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.