile stopped!”). I had to issue a citation. The driver was angry and the interaction was no picnic for me either.

      Some time later, I was again monitoring the intersection. Again, I saw the same sort of violation. I noticed the driver was male but I could not determine his race from where I was sitting. I stopped this driver. He happened to be Hispanic. I again tried to explain the situation. This driver too would have none of it and told me I had only stopped him because he was Hispanic.

      At this point, I moved up closer to the intersection so I would be better able to see what race a driver was. I am not proud to say that I ignored several clear violations until I found a white guy. I pulled him over and issued a citation as well. He was no happier about it than the others had been but at least he didn’t accuse me of racial bigotry.

      I take no pride in admitting that I always made every effort to stop at least 2 white drivers for every non-white. At times, I would even have to pull up alongside the violator’s vehicle, look at the driver to see what race he or she was and make or not make the stop (for a violation I had already seen) based on what my current “race ratio” was. I needed to take these steps to insure that if I was ever accused of racial profiling, I could bring my ticket book to the Internal Affairs inquisition and show that I was always stopping more whites than minorities. Sadly, I was not the only officer who had to “maintain a proper ratio”, despite the violations, in preemptive self-defense against groundless accusations of racial bias.

      So, when I hear the type of ignorant racial bile spewed forth by a reverse-bigot like Ms. Cordell, it is all I can do to keep my seething rage from blowing out my ears.

      • Officer Robillard,
        Thanks for the warning!
        I once worked with an otherwise great Philippine/American former GI,just like me,
        who very boldly told a group of us at lunch one day, “He liked everyone but Southerners” !
        I asked him why? “There all Bigot’s” he hissed at me.

        We all howled at the hypocrisy of his position.
        He look puzzled and asked what was so funny.
        He didn’t get it. Apparently his definition like many other people today is bigotry is only a white thing,
        or a southern thing.

        Avery day I hear or read a story about extreme prejudices, all around the world by all kinds of people.
        Its every where, yet its largely ignored by the media unless a lighter skinned or Christian or Jewish person or a man in blue is involved.

        Bigotry and prejudice work both directions. Its time our News Media, our Politicians, and our Teachers start
        to point that out. Until then pulling the race card will continue to tarnish good people
        and create more tension for those of us just trying to do their job.

        The alternative is total anarchy.

  15. I’m a white female senior citizen. A little over a decade ago I bought a used “classic” vehicle in excellent shape from a Mexican gentleman. He said he was selling it because his wife was afraid to drive it because of all the traffic stops she had to endure. I thought he was kidding.

    Well I ended up selling the car also. Why? because it didn’t matter that my driving record was spotless nor that I drove obeying the rules of the road etc. Anytime I took that car out after sundown I risked getting pulled over for some trumped up reason. One idiot, and he was an idiot for treating me like I would be dumb enough to buy his line, asked me if I was weaving (I wasn’t weaving) because of “mechanical difficulties”. He stated “it appeared my front wheels were toeing in.” YES! MY VEHICLE WAS PIGEON-TOED LOL

    Basically I got pulled over several times a month. The look on the officers’ faces told the story. As soon as they saw a white middle aged woman the backpedaling would begin.

    I detest people playing the race card and I detest race baiting but the facts are the San Jose PD does profile. I learned it well when I drove a vehicle that is a favorite restoration vehicle by some people that happen to have tanner skin tones than mine.

    I don’t really like having to single out racial profiling because other types of profiling are just as disgusting. But this article is about race so I had to speak up.

    BTW Officer Anonymous can try to intimidate with his 148PC comment. The rest of the story….you don’t have to talk to him. It’s simple……repeat after me. “I’m going to remain silent” . Say those five words loud and clear and Officer Anonymous has to respect them. It’s the law of the land. Know your rights. Flex your rights.

    IA is a joke. There has never been an unbiased auditor and I doubt there will ever be one.

    I know a lot of LEOS outside of San Jose. We talk. San Jose PD has to clean up it’s act. There are potentially good officers and certainly new recruits coming in thinking they will actually make a difference. But as long as they continue to protect the rogues they are part of the problem. I don’t care how honest they see themselves and honorably a LEO does his/her job personally. As long as they remain silent and let the corruption continue they are still only potentially good cops , not yet worthy of respect that many would accord them if they weren’t besmirched by the department’s well earned negative rep. A civilian review board would go a long way to improving the status of both citizens and good cops.

