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San Jose Mayor, City Councilmembers Propose Changes to Use of Force Tactics

In light of recent protests, City Officials calling for San Jose Police Department to increase transparency on crowd control tactics

Post Date:06/05/2020 2:00 PM
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
June 5, 2020
 
Contact:
Rachel Davis, Office of Mayor Sam Liccardo, 408.712.9149, rachel.davis@sanjoseca.gov

 

SAN JOSÉ, CA -  Today, San Jose Mayor Sam Liccardo, Vice Mayor Chappie Jones,  Councilmembers Raul Peralez, Lan Diep and Magdelena Carrasco introduced a proposal asking San Jose Police Department to share criteria for crowd control methods, examine the use of kinetic impact projectiles (KIP) and reform use of force policies. 

“These past days of civil unrest have been the catalyst to police reform, but not the culmination. To ensure the reform process is transparent and meaningful, we need to understand where we are starting from,” said Mayor Liccardo. “The Council and the public to fully understand whether SJPD’s use of force, for what is commonly referred to as “crowd control” meet the high standards for the San Jose Police Department.”
 
This proposal comes after Mayor Liccardo has signed on to the Obama Foundation’s Mayors Pledge and calls for three immediate steps.
 
First, the proposal asks for a report from San Jose Police Department fully identifying what criteria was used to determine when to deploy ‘crowd control’ methods including the use of KIP’s, CS gas (commonly referred to as tear gas), and other methods of force, as well as a recommendation from the department whether the San Jose Muni Code Section 10.32 should ban the use of KIPs for these methods. 
 
Secondly, the Mayor and City Councilmembers seek to establish a process, consistent with what is advocated by the Obama Foundation’s My Brothers Keeper Alliance Mayoral Action Pledge, to review SJPD’s “use of force” policies. These findings, paired with feedback from the community, would begin the process to reform SJPD use of force policies. Community engagement would include faith leaders, social justice advocates, leadership within San Jose’s communities of color, criminal justice experts, the police union, the police rank-and-file, the Chief of Police, and the Independent Police Auditor (IPA). 

 

Thirdly, Mayor Liccardo is supporting an effort to expand the role of the Independent Police Auditor  (IPA) to have more autonomy over ‘use of force’ investigations on the November ballot. Currently, the IPA and SJPD have received over 600 complaints of police conduct from the last week of protest. Expanding the oversight of the IPA will go a long way to ensuring Police Officer accountability with input from the community and negotiations with the Police Officers’ Association. 

As the demonstrations continue in San Jose, and throughout the country, the Mayor and City Council seek to ensure the right to assemble and protest for its citizens as well as the safety of its police officers. As the national conversation about ending systematic racism and holding police accountable for excessive uses of force continues,  San Jose’s leadership will continue to vigorously seek reform. 
 
The memo can be found here
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Statements from San Jose City Council
 
“I recognize the difficult situation that our police officers are put in every time they answer the call to protect people and property during a protest. I also recognize that our residents who wish to express their first amendment rights should also be protected from harm. Police practices have evolved over time and we should continue to assess the efficacy of those practