Letter to the Editor: SJPD Misrepresented Cruising Arrest

San Jose Inside,

My name is Daniel Bufano, and I am a 51-year-old gay man residing in San Jose since 2003. Thank you for writing the article about the San Jose Police Department’s illegal and prejudicial conduct against myself, the LGBTQ community, and to a larger degree, all residents of Santa Clara County. I want your readers to know my truth, which I'm sure is shared by many people who have come in contact with the city’s hostile and prejudicial police department.

Police unjustifiably searched, slandered, physically abused and thoroughly victimized me during an illegal “sting” in a bathroom at Columbus Park the night of Aug. 8, 2015. They told me that as a gay man, I should be “ashamed” of myself and that I was a deadly cancer to society and to the world as a whole.

The encounter led to a false police report and the documents fabricated by police that were featured in your article "Cruise Control" (July 28, 2016). First of all, I walked into the men’s room alone and walked out alone. Upon exiting, the “honey badger” undercover police officer engaged me and started to ask me questions pertaining to sex. He asked me if I wanted to engage in oral sex and if I wanted to do so in the bathroom. I declined and tried to move away from him, but he followed me.

You wouldn’t get that impression from reading the police report, however. As I tried to move away, the “honey badger” and two other undercover officers grabbed me and shoved me onto some nearby bleachers. I was cited for 647(d), which is loitering near a public restroom with intent to commit a lewd act. Unlike what the police report alleges, I never said that the bathroom was closing soon and I never said that I had sex in the bathroom on a previous occasion. The way police characterized the encounter was false.

I would like for someone to explain why we're going to spend thousands upon thousands of dollars for the police to wear body cameras and voice recording equipment when the police control when to wear them, and what exactly they wish to be seen and heard instead of the recording in its unedited entirety.

I wish there was a camera to document my ordeal from beginning to end so I could point to proof of the physical, mental, and emotional anguish that the SJPD put me through.

I am one person who has been honored and blessed to have a voice to share this injustice. With the encouragement of my family and friends, I've summoned the strength to stand against this prejudicial enforcement, which affects not only myself but also the LGBTQ community as a whole.

Sincerely,

Daniel Bufano

24 Comments

  1. Go back to your public bathroom, nobody expect you and the other guy cares. This act has been going on for years in San Jose at numerous parks and even at the Fairmont. Enjoy!

  2. First of all the dash cams, body cams and recorders are not to protect the public. They are to be used against citizens that lie about treatment by police. Any video of criminal behavior by police will be reviewed by IA, The Chief, City Attorney and DA representative to limit civil and criminal liability only if there are outside video references to the incident. All other demands for viewing will be met with “The recorder failed, the video failed and the dash cam had a short circuit “No Recording”. When law suits are filled and demand for video under discovery is made the Court will sequester the material for jury eyes only. If the demand continues then the City will take it up the Courts chain of command all the way to the Supreme Court.

    In other words, the cameras that you are paying for will not have the result your looking for which is control over poorly educated, emotionally unstable, poorly hired, poorly trained. poorly supervised and poorly lead men and women who like you have a Gender Identification problem. Your story is true, everyone who goes near public bathrooms is going to get bagged. People will stop doing it and the problem will be solved and that’s what the want. Weather you were guilty or not makes no difference because the crime and the punishment was mental not physical and the badges win. You are dealing with a police department without integrity even in it’s most basic form.

    How do you fix it? A Commission allowed to come in and audit every officer and their internal conduct record before the records are deleted. A civilian review board made up of the community at large. A face to face notification of each employee advising them that “They are Employees of the Taxpayer” and they shall comply with rules of conduct set up by the Commission. If they want to leave so be it. Contract with the Sheriff’s office or request that the Governor to activate 1000 National Guard not to include local PD Officers.

    1,000,000 people do not need 950 misfits and unstables and if that’s what you have you can’t be hurt with the National Guard stepping in for 90 days while you hire and train people you can control. Those with time in should be offered immediate retirement, those who have committed crimes fired and the rest kicked in the butt and supervised tightly.

    Solves your problems taxpayers. Remember, just because minorities are the majority and you have lots of minority cops that means one thing. When minorities become cops they quit their minority culture and are indifferent to their own because they have turned white.

    • Slade, you have been exposed many times as a fraud with an axe to grind who didnt have what it took to maintain a career with SJPD. Give it up.

