Calls to Defund Local Law Enforcement Push San Jose to Rethink Future of Policing

It took six years from securing a rent voucher for Shante Thomas to find a place to call home. As a Black trans woman—an identity more prone to abuse than virtually any other—15 years of roughing it in homeless camps and skeevy motel rooms left her covered head-to-toe in third-degree burns, blind in one eye and mentally scarred.

After braving the elements as long as she did, Thomas, 46, says the one-bedroom flat a few stories over the grandiloquent foyer of San Jose’s Vintage Towers felt like a fortress. On a white board atop a wall shelf in her small living room, Thomas wrote a message in red-and-black marker for all who enter: “Welcome to the house of love and peace.”

The display, lovingly embellished with two cartoon hearts, now reads like a cruel joke.

At about a quarter to midnight on May 30, that sense of safety came crashing down in a hail of rubber bullets and shattered glass.

It was the end of the second of San Jose’s protests against police brutality, a demonstration that drew thousands of people and prompted a hell-hath-no-fury backlash from the city’s law enforcement.

Thomas, who spent the better part of the day watching the events from her living room, says police had already cleared Santa Clara Street of lingering protesters. A smartphone video shot from her window shows officers in a line outside City Hall, backlit by blindingly bright lights that make it hard to see which of them aimed those stocky black riot guns in her direction. “Then, all I heard was, ‘Pow!’” she recounts. “All of a sudden, these things came smashing through the windows—glass flying everywhere—and I was like, ‘Oh f*ck, get down, get down, get down!’”

One of the black rounds pelted her in the chest. Another struck her friend’s 16-year-old daughter, who’d been sitting by the window a room over.

A metal canister landed on the living room floor, exploding in a burst of white pepper spray that threw them all into eye-watering coughing fits.

In what felt like two minutes, a cadre of cops came pounding on her door, offering help. Doubtful of their good intentions, Thomas refused to open the door. Muscles tensed, heart pounding, she waited them out.

Nights have been restless ever since, she says. Every loud noise makes her drop to the floor—especially during the week-and-a-half it took for apartment managers to replace her windows. Meanwhile, her landlord is trying to stick her with the bill, saying police accused her of defenestrating beer bottles—a charge Thomas denies, citing cellphone footage of the incident as proof.

“Why in the hell would I do that?” she asks. “Why would I risk losing my beautiful home that I waited so long for, that I pay rent for, that I made into my own personal sanctuary? Does that make any damn sense to you? Hmmm? I don’t think so.”

Should the landlord takes SJPD’s word for it, Thomas may lose her first and only home, which she says feels more like a trap now anyway.

On the streets, at least, she knows where to hide.  “If I see a cop,” she says, “let me tell you, honey—heels on or heels off, I’m gonna run.”

It took more than a week for Vintage Towers to replace Shante Thomas's busted windows. (Photo by Jennifer Wadsworth)

Force Majeure

After witnessing SJPD respond to protests against police brutality with literally bone-breaking force, it seems the whole city has trust issues.

As daily demonstrations continue on in the heart of the city, San Jose has fielded an unprecedented 1,500 complaints about police misconduct. Protesters maimed by SJPD’s indiscriminate less-lethal fire have turned the city into a cautionary tale about the militaristic excess of modern American law enforcement. A botched curfew enacted to quell the protests became another example of the racial inequities that prompted civil unrest in the first place. An analysis by this news organization found that SJPD issued roughly 70 percent of curfew citations to African Americans and Latinos.

Frustrations have mounted enough for local leaders to confront an idea they would’ve dismissed as too radical just weeks ago.

In more than 3,000 letters and hundreds of minute-long speeches at recent City Council hearings, people have urged San Jose to “defund police.”

Depending on who you ask, that means anything from abolition to a sweeping reallocation of law enforcement funding to community services. Already, Minneapolis has heeded the call, agreeing to dismantle the police department that killed Floyd. In Los Angeles, Mayor Eric Garcetti vowed to slash the police budget and invest that money in Black and Brown communities. San Francisco Mayor London Breed promised to follow suit, though she has yet to determine a dollar amount.

In San Jose—where police take up about 30 percent of the city’s $4 billion budget, 44 percent of the general fund—Mayor Sam Liccardo initially rejected calls to defund.

Though Liccardo says he’s since adopted a more nuanced view of the matter, he still opposes the idea of cutting into the police budget. When a group of Black Lives Matter protesters spoke to him outside City Hall earlier this week, he explained his reasoning by telling them that most of his constituents want more police, not less.

Even if San Jose doesn’t go so far as Minneapolis, the only ex-cop on the council says he thinks the city’s in for a shakeup. “That’s a good thing,” says Councilman Raul Peralez, an SJPD officer from 2007 until his election in 2014. “We should embrace it.”

Though city leaders hesitate to embrace the demands of defunders and on Tuesday voted to keep the police department’s $449 million budget intact, pressure from the movement has already prompted several changes.

Cornered by an outraged citizenry, the San Jose Police Officers’ Association—which has a history of trying to get out ahead of things by proposing fixes before they’re imposed—unveiled a reform plan to root out racist cops. The council has moved to at least study the possibilities of waiving legal immunity for officers accused of wrongdoing, banning “no knock” entries and creating a public database of police misconduct. In his revised budget message, Mayor Liccardo called for the creation of an Office of Racial Equity, for which the council voted on Tuesday to set aside $2 million in funding over the next two years. Chief Eddie Garcia agreed to drastically curtail use of rubber bullets.

Whether those efforts go far enough is a matter of debate.

