Days after protesters and police clashed on the streets of downtown, the San Jose City Council demanded accountability. Video clips of SJPD officers were going viral.
One showed cops wailing on a protester. A few others captured the now-notorious Jared Yuen clad in riot gear, snarling and cussing at civilians.
In response to outrage over SJPD’s violent response to the demonstrations, the council asked the department to “release to the public any videos … that provide a fuller picture” of the encounters within two weeks.
Well, it’s now been three weeks since the ultimatum—and we’re all still waiting.
Fly tried to pry body cam footage from SJPD pretty much right after the George Floyd protests started. A May 29 request for Yuen’s body cam footage was denied, however, with the department citing that the officer was under investigation.
A second request asked for body cam footage from a motorcycle cop who ran over someone running away from officers.
Alas, SJPD records analyst Monique Villarreal cited a pair of relatively new state laws—which require police to release records relating officer misconduct and use-of-force—as grounds for withholding the data.
“The narrative related to the referenced incident were reviewed,” she wrote in response to a query about the motorcycle run-in. “The incident was determined not to fall within the parameters of incidents covered under Senate Bill 1421 and Assembly Bill 748. Therefore, the requested information and record (body camera footage) are being withheld.”
That’s something of a head-scratcher, considering how those two laws require disclosure about exactly the kinds of use-of-force and misconduct Fly inquired about. But, hey, maybe SJPD doesn’t consider hitting someone with a motorcycle a use of force.
A spokesperson for SJPD told Fly that footage of the incidents requested by the City Council weren’t being released due to litigation.