    • Nomad,
      As a non cop/ former hot car driver I can tell you it’s, It’s not you, it’s your beautiful, car loud pips, and flashy diving style that will add up to getting pulled over. If your driving a Nomad your driving eye candy.

      If your a good looking gal your going to get frisked at the air port to, because they can and you are.
      You can thank the NOT PROFILING, PC types for that, now we can play with everyone!

      Cops are people too and they love bright shinny car just like the rest of us. I got tickets in my red, orange,and yellow cars never in my white, brown, tan, or silver cars.
      Do you think my driving style changes between cars?
      No I just go faster because they don’t see me.
      Rapid lane changes will catch there and blue lights.

      The nail that stick up get pounded in……….

    • I’d be willing to bet this is a made up story offered by someone trying to support a claim that the evidence refutes.

    • Nomad, are you familiar with the concept of criminally profiling? If not, I would suggest that you educate yourself on it. It is in no way shape or form the same as racial profiling, but ignorant people often confuse the two.

      Let me ask you, Nomad, how many 1980’s Buick Regals on 13″ Daytons and hydros do you see rolling around whichever neighborhood you live in?

      I’ll give you a little social science experiment to go try out when you have the time. Take a trip to the Lion Market over on Kiely and Saratoga. Go inside, start shopping as you normally would at any other store. Take note of all the strange looks you get from the other customers and employees. Are they all racists? Is it their fault that you stick out? No.

  16. Racial profiling by proxy? Give Nomad credit, in a society that is desperate to lay the blame for minority failure on any back that isn’t black or brown, she(?) found a new and unique way to detect police racism, one that even an old white woman can deploy. Nomad may not have a March on Selma on her résumé, but this brave little civil rights fighter has her own claim to fame: she drove a charp chebby lowrider through a Klan-like gauntlet of San Jose’s meanest, defiantly blasting out War’s, “Lowrider.” Okay, not exactly Paul Robeson singing, “We Shall Overcome,” but hey, this is San Jose, where we’re such also-rans we’re still insisting Cesar Chavez is a national hero.

    One creative writing tip, Nomad, you might, when claiming to be nothing more than a safe driving senior citizen and offering no evidence to support your allegations, avoid using jargon that reveals you as so familiar with the police internal investigation process as to leave readers wondering why you mentioned nothing about ever filing a complaint.

  17. Hello, didn’t read all the comments but as someone who has lived in a district with a high rate of crime I think this police versus community generated by our city and police auditor is wrong. Many Mayors, City Managers and Council members control the budget therefore control the police. In Chicago the police had a secret jail where arrested people were brought to and tortured. Don’t tell me all the Mayors of Chicago and political leaders didn’t know about it. It goes on and on about how bad some cities are because the political leadership doesn’t care. They only care when the riots begin and they have to do something so shift the blame on bad police they help create.

    I think our police auditor should look at our court system and try to reform it. Cities raise money through fines and if your poor and can’t pay you can’t get out of the hole they put you in. She needs to take a look at what Governor Jerry Brown is trying to do with the courts to help people.

    • Chicago, secret jail, torture, sounds more like the CIA.
      But this is a city of the Democrats, by Democrats, for Democrats.
      Its the Home City of Barack Hussein Obama, run by his former left hand man Rahm Emanuel.
      Been that way since Al Capone.
      Who are they torturing there, members of the Tea-party that wanted an IRS tax exemption?
      Please tell us more!

      • Why didn’t you try a Google search? Google will turn up many stories on this.

        Chicago was facing over $100M in settlement costs, but I believe the entire matter has now been settled for far less. Chicago PD has a long history of problems. While living in Chicago, I recall the “Burglars In Blue” – a gang of cops burglarizing homes. Orlando Wilson was brought in to clean up the department http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/O._W._Wilson

        But problems remained long after Wilson. Pulled over for a traffic violation? Slip a $10 under the drivers license. Worked for me 3 times. But if cited, always apply for a new drivers license so it would not have any staple holes. That way, it would seem like a first offense and fine eliminated or minimized. Or call the precinct captain and get the paperwork lost. Been there done that.

        Then there was the 1968 Democratic Convention. CPD’s response by an independent panel was subsequently described as a “Police Riot”.

        When I read about alleged SJPD problems, the complaints seem laughable. There have been and will continue to be isolated incidents – happens in any organization of a comparable size. But at an institutional level, SJPD’s values seem beyond reproach. I see this at the individual level too with the officers and employees I’ve met.