Meanwhile, Peralez urged the city to commission an independent study of SJPD’s protest response, which he decried for protecting property over people. He also proposed a task force on the future of policing, which he hopes will address concerns raised by defunding proponents about law enforcement having become a catch-all for too many social ills.

“I saw that firsthand,” he attests.

As a school resource officer, Peralez says he’d often get summoned to campus over “minor disputes” that could’ve been resolved without an armed cop. “Plenty of times I felt out of place,” he says, “and I’d tell them, ‘I’m not your school disciplinarian.’”

A similar pattern emerged while on patrol for the graveyard shift. From 9pm until 7 the next morning, Peralez says he’d often get called to family conflicts and other situations that he felt didn’t really merit a police response. Since Santa Clara County didn’t staff social workers overnight, however, he had no choice.

“I’d get really frustrated,” he says. “Because here I am, an officer with a badge and a gun and I’m trying to mediate a dispute with an unruly child. Ideally, I’d be a last resort. But in reality, I was the only person they could call.”

Anyone calling to defund police should also pressure the county—as a public welfare authority—to invest in the kinds of safety-net services relegated to law enforcement, Peralez says. And they should realize that the process wouldn’t look the same as in other jurisdictions. As a city-county hybrid, San Francisco, for example, can reallocate police funding more readily than San Jose, which is bound to a strictly municipal role.

“We’ve been getting a lot of community members wondering why we don’t just shift funding to social services,” he says, “but we can’t move city dollars to the county. We’re going to have to work together to determine what we can shift away from our police department and assign to social services, which is the county’s job to provide.”

As a former cop, Peralez says he fully endorses the idea of reclaiming social work from the realm of law enforcement. Chief Garcia does, too, having lamented on many occasions about the undue burden placed on officers responding to mental health calls.

“Reimagining policing and investing in our community do not have to be mutually exclusive,” Peralez wrote in a June 11 memo that came before his colleagues earlier this week. “The lack of funding prioritization for social programs must be addressed for there to be redirection in how police budgets are designed and how officers are utilized, but they don’t have to come at the expense of one another.”

Community service officers—a civilian role created to deal with police work that doesn’t require an armed response—are one way to bridge that gap. In a policy proposal dropped Monday, Peralez suggests restoring a planned $700,000 cut to the community service officer budget through 2021 and just as much for the year after. “We struggled for years to get these positions here in San Jose,” he says. “And when we finally got them, they were extremely well received by our police department and had a great response from the community. These aren’t armed individuals and they’re trained to deal with various tasks that take the burden off sworn officers. We should lean on them more.”

Greg Woods, who teaches criminology at San Jose State, says he’s heartened by the plans emerging from the city’s present crisis. However, he adds, San Jose would be wise to learn from the past century of local police-community relations.

“Whenever I hear about task forces and studies and commissions, I’m tempered by history,” he says. “We tend to relive the same scenario over and over again, with changes being pushed on the next generation.”

Shante Thomas peers out of her broken window. (Photo by Jennifer Wadsworth)

Hard Lessons

While many cities attribute the founding of their police oversight office to a single transformative event, San Jose’s emerged from decades of pent-up frustrations.

In the 1930s, with San Jose in the throes of economic depression, the city fulminated with discontent, giving rise to a mob of about 10,000 and a lynching in St. James Park. Police responded by blasting fire hoses on the crowd, among other dispersal tactics that Woods says would shock the conscience by today’s standards.

Distrust of police stemmed from routine enforcement, too, of course. Before the 1948 U.S. Supreme Court ruling in Shelley v. Kraemer struck down racial covenants, which sanctioned race-restricted property deeds, the mere presence of a non-white person in certain neighborhoods gave police probable cause to detain them.

Even after the landmark court ruling, generations of racial enforcement evolved into “Broken Windows” policing. So-called vagrancy laws were supplanted by effectively identical offenses, such as “obstructing pedestrian traffic” and “disorderly conduct.” That troubling legacy lives on to this day in Santa Clara County’s most heavily policed ZIP codes, the bulk of which lie in San Jose’s East Side, where young Latino men routinely get stopped and ticketed as part of SJPD’s gang suppression efforts.

SJPD responded with brutal force to the Rose Parade protest in 1969. (Photo via City of San Jose)

Twenty-three years before the council’s unanimous vote to establish the Independent Police Auditor’s Office, a protest ignited over a derogatory depiction of a Mexican pushing a burro in the city’s Fiesta de las Rosas parade. It was 1969 when Bob Gonzales (father of future Mayor Ron Gonzales) convened a group of what one participant described to a reporter as “church people, families and students” who trailed the procession to express their grievance.

According to a Mercury News article published 25 years later, police tried to disband the march by “hitting people because they didn’t want any disruption of the parade.” The bloody clash ended with 23 arrests, dozens of injuries and the city’s Latino residents shaken by the city establishment’s show of force against them.

Then-SJPD Chief Bill Landsowne called it “one of the first confrontations we had in the city,” according to the same Merc story.

“It got out of hand and we didn’t have enough people to deal with the problem. … We got training for crowd control as a result of that,” he said.

Another result: a grassroots push to police the police.

San Jose’s first documented Community Alert Patrols arose in 1972, according to Francisco Jimenez’s Ethnic Community Builders, a history of the city’s Mexican-American struggle for civil rights. The volunteer cohorts equipped with two-way radios and scanners would go to where police would be dispatched—sometimes before the cops even got there—and watch the watchers to document any abuses.

The community patrols, which turned Our Lady of Guadalupe Church into unofficial headquarters, would jot down officer names and badge numbers and take photos of police in the line of duty. At its peak, about 1,000 people joined in the effort, which focused on the city’s largely Latino East Side. “The Community Alert Patrol changed how the police treated us,” says an activist cited in Jimenez’s book.

