SJPD Releases Body-Cam Footage From Protests

It took three-and-a-half months to get the footage, but it’s a start.

The San Jose Police Department today released body-worn camera video of three incidents at the downtown George Floyd protests that drew widespread attention.

All three encounters between police and civilians were memorialized by protesters and journalists during the first few days of local demonstrations. But the police video offers a new glimpse of those moments—which, as SJPD Chief Eddie Garcia noted today in an announcement, may or may not change anyone’s mind.

“We hope releasing these videos will provide the public more clarity into each of these incidents,” Garcia said in a media release. “Each video is only one piece of information used to fully understand a complex event. Some opinions and conclusions may be affected after watching certain videos; others will not.”

One clip shows a motorcycle cop hitting a person on the run. Another depicts the infamous Jared Yuen, a six-year officer who went viral for cussing out and charging at protesters. In the third, police fire a foam baton round—colloquially known as a rubber bullet—while trying to arrest someone.

The decision to disclose the footage comes at the behest of the City Council, which urged police make them public to provide more context for highly publicized clashes. Normally, SJPD would have kept the videos under lock.

“We currently release [body-worn camera] footage for incidents as required by state legislation,” the department explained in a press release about the decision. “We have rarely released [body-cam foootage] in cases not required by legislation, where there is pending litigation or when there are ongoing investigations that could be impacted.”

But the intense public interest created an extenuating circumstance.

“We understand we need to make some amount of [body-cam] footage available to the public that goes beyond what is required,” SJPD officials explained. “The three videos released today are the types of cases where we want to expand beyond what is required be as transparent as possible. This is the first step towards that goal.”

In an email through his spokeswoman, Mayor Sam Liccardo commended SJPD for abiding by the direction of a memo co-signed last month by Vice Mayor Chappie Jones council members Raul Peralez, Lan Diep, Magdalena Carrasco.

“We appreciate the police department’s response to the direction of our memorandum and hope that the process we have laid out will continue to make future body-worn camera footage releases more immediate and transparent to the public,” Liccardo wrote. 

Below are the videos, which San Jose PD spokesman Sgt. Christian Camarillo said were edited collaboratively in-house and spliced with some open-source footage.

Each YouTube montage is followed by descriptions provided by the police department, which decided to package each compilation with lengthy commentary instead of letting the body-cam footage speak for itself.

Incident 1: Case Number 20-152-0358

On Sunday, May 31, at 9:30pm, officers were in the downtown area during large protests. Officers received a call of possible looting and an attempted commercial burglary at the Bank of America branch at South Fourth and San Fernando streets.

Officers attempted to detain multiple suspects seen in the area of the bank who they believed were possibly armed with weapons or tools that were utilized to remove plywood from the front of the bank.

All indications were that the group was engaging in an attempted commercial burglary of the bank, a felony in California. One of the suspects fled from officers on foot, he ran in a zig-zag manner northbound on Fourth Street. The fleeing subject was wanted for suspected involvement in a felony commercial burglary.

He was on the sidewalk on the west side of the street. SJPD Traffic Unit officers on motorcycles were simultaneously riding northbound parallel to the suspect. During the foot chase a foam baton round was fired at and stuck the suspect in his lower body.

The suspect then made a sudden sharp right turn into the street, with officers still pursuing him, and ran into the lanes of traffic where the motor officers were traveling. He ran directly into the path of a motorcycle, the officer attempted emergency braking but was not able to stop his motorcycle from colliding with the suspect.

The suspect was taken into custody after the collision. You can hear the suspect ask for medical attention on the video, county EMS medical was called to the scene but the suspect changed his mind and refused medical treatment.

Officers transported the suspect to the command center for processing.

The collision in this incident was found to be a traffic collision, and not a legal intervention or use of force. A traffic collision investigation was completed for the incident. Following the incident, officers inspected the damage to the bank. Protesters had removed sections of the boarded windows attempting to enter the bank.

Incident 2: Case Number 20-150-0495

On Friday, May 29, at approximately 3pm, protests began to turn violent in the eastern part of the city, in particular the area of Highway 101 and Alum Rock Avenue.

Protesters walked onto the freeway and temporarily halted traffic. As the afternoon went on protesters began to gather in the area of City Hall located on Santa Clara Street. The crowd numbered in the hundreds and possibly over 1,000.

Officers were mobilized from all over the city and responded to deal with the unrest. It should be noted that numerous objects were thrown at officers in an assaultive manner.

Some of the objects were large rocks, frozen plastic water bottles, and glass bottles, just to name a few. At approximately 5pm a dispersal order was given and declared the gathering an unlawful assembly. The order was broadcast via a long range acoustic device and was repeated for the duration of the event.

One group of officers formed a line by standing next to each other in a attempt to control the crowd. The subject depicted in this video can be seen from several different angles approaching the line of officers, clearly not dispersing from the scene.

He got close enough to the line that one officer was forced to use an approved crowd control technique and pushed the subject back utilizing his wooden baton by holding it horizontal to the ground and pushing the subject away.

A physical confrontation ensued and the subject subsequently attempted to disarm the officer by pulling on his baton. Attempting to disarm an officer is a misdemeanor crime per California Penal Code Section 148(b).

This image is clearly visible in a still frame from the officer’s [body-worn camera].