  3. Jack time for you to go back home. Boy you are one disgruntled ex SJPD officer. Who just has to jump on any story about SJPD and use it as an excuse to bash them for your failure as a police officer.

  4. What is the point of publishing this? I guess to support your previous article which defended the inalienable right of gay men to have anonymous sex in public restrooms? This person makes an allegation about police conduct. Where’s the other side? I’m sure he has a copy of the police report. Why not publish the police version of events as well? Because that would be fair, and who needs fairness?

    I continue to be amazed that police attempting to crack down on sex in public restrooms has been twisted into attempting to portray the police as being anti-gay. The only reason that gay men have been the ones arrested is that gay men (some of them) are the only ones interested in public restroom sex. It has nothing to do with anti-gay bias. Most people these days, including police officers, don’t have a problem with anyone’s sexual orientation. On the other hand, almost no one, other that the participants, would support public spaces being used for sexual encounters. By the way, Mr. Bufano, why did you happen to stop by that restroom?

    • Completely agree. Mr. Bufano’s account is one-sided and likely biased.

      • Like we believe Bufano did not know gays pick up each other at this park since 70s.

        • Mr. Bufano knows this. Mr Bufano also knows the amendments to United States that allows him as a gay male to use a public restroom anywhere without being illegally entrapped in a unprofessional, illegal and police sting where the officer is making almost a quarter of a million dollars that we all as taxpayers are paying for

    • Mr. Bufano stopped by that bathroom because Mr Bufano had to use the bathroom? Yes what a concept….Is Mr. Bufano gay?….Yes. Did Mr. Bufano use a bathroom in a known gay cruisy Park?….Yes…. Did Mr.Bufano go to this bathroom in this park to have sex with whoever in a gross dirty smelly public restroom when his friend was waiting for him in the car and he has a beautiful house within walking distance the answer is NO. Thank you for your input on police cameras. We now have officers being innocently killed because someone with a camera has recorded them illegally using bad judgment excessive force and with prejudice. We can put a camera with a 360 View and on the officers that can stream it to virtual cloud where it cannot be tampered or mislead sounds like problem solved

      • So why don’t you publish the police report, so everyone can read what the officer says you did? I think we all know the answer to that.

        • the police report was published in the article Cruz Control .. It really does not matter because im sure there are some people that have no idea that the SJPD would submit a falsify police record. this is really about the officer baiting gay men. there were no women or straight males who got cited for 647(d), which is loitering near a public restroom with intent to commit a lewd act. If there was a complaint because of the baseball fields and the people who use them . this sting was done at night when there was no events. so I was targeted as a gay male using that marked bathroom. I cant find any other cases or laws that says using the bathroom is illegal.. when I made a complaint with SJPD. internal affairs what do you think there investigation said…. of course they find all the procedures in compliance with the SJPD. can someone tell me what department investigates them… ?

          • Who wrote your “Letter to the Editor” published above? These poorly written comments make it clear that it wasn’t you.

          • Pete Malloy the only poorly written comments that were made were by you. And what makes them so seem so poorly written to you is because as hard as you have tried to find a way to discredit them it is the TRUTH that has written them and as everybody knows the truth always prevails and it is the truth that shows who you really are and what you really think.

          • Did you even read the article. Maybe next time you should before you post 3 separate times about a police report not being posted when is writing the article. Im happy to tell you that that whatever is written in the police report weather the truth or fabricated Had no malice when the judge dismiss this case because it showed it was being targeted against a group of gay men. So now we know who you are. Dont be upset or sad there are million of you out there

      • First off, why do you answer questions in the third-person? Second, you claim your friend, that has a beautiful house within walking distance, was waiting for you in the car. A good friend would offer his near by, clean, well-lit restroom instead of letting you go into a dark, dirty park restroom at night. Hmmm…

  5. It’s not the Metro’s job to publish the police report. That’s the city’s job. By publishing this account, the Metro has attained fairness. Talk to the SJPD if you want the report. Metro doesn’t get paid to do the City’s job.

    Why are we staking out public bathrooms for gay dudes again? Last time I checked, people don’t go to parks in San Jose because there are drugs dealers and homeless people. It’s not because gay dudes are in the bathroom. Let’s stop property and violent crimes that actually affect the residents here rather than stake out empty parks for consenting gay dudes having sex who are only there having sex because the park is empty due to the drug dealers and homeless people.