Despite the scrutiny, tensions flared with police killings of Manuel Villa in 1969, John Henry Smith Jr. in 1971 and Danny Trevino, whose death elicited 800 complaints against officers in 1976. Even so, it wasn’t until the nationwide reckoning brought by Rodney King’s brutal beating in 1992 that San Jose formalized civilian oversight. And SJPD resisted it by boasting about its aptitude for self-policing.

The cover of the San Jose Maverick, a local magazine, after the 1969 “Fiesta de Las Rosas” protests.

Earlier this month, at a June 4 press conference to justify SJPD’s aggressive protest tactics, Chief Garcia and Capt. Jason Dwyer echoed similar assurances. The PD will own its mistakes and review every complaint, Garcia promised, “because that’s what a professional department does.”

A laudable goal, to be sure. But it misses the point. Sure, SJPD has shrunk racial disparities in its application of force and validates a healthy number of claims against its own officers. But it takes more than stats and data dashboards to assuage a fed-up citizenry wondering why their local police force looks and feels like a standing army.

“It’s about trust,” Woods says. “The more force you use, the less trust you get; the more trust you have, the less force you need.”

As the city prepares to form commissions and committees to figure out how to reimagine policing, Woods says he hopes it remembers that the solutions lie in plain sight.

From the Metropolitan Police Act of 1829 in which the British grappled with increasingly militarized law enforcement, to the Task Force on 21st Century Policing under President Obama, the prescriptions remain pretty consistent: minimize force, forge credible community relationships and prevent crime by addressing societal ills such as poverty, mental illness and homelessness.

“Time and again, the conclusions are the same,” Woods says. “Progressive law enforcement means policing by consent. If we have a commitment in San Jose to those principals, then I think things will change for the better.”

Yet the push to defund portends a deeper reckoning for local law enforcement, one that demands justification for its very existence.

Though crime rates have steadily fallen since the early 1990s, incarceration has skyrocketed because of the nation’s penchant for aggressive policing that disproportionately targets Black and Brown people with stops, summonses and arrests.

Police correctly perceive the public’s anger toward them. But while union leaders and top brass respond with vows to change, many of the officers they represent adopt a defensive warrior-cop ethos that presumes they’re under perpetual threat.

That’s why Capt. Dwyer can keep a straight face while describing protesters as enemy combatants. It’s why Officer Jared Yuen amped himself up before unloading a riot gun on protesters by barking about getting “these motherf*ckers.” It’s why SJPD officers mock demands for justice in closed Facebook groups.

Maybe San Jose’s planned future-of-policing task force will delve into a culture that manifests in the skirmish lines, riot gear and weapons on display at recent protests. For now, regardless of SJPD’s justifications for resorting to that level of force, the city remains haunted by images of bystanders bludgeoned by rubber bullets and wheezing from chemical weapons.

“Viscerally, on a gut level, we don’t like what we see,” Woods remarks. “So, the question is, how do you apologize your way out of that? I’m not sure a task force or blue-ribbon commission is quite enough.”

A welcome sign Shante Thomas keeps in her living room. (Photo by Jennifer Wadsworth)

Jennifer Wadsworth is the news editor for San Jose Inside and Metro Silicon Valley. Email tips to [email protected]. Follow her on Twitter at @jennwadsworth. Or, click here to sign up for text updates about what she’s working on.

61 Comments

  1. News from Santa Clara police next door, Brian Gilbert, a high ranking adviser to Chief Pat Nikolai. has pled guilty to sending threats to a activist who supported minority civil rights causes. Gilbert, a known racist and frequent supporter of Santa Clara’s POA surrogate blog, sent a dead fetal pig and live cockroaches to an activist who worked for minority rights issues at EBAY.

    • Actually it was eBay personnel that sent that stuff to people that had a blog that was critical of eBay.
      Lets not make up stores please .

    • I don’t know if you’ve read Jennifer’s work, or have been paying attention to the last few weeks, but SJPD have hurt quite a few people. Sounds like you think the rational thing to do is to bury your head in the sand until they come for you.

      • Funny, that sounds like something an Ostrich might do :)

        Otherwise, I don’t disagree that several people have been hurt by SJPD recently. Perhaps we disagree on WHY they have been hurt, but I think it’s sad that anyone gets hurt and I hate to see it. As for Jennifer, I feel she is going out of her way (and maybe purposefully adding or leaving things out) to shine SJPD in the worst possible light. Based on things I know and have seen for myself I don’t think Jennifer has been completely honest in her reporting. Hence I feel she has an emotional attachment to the issue that may be clouding her judgement. So I asked.

        • I think she just values liberty and justice. SJI/Metro has been shining a spotlight on important issues for many years. When SJI exposed George Shirakawa for stealing from taxpayers, nobody complained that SJI was trying to portray Shirakawa in the worst light possible, nobody questioned whether or not it was personal.

          • When I covered the fallout of #MeToo, a lot of people asked me the same thing, if I had an axe to grind. Nope. Just doing my job, exposing injustice wherever I find it, applying scrutiny on authorities in proportion to the power they wield. So, the most power a person or agency has, the more critical my reporting will be. That’s a fundamental in accountability journalism.

          • As a journalist Jennifer you also have a tremendous amount of power. I would encourage you to use it more wisely than you currently seem to be. With that, did you know bottles were being thrown from that window and choose not to report it? Or did you not know? If you didn’t know, why didn’t you know?