The subject then began to swing wildly at the officer with his arms in a striking motion. Other officers immediately ran over to assist and attempted to subdue the subject. The physical confrontation continued until the subject was wrestled to the ground and was eventually subdued and placed into handcuffs.

The subject sustained injuries as a result of the confrontation and was transported to a nearby hospital for treatment.

Incident 3: Case Number 20-150-0495

Related to incident No. 2, on the same date at approximately 5:45pm, another team of officers was dealing with a hostile crowd at San Jose City Hall.

Members of the Special Operations Division were deployed alongside patrol officers. A suspect was identified that had thrown a bottle at an officer. He is depicted in the video wearing a white T-shirt and a white mask covering his face.

Officers can be heard formulating a plan on how and when to arrest the suspect for the bottle throwing, a crime classified as a felony and covered under California Penal Code Section 245(c). A foam baton round is fired at the subject prior to effecting the arrest.

After being struck by the foam baton round, the suspect immediately turns and flees on foot and is not apprehended. Because of his escape officers were not able to evaluate or ascertain if the suspect received any injuries as a result of the foam baton strike. This video depicts the officer using offensive and unacceptable language during the protest.

4 Comments

  1. > “We understand we need to make some amount of [body-cam] footage available to the public that goes beyond what is required,” SJPD officials explained.

    Sounds like the city council needs to change the union contracts so that we can have a higher standard of transparency.

  2. It is a testament to the depth of my boredom during my lockdown by Cody and Newsom, Fauci’s ever faithful followers, that I watched every second of the footage. It was soporific and barely informative.

    The first series of clips re incident #1 were difficult on my old eyes, with all the bouncing around as the cops chased the very few people still in the streets. The footage was ineffective to prove to me that anyone was trying to break into the BofA branch. The cops outnumbered the totally quiet citizens by at least five-to-one. Why soon to be ex-chief Garcia picked this footage to highlight conditions on the ground is beyond me. If it was because of vocal activists who decried the injury to the citizen who literally ran in front of an oncoming police motorcycle, the chief should have laughed off claims of police violence in that instance, as I did. Such claims are a joke.

    Incident #2 was easier to watch, except for the segment where one cop positioned his forearm in the precise location to block the camera lens and kept it there. That cop should be identified and disciplined for rendering his body camera worthless. I don’t not believe that arm positionIng was inadvertent. If that cop is a command officer, he should be suspended without pay for at least a month, and go through retraining on how to properly hold his rubber bullet firing weapon when stationary, firing, and reloading. I’d also like to know who composed that warning issued every few minutes by , was it Officer Avila? It was impossible for me to be sure what name he was shouting out. Why does he ID himself as both a CA peace officer and an SJPD Officer? And “…including but not limited to…” is a joke. The entire thing sounds like it was written to comply with some ridiculous court ruling. How about: “This is SJPD Officer Avila. I am declaring this to be an unlawful assembly. Leave “now or you will be subject to immediate arrest!” Then don’t just keep repeating it 20 times like some beleaguered suburban Mom in the grocery store telling her little brat to stop pulling stuff from the shelves, endlessly, and to no effect. All that said, I saw nothing in all 3 videos worthy of declaring that assembly unlawful. With only two exceptions by two guys who charged the cops, this assembly was merely intermittently noisy, full of shreaking soprano voices at high volume, but otherwise peaceful. No window breaking is shown, no Molotov Cocktails; in a word, not Portland. Videos taken by the public definitely shown violent protests, property damage, etc.; but none of the 3 cop videos showed any of that. So, why were they chosen? They do not make the case SJPD wants to make. They show an inept, almost amateurish, and barely coordinated police response. The crowd was heading westward from 101. Why did the cops keep pushing them westward toward central downtown where they could have done much more damage, instead of herding them eastward, where they all came from anyway?

    Incident number three is all about that moron Yuen. Although yelling “shut up bitch!” was also going throug my mind, his response was a rookie error for which he should be disciplined and go through retraining. The discipline should be along the lines of the “sticks and stones…” lapse in control that it was. I know I had trouble listening to the screeching soprano voices that seem to dominate all the protest videos. Guys don’t screech. They mostly don’t even yell. Dial it back, ladies. I do not know who the idiot who had his rubber bullet rifle deployed in such a position that it competely blocked the camera lens, but I suspect it was the hapless Officer Yuen. I suspect that because that officer was very twitchy, which is usually a sign of nervousness and/or fear.

    I am decidedly pro cop. However, based on these three selected body cam videos all I saw was an amateur operation, poorly executed, and quite ineffective. The officers should have been deployed to isolate and take down forcefully any person doing damage. Instead, they did little but slowly herd a noisy but otherwise peaceful crowd toward City Hall. HUH? If these were the only videos available, I would have to conclude that SJPD gets a D- on how they handled the situation. They herded the low hanging fruit while the actual dangerous agitators were causing disruption and property damage a block away, with little or no police response. But what else can I expect of the police department of a city whose mayor apologizes for calling the people who vandalized his home “thugs”?

    Please pardon any and all typos. This font is too small for my old eyes, and I don’t know how to make it bigger.

  3. < SJPD Releases Body-Cam Footage From Protests

    Pretty much worthless,

    I didn't learn anything.

    It's like trying to understand a football game by watching a fistfight among drunks in the endzone nosebleed seats.