    • The reason that SJPD was giving attention to that restroom was likely that they received complaints about what was going on there. I’ve read the Constitution, and don’t remember anything in there about the right to hook up with other guys in a public restroom. I also haven’t read any reports about public restrooms that are being used by heterosexuals for similar purposes. If you find one of those, and it’s being ignored by SJPD, then you’d be able to argue discrimination. And it’s the writer, not SJI, that’s offering his self-serving version of what happened. It’s the writer who chose not to include what the police said he did.

    • > rather than

      “rather than”?

      How about if we just enforced the law, uniformly, competently and fairly.

      Obama’s selective non-enforcement of laws he doesn’t like is outrageous.

      I am seriously considering raising this issue with the judge and requesting a “conscience” release from my upcoming jury duty. It’s a biased, unfair system, and I don’t want to be a part of it.

  6. By giving Mr. Bufano a banner and a separate thread instead of just posting his comments along with those of others in the original thread about gay sex in park restrooms SJI has elevated Mr. Bufano’s comments above those of all other bloggers on the subject. The same is true of the banner and Op-ed designation for Oscar Grant’s uncle’s comments. Such a separate way in which to position those comments is intended to exalt that person’s views over the views of all others–an editorial decision by the publisher. To paraphrase George Orwell–in the mind of the editor of SJI everyone’s opinions are good but some people’s opinions are better than others.

  7. I love the “honey badger” reference. For the uninformed.

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4r7wHMg5Yjg

    But you stuck your finger through the hole, by your own admission in the first article. I didn’t know what that meant, but the last article educated me.

    I’m sorry, but nobody has a right to have sex on “Public Property” except elected officials, but at least they discretely do it on the 18th floor after hours.

  8. Mr. Bufano,

    Body worn camera footage captured as evidence is not allowed to be edited in any way shape or form and must be kept confidential prior to any court proceedings so that it does not influence potential jurors or reveal critical aspects of a case prior to trial.

  9. philipcfromnyc
    Sadly, this does not surprise me in the least. Although all state sodomy statutes were declared unconstitutional as applied to consensual same sex sexual intimacy (gay sex) between adults in private settings by the US Supreme Court in Lawrence v. Texas, 539 U.S. 558 (2003), homophobic police officers and police departments continue to push the limits of this decision and attempt to undermine its legitimacy by persecuting gay men (many of whom wearily pay the fine and go about their way, not realizing that they can fight back and win).
    Should any person reading this ever be confronted with charges of this nature, a few tips are in order:
    1) Use Websites such as http://www.cruisingforsex.com to determine if any entrapment operations are running in or about the area where you wish to cruise for sex;
    2) Turn on the recording function of your cell phone prior to entering the bathroom stall. Pretend, if possible, that you are making a phone call informing somebody that you are going to be late getting home — in fact, turn on the recording function so that your cell phone records every word which is spoken BEFORE you enter the restroom or the cruising area in question. Put the cell phone back in your pocket so that it is still recording everything.
    3) Do NOT, under ANY circumstances, resist arrest or attempt to flee!
    4) Carefully note EVERYTHING that occurs around you — the people involved, the name of the arresting officer, the exact location of the “offense,” the EXACT WORDS spoken by the arresting officer and the EXACT WORDS spoken by those involved who lured you in before you were arrested (yes, it may be difficult to maintain the necessary emotional composure to do this, but do the best that you can);
    5) SAY ABSOLUTELY NOTHING that you do not have to say. Volunteer absolutely nothing. Respond only to questions directed to you by the arresting officer until you see your attorney. Do NOT waive your Miranda rights;
    6) SEEK LEGAL COUNSEL, and give legal counsel the most accurate and informed account of the arrest and of the above, surrounding details;
    7) Obtain transcripts of previous arrests made by the officer in question. Almost certainly, this will uncover a particular pattern of behavior on the part of the arresting officer, and this pattern of behavior will reveal that it was the arresting officer (or his stooges) that initiated the sexual encounter, not the victim of the sting operation;
    8) FIGHT BACK by filing civil suit against the police officer and / or police department concerned. Bear in mind that qualified immunity may make it difficult to prosecute the officer criminally, but it may be possible to bring a credible civil suit against the police department concerned;
    9) Do NOT allow yourself to be tagged as a “sex offender” — this scarlet letter is very difficult to erase, and its collateral consequences can be extremely damaging.
    It is possible to beat such attempts to ruin your reputation. Keep the above in mind at all times.
    PHILIP