  2. DEFENESTRATION – Love that word and glad you used it.

    de·fen·es·tra·tion
    /dēˌfenəˈstrāSHən/

    noun
    1.
    FORMAL•HUMOROUS
    the action of throwing someone out of a window.
    “death by defenestration has a venerable history”
    2.
    INFORMAL
    the action of dismissing someone from a position of power or authority.
    “that victory resulted in Churchill’s own defenestration by the war-weary British electorate”

    • Jenn, did you check with SJPD’s flak about Shante’s landlord’s claim that the police told him or her that someone in Shante’s apartment was tossing beer bottles out her window? If so, when did you ask, what was the response, and why was it not included in your story? If not, why not?
      Your story only says that Shante denied tossing a bottle out her window. Did you ask the obvious follow up question—did anyone else in your apartment toss a bottle out the window? If so, when did you ask, what was the response, and why was it not included in your story? If not, why not?
      Thanks in advance for your response, Jenn.

  3. Flushing civilization down the toilet one half-narrative at a time…

    While there where many such personal experience narratives back then, I distinctly remember the Pulitzer Prize winning story about a domestic violence victim in 2015-ish and how the women was trapped into taking repeated beating because of high rent, the sneaky subtext being landlords caused domestic violence. Along with the Rexford Way Slumlord gift that kept on giving, these narratives went a long way to manifest consciousness into the lumpenproles and the rile up the artist colony enough to carry rent control and cause justa across the line that reason and experience drew. Alas, the foils to such crusades for justice are always the same, unintended consequences. In that case, San Jose has seen accelerated rent increases for ARU units, 20000 evictions and a 70% increase in homelessness since 2017. But the story stuck with me, for sure, they all really stick with you.

    Now, the mob has turned its head to the other buggy-man, the po-leece-man. What do you think the unintended consequences will be if you send a social worker to domestic disturbance calls? Instead of one women taking a beating, why not two? What will happen to homicide numbers when the Police take a responsive instead of preventative strategy (otherwise known as de-police), they will magically go down? How many narratives will you read in this blog on all the many young men killing other young men? One death is tragic, a million a statistic.

    Will you people every learn?

    • Not making any changes to policing is what you are suggesting. Learned people embrace innovation and change.

      • No. Learned people know throwing the baby out with the bathwater doesn’t work.

        Defund the police is not innovation, it is destruction. Innovation would be A/B test some ideas, building up empirical data to evolve. Threatening funding, reassigning police functions arbitrarily all justified argumentum ad passiones will see much more violence perpatrated on women and minorities. It won’t be streamed, tweeted, or blogged in the Metro, because no one is going to go with the social worker on a 2am DD next Sunday morning and livefeed some unfortunate girl receiving a beat down or care when two 16 year old boys kill each other. Because that happens all the time already and no one cares. Except for the police.

        So put on dem smarty pants learned one and reconstruct society for us, you have the full support of 16% of the population.

        • It appears that you don’t understand what defund means.
          I think there are some good ideas to be looked at in changing police and correction philosophies.

          • > It appears that you don’t understand what defund means.

            Well, then, what DOES “defund” mean?

            If it means something other then “defund”, why didn’t they use whatever word they meant, instead if using a word they didn’t mean?

            Silly me. When they said “defund”, I thought they meant “defund”.

            Why don’t people say what they mean anymore?

  4. I was there on the evening of 5/30, approximately 5-6 glass bottles came out of her apartment window (4 stories up) and smashed near our feet on the street below. These were coming nearly straight down, so they passed our heads on the way towards the street. This was the first volley, and then they started throwing them at us again, but this time we use appropriate and reasonable force through less lethal projectiles (the dreaded Rubber Bullets!). After that, we didn’t get anymore bottles thrown at us!! Oh, I almost forgot, this was the 2nd day that they threw bottles at us from that apartment!! It started on Friday 5/29!!

    To be fair, we had no idea the race, gender, age, or sexual identity of the person or people who were hurling glass bottles at the police when we responded. This was all captured on Body Worn Camera as well.

    • With all of the misleading SJPD has done, from arresting activists like Professor Lin on false charges to editing out the beginning of Alex Baca’s confrontation with police in their riot footage supercut, I am not comfortable taking your word for it. There have been way too many examples of body camera contradicting officer accounts for me to just take your word for it. It’s hard for me to take your word for it when it’s such an interesting coincidence that you appear to be a direct witness to both the Alex Baca incident and this incident, given your prior posts – it sounds convenient, but I acknowledge that it’s possible.

      Maybe you’re right, in which case I’d owe you an apology. But I’d need to see the footage, and I have a feeling that I’m never going to see the footage you’re describing.

      My main question, however, assuming your story is true, is why didn’t you approach her on 5/29 if you were able to identify her apartment as a source of glass bottle projectiles? I saw videos of protesters throwing plastic bottles at SJPD, and SJPD responding by firing rubber bullets into a crowd. It seems crazy to me to imagine that you were capable of identifying a source of GLASS bottles being thrown from four stories up and you didn’t choose to walk the stairs up to her apartment to talk to her or arrest her. I’m not sure I believe what you’re telling me (I’d be interested to see the footage you describe), but it seems like you’re alleging the most specific and deadly use of force against SJPD by protesters that has been described in the last three weeks and telling me that SJPD ignored it and chose to instead focus on the crowd of mostly peaceful protesters.

      • Buyers Remorse,

        1. Shante doesn’t live on the fourth floor.

        2. Is it standard practice for officers to shoot projectiles at people who are so hard to see that you can’t make our their “race, gender, age, or sexual identity?”

  5. I love the San Jose history included in this article.

    I am pretty darn impressed with Councilmember Peralez. His perspective as a former police officer really speaks volumes. We should defund SJPD, invest in community service officers, and work with the county to invest in social services.

    • > We should defund SJPD, invest in community service officers, and work with the county to invest in social services.

      Just stick your nose in Twitter and Facebook fifteen hours a day. They’re kind of like “social services”.

  6. > After witnessing SJPD respond to protests against police brutality with bone-breaking force, it seems the whole city has trust issues.

    I was wondering who speaks for the whole city.

  7. The lynching in St. James Park had zero to do with police brutality or racism.

    A popular and wealthy young man was kidnapped and murdered. After the arrest of the accused, California Governor James Rolph publicly stated he would pardon anybody convicted of lynching the two suspects. Local newspapers even did their part and published photos of the lynch mob and were even kind enough to blur the participants faces to shelter them from prosecution.

    Oh, and the murder victim and the two accused murderers were all white.

    But, we cannot talk about lynching without people automatically assuming it is a black issue only.

    So, why is this part of the story on racism and police brutality?

    • Because the point in that case is police response to the crowd that gathered for it + dispersal tactics.

  8. So, blasting fire hoses on a crowd that broke into a jail, dragged two INNOCENT people from police custody and hung them from an Oak tree was heavy handed or improper? Oh, and nice to see the press held up their end of the bargain by protecting the identities of those who participated.

    How did local law enforcement over react to the situation in St. James Park?

    • Where did I say they over-reacted? I’m quoting a professor who cited that as an example of how dispersal tactics have changed over the years and how what was considered normal back then would shock most people today.

      • Jennifer, you have taken the cartoon character of Superman to a new level with protecting us from all the injustices of society with your “reporting ” Good luck with that theory!

        • Imagine a reporter giving historical context on a story based on, wait for it, history! The gall!

  9. “Minimize force, forge credible community relationships and prevent crime by addressing societal ills such as poverty, mental illness and homelessness.”

    The Task Force on 21st Century Policing’s problematic ideals to prevent crime as listed above don’t address the root causes by simply attributing them to “society.” Nice touch, attempting to make it everyone’s problem. That would be all fine and good if we ignored statistics and facts, but we know that crime is concentrated in areas with poor leadership, broken homes, welfare dependent populations and a strong dose of indoctrination as “victims” of “the system.”

    “Though crime rates have steadily fallen since the early 1990s, incarceration has skyrocketed because of the nation’s penchant for aggressive policing that disproportionately targets Black and Brown people with stops, summonses and arrests.”

    – “disproportionately targets”.. hmm. This begs the question of, “Who disproportionately commits the crimes in this country?” Honest question seeks honest answer… Facts? Why don’t we use those instead of emotions? Pesky facts! Always getting in the way of a narrative!

    “A similar pattern emerged while on patrol for the graveyard shift. From 9pm until 7 the next morning, Peralez says he’d often get called to family conflicts and other situations that he felt didn’t really merit a police response.”

    After Peralez’s partners would wake him up to let him know he got dispatched somewhere… But yes, coming from Peralez, a guy who knows little to nothing about proactive police work, he’s an expert on reactive policing! What’s lost in the narrative here is that although the police may not be best suited to respond to this call without other resources, it is often critical that the police are present based upon the countless times where a child has disclosed abuse, one or both halves of the relationship has been physically assaulted, and a myriad of other criminal issues that people don’t feel comfortable discussing in a rush over the phone.

    Jennifer Wadsworth – “Nope. Just doing my job, exposing injustice wherever I find it, applying scrutiny on authorities in proportion to the power they wield. So, the most power a person or agency has, the more critical my reporting will be. That’s a fundamental in accountability journalism.”

    You’ve missed the part of Accountability Journalism where facts, unbiased information and non-narrative data are utilized to illustrate your story. Not to be rude or insulting, but you present some of the most biased, one sided, narrative-laden journalism I can find in this area. I truly appreciate your time in bringing these topics to light for discussion and debate, but you’re so biased that your work comes across as hit pieces instead of keeping people accountable.

    • Stevie Q, which news outlet do you consider unbiased? And, by way of explanation, the reason I write in narrative is because I work for an alt-weekly that specializes in magazine-style longform journalism.

      Some of your critiques are conflating what I report with my own views. For example, your critique of the 21st Century Task Force—I didn’t say anything about what I think of it. I cite it as an example mentioned by Woods. If you disagree, your disagreement is with Woods, not me.

      Same with the other sources.

      Thanks for weighing in!

      • I guess I’m not the only one that feels you have an axe to grind.
        Why do you think you are received that way by at lest a few of your readers?

      • Most news outlets are inherently biased, there’s really no way around that, but the most reliable (IMO) largely let factual information and numbers illustrate their stories and support their point of view.

        By narrative, I meant that you typically have an “anti police” sentiment (aka narrative) throughout most of your articles. They’re only one arm of the justice system, you know? When was the last time you interviewed a line level supervisor or officer regarding anything you write about? It’s almost always only told from the opposing point of view.

        Might I suggest, in the name of accountability, you run a story at some point in the future objectively looking at say – the extreme differences in District Attorney filing rates for drug related offenses and related Judicial penal sentencing in the post Prop 47 CA compared/contrasted with the explosion of Meth and Heroin abuse in the SF Bay Area? (Holding the DA and Judges Accountable for our drug addicted under class)

        I’m not being facetious or purposely controversial either.. if you were to hit the streets and talk to our Meth and Heroin addicted populous, they would probably be very willing to discuss how Prop 47 has failed them too.

        Or another suggestion – the rapid degradation of the quality of life for SF Bay Area residents in the last 5+ years that Democrats have held super majorities in state offices and local government? (Holding Elected Leaders Accountable for failed policies and poor leadership).

        • Jenn. You have debated with several commenters here, but never answered my questions posed on June 17. From that I can only conclude that you did not contact SJPD for their side of the story and did not ask whether someone else in Shante’s apartment threw the bottles; or that if you did, the answers you got would not fit in with your narrative. If I am incorrect, tell me what you did and what you were told.
          But you are not alone. There is almost zero honest, stick to the facts and report all the facts journalism; neither on the left nor on the right. It’s all opinion, reporting only the facts that fit the desired narrative while suppressing those facts which don’t fit the narrative.

  10. Not that I have any love for the mayor or the police chief or San Jose but how many of you are willing to put up with law and order dished out to you by the likes of the Crypts, the Bloods, and MS13.

    Oh no time to buy some guns MR Bill ! Thanks Sluggo !

  11. Fred Bates, retired SJPD

    I knew this day would finally come when I could expose Mayor Liccardo, the City Council and SJI as frauds when it came to the issue of racism. I retired honorably from SJPD as a sergeant with performance evaluations consistently above standard with many individual rating categories being exceptional. I was denied a CCW permit by SJPD in clear violations of my constitutional rights based on state law. I am black/African American. The violation of my rights was clearly malicious, racist and bigoted based on my ethnicity and my medical disability. This is true because the City stated in one of my two lawsuits that it had no obligation to investigate my racial discrimination complaints as is required by City policy. The City also stated in its response that I was not entitled to equal protection under the City’s anti-discrimination policy. Magistrate Judge Nathanael Cousins agreed with the City and dismissed that lawsuit by fraudulently relying on a case as precedent. After I filed my first lawsuit, City Attorney Richard Doyle and Deputy City Attorney Michael Dodson conspired with my attorney, Stuart Kirchick, to commit fraud on the court by making false claims and fraudulently dismissing a police official (Assistant Chief Tuck Younis) from my lawsuit in order to facilitate the filing of a motion for summary judgment that was a complete fraud. The City admitted in their response that Younis violated by rights by denying me a due process hearing mandated by state law. US District Judge Ronald M. Whyte granted the City’s summary judment motion knowing that it was based on fraud. When I dumped my attorney and filed several motions to have the fraudulent judgment on the City’s summary judgment motion overturned, they were denied by the US District Court and 9th Circuit Court of Appeals. The district court under Judge Whyte dismissed one of my motions by way of a phony hearing with a phony transcript and fraudulent docket entries and a phony judgment. This is all true. I asked SJI to investigate my claims but SJI refused to do so and attempted to cover up the racist conduct of the City by refusing to post comments I made to an article. Mayor Liccardo, Councilmember Peralez along with other members of the City Council didn’t have the decency to respond to my complaints as is required by City policy. For Liccardo and Peralez to express so much concern about addressing racism in the police department is laughable. When I informed City officials in an email that their actions would have consequences, it was met with a malicious criminal investigation. I’m sure Chief Garcia will comfirm this claim. This sounds like something out of the South during Jim Crow rather than San Jose 2020. Other high ranking City officials, many of them black, participated in the cover up of my racial discrimination complaints. This conversation is supposed to be about addressing racism among the rank and file police officers of SJPD. First the City and the citizens of San Jose should address the racist and criminal misconduct of its elected officials. I don’t believe there’s any chance of this happening because this discussion is not at all about justice and racial equality. This is all about hatred for law enforcement. Nothing substantive will happen. Here’s evidence from my blog to support the claims I make:
    https://crnctz.blogspot.com/2017/02/more-oversight-for-san-jose-police-as.html
    https://crnctz.blogspot.com/2017/01/san-jose-newspaper-covers-up-corruption.html
    https://crnctz.blogspot.com/2017/01/san-jose-newspaper-covers-up-corruption.html

  12. Rather than calls to defund the police because of systemic racism, there should be calls to defund San Jose City Hall and our local federal courts for their racism and corruption. If this does not happen, calls to defund the police will be clearly politically motivated and based on hate. Here is more evidence that Mayor Liccardo, the City Council and the local federal courts should be investigated. When reading the information below, keeep in mind they did this to a black man:

    https://crnctz.blogspot.com/2018/06/san-jose-mayor-sam-liccardo-and-san.html
    https://crnctz.blogspot.com/2017/01/the-ninth-circuit-court-of-appeals-no.html
    https://crnctz.blogspot.com/2016/10/us-district-judge-ronald-m-whyte-21st_31.htmlhttps://crnctz.blogspot.com/2016/10/us-district-judge-ronald-m-whyte-21st_31.html
    https://crnctz.blogspot.com/2015/10/message-to-san-jose-mayor-sam-liccardo.html
    https://crnctz.blogspot.com/2015/08/exposing-cover-up-of-cheating-scandal.html

  13. A metal canister landed on the living room floor, exploding in a burst of white pepper spray that threw them all into eye-watering coughing fits. Is this your attempt at more fiction?

    • Very objective article and well written. It further suggests there is an agenda to Jennifer’s reporting. Full disclosure, Jennifer are you a member of De-Bug? Antifa? or La Raza? Or any other activist group that wants to de-fund the police?

  14. > When a group of Black Lives Matter protesters spoke to him outside City Hall earlier this week, he explained his reasoning by telling them that most of his constituents want more police, not less.

    Hmmm. People in Australia are saying that Black Live Matter are “radical neo-Marxists”.

    https://www.heraldsun.com.au/blogs/rita-panahi/blm-are-radical-neomarxists/news-story/8ed22f8b57042417bf23745dba70ad7c

    Does anyone at San Jose Inside know anything about this?

    Are the Australians nuts?

    Radical neo-Marxists sound like bad people.

    Has San Jose Inside been flacking for radical neo-Marxists?

    Jennifer?
    Grace?
    Kyle?

  15. When Assemblyman Kansen Chu allegedly made racist remarks, there were calls for his resignation. Yet, there have been no calls for Mayor Liccardo and the involved City officials to resign, or at least an investigation into the allegations made in my two above comments that the Mayor and many other City officials engaged in racist and criminal misconduct during two lawsuits I filed against the City for racial and disability discrimination. So many people, including SJI, want police reform based on perceived police brutality based on systemic racism, while many others want Kansen Chu to resign for allegedly making racist remarks. But they have not shown any courage or integrity to hold the Mayor and other City officials accountable for their misconduct that violate the oaths they took. What a blatant double standard. SJI can settle this matter by getting a response from Liccardo and the City Council; giving them the opportunity to call me a liar. I dare them!

    • > Yet, there have been no calls for Mayor Liccardo and the involved City officials to resign, or at least an investigation into the allegations made in my two above comments that the Mayor and many other City officials engaged in racist and criminal misconduct during two lawsuits I filed against the City for racial and disability discrimination.

      Fred:

      I can see that you’re a very sensitive person and abhor racism, and slavery, and white slave-owners.

      If you’re appalled by Kansen Chu’s racism, and Sam Liccardo’s racism, and San Jose’s systemic racism, are you likewise appalled that the City of San Jose is named after an icon of the Catholic Church, Saint Joseph?

      The same Catholic Church that sent the “missionaries” to California to enslave the noble savages, sometimes referred to as “indigenous peoples”.

      Are you also appalled by the pictures of the white male slave owners on the dollar bills you receive from the racist and oppressive Trump government?

      I’m sure you will support the movement to change the same of San Jose to Diversitopia and the complete de-development of the city so it can be returned to a state of pristine wilderness for the exclusive benefit and dominion of the Ohlone Indians.

  16. Kudos to Ms. Wadsworth, and San Jose Inside, for their investigative and engaged journalism that is increasingly rare. Your coverage during the “San Jose uprising” these past three weeks or so has been substantive and commendable. This piece, in particular, impressively attempts to provide local historical context to the question of policing in this town. Thank you.

    Any such local accounting will inevitably lead us to the origins of U.S. policing in the surveillance and control of labor. After all, what is U.S. history if not the history of the coercion and brutalization of people mostly imported from abroad on an unprecedented scale? Initially and most prominently, this was the labor of enslaved Africans, but it also included the control of White settlers who were indentured and bonded to their merchant and landowning masters, as well as the coerced labor of indigenous peoples in the British colonies of North America.

    Organized violence–whether night watch groups, slave patrols, vigilantes, sheriffs, constables, posses, marshals, deputized militias, armed gangs or “citizen” mobs–were essential to prevent slaves and other coerced laborers fleeing from–or revolting against– those benefiting from their misery (see https://theconversation.com/the-racist-roots-of-american-policing-from-slave-patrols-to-traffic-stops-112816; https://plsonline.eku.edu/insidelook/brief-history-slavery-and-origins-american-policing;https://law.jrank.org/pages/1640/Police-History-Early-policing-in-colonial-America.html). The continent-wide, multi-century processes of settler colonization; enslavement; genocide and forced geographic expansion; large-scale immigration and internal migration; imperialism; racial, spatial and social segregation; and monumental environmental devastation expanded the realm of coerced labor. But this could only have been possible through the use of considerable organized violence.

    The main material beneficiaries of these processes were overwhelmingly White European settlers, as were those meting out the violence. Those forced to work, on the other hand, were Africans, Natives and, later, Mexicans, Chinese and multiple millions of desperate, abused and badly paid immigrants from the four corners of the earth. Racism and White supremacism (with a Protestant bent) were essential ingredients and by-products of these long-term processes.

    Wealth accumulation and property systems based on labor coercion and racial and social segregation were also enabled and reinforced by the emerging legal system. With the growth of cities, these systems of “legalized” spatial and social segregation enforced by violence were urbanized; maintaining order and law enforcement became the province of “modern policing.”
    Thus, policing in San Jose and all other cities, has always been “racialized” in some important way and always about keeping the underclasses in their place while protecting the power, property and prerogative of wealthy elites. Ms. Wadsworth’s recounting of the San Jose police repression of Mexican-Americans at the 1969 Fiesta de las Rosas parade is but one incident among thousands involving White police and Mexican-American citizens. Such policing remains violent, consistent with the main currents running throughout our history. It is at bottom about “protecting” and “serving” the main beneficiaries of a highly unequal and anti-democratic economic and social system in which the working underclasses are disproportionately people of color, particularly Latino and East Asian in our own case. (Read the names and look at the faces of those killed by San Jose police in recent years, overwhelmingly Latinos and people of color https://www.sanjoseinside.com/news/hundreds-of-protesters-decrying-police-brutality-stage-sit-in-at-san-jose-mayors-house/.)

    Our elites–who own the lion’s share of wealth–are not going to allow for the dismantling of the “blue” firewalls of property and wealth protection in the context of volatile political movements and increasingly wide-spread resistance to power. Re-imagining policing, therefore, requires nothing less than re-imagining the social order itself.

  17. Kudos to Ms. Wadsworth, and San Jose Inside, for their investigative and engaged journalism, something that is increasingly rare. Your coverage during the “San Jose uprising” these past three weeks or so has been substantive and commendable. This piece, in particular, impressively attempts to provide local historical context to the question of policing in this town. Thank you.

    Any such local accounting will inevitably lead us to the origins of U.S. policing in the surveillance and control of labor. After all, what is U.S. history if not the history of the coercion and brutalization of people mostly imported from abroad on an unprecedented scale? Initially and most prominently, this was the labor of enslaved Africans, but it also included the control of White settlers who were indentured and bonded to their merchant and landowning masters, as well as the coerced labor of indigenous peoples in the British colonies of North America.

    Organized violence–whether night watch groups, slave patrols, vigilantes, sheriffs, constables, posses, marshals, deputized militias, armed gangs or “citizen” mobs–were essential to prevent slaves and other coerced laborers fleeing from–or revolting against– those benefiting from their misery (see https://theconversation.com/the-racist-roots-of-american-policing-from-slave-patrols-to-traffic-stops-112816; https://plsonline.eku.edu/insidelook/brief-history-slavery-and-origins-american-policing;https://law.jrank.org/pages/1640/Police-History-Early-policing-in-colonial-America.html). The continent-wide, multi-century processes of settler colonization; enslavement; genocide and forced geographic expansion; large-scale immigration and internal migration; imperialism; racial, spatial and social segregation; and monumental environmental devastation expanded the realm of coerced labor. But this could only have been possible through the use of considerable organized violence.

    The main material beneficiaries of these processes were overwhelmingly White European settlers, as were those meting out the violence. Those forced to work, on the other hand, were Africans, Natives and, later, Mexicans, Chinese and multiple millions of desperate, abused and badly paid immigrants from the four corners of the earth. Racism and White supremacism (grounded in Protestantism) were essential ingredients and by-products of these long-term processes.

    Wealth accumulation and property systems based on labor coercion and racial and social segregation were also enabled and reinforced by the emerging legal system. With the growth of cities, these systems of “legalized” spatial and social segregation enforced by violence were urbanized; maintaining order and law enforcement became the province of “modern policing.”
    Thus, policing in San Jose and all other cities, has always been “racialized” in some important way and always about keeping the underclasses in their place while protecting the power, property and prerogative of wealthy elites. (Ms. Wadsworth’s recounting of the San Jose police repression of Mexican-Americans at the 1969 Fiesta de las Rosas parade is but one incident among thousands involving White police and Mexican-American citizens.)

    Such policing remains violent, consistent with the main currents running throughout our history. It is at bottom about “protecting” and “serving” the main beneficiaries of a highly unequal and anti-democratic economic and social system in which the working underclasses are disproportionately people of color. (Read the names and look at the faces of those killed by San Jose police in recent years, overwhelmingly Latinos and people of color https://www.sanjoseinside.com/news/hundreds-of-protesters-decrying-police-brutality-stage-sit-in-at-san-jose-mayors-house/.)

    Our elites–who own the lion’s share of wealth–are not going to allow for the dismantling of the “blue” firewalls of property and wealth protection in the context of volatile political movements and increasingly wide-spread resistance to power. Re-imagining policing, therefore, requires nothing less than re-imagining the social order itself.

    • > Re-imagining policing, therefore, requires nothing less than re-imagining the social order itself.

      Is there any reason that anyone should give your “re-imagining of the social order” any special credence?

      There are seven billion people on the planet and probably a couple billion more who came before you.

      Probably, a LOT of them were a lot better than you at “re-imagining social orders”.

      Is there anything else you know how to do that might be more useful to humanity?

  18. Jennifer, Kyle, Grace:

    There are many violent videos on Twitter demonstrating that some black people do not think that non-Black lives matter.

    Do you think that progressives would learn anything if they saw them?

  19. This comment is to set the record straight. It is in response to SJOutsideTheBubble’s above comment on Jun 20 @1:01pm. In that comment, SJOutsideTheBuble had a few things to say about my two comments posted earlier that day alleging that Mayor Liccardo, the City Council and the City Attorney’s Office engaged in very serious criminal misconduct during litigation of two lawsuits I filed against the City for racial and disability discrimination. I am black/African American. The point I was trying to make with my comments is that the Mayor and Councilmember Peralez have no moral authority when it comes to addressing racism because of the racist treatment I received at the hands of City officials. That’s it! I never said Kansen Chu was racist. All I pointed out was others had called him a racist and that others had talked about systemic racism in the police department. I never said that I believed any of that nonsense was true, because I don’t. Again, the only purpose of my comments was to expose the racist and criminal misconduct of Mayor Liccardo, Councilmember Peralez and many other City officials. It was also meant to point out the City’s blatant hypocrisy and double standard. If a rank and file police officer had engaged in half the misconduct I allege against the Mayor and other top City’s officials they would have been fired already. I was hoping that someone would recognize the serious nature of the allegations I make and call for an investigation. It is clear that is not going to happen; not by SJI, SJOutsideTheBubble or anyone else. So SJOutsideTheBubble don’t involve me in this insincere debate about defunding the police or the history of policing and racism in San Jose. But I will be glad to have a debate with you about the corruption and criminal misconduct of the officials over at City Hall.

    • > So SJOutsideTheBubble don’t involve me in this insincere debate about defunding the police or the history of policing and racism in San Jose.

      Fred:

      Fair enough. I cannot say that you involved yourself in the debate about defunding the police.

      But your claims do seem to relate to “the history of policing and racism in San Jose.”

      > But I will be glad to have a debate with you about the corruption and criminal misconduct of the officials over at City Hall.

      No doubt a worthwhile debate to have, but I have no facts to bring to the table. Only opinions. Debates test one set of facts against another set of facts. I couldn’t really test anything. I have to stand back and watch others debate this one.

      • Oh come now Mr. Bubble I watched the last batch of Democrat “debates”.
        No facts were included in those “debates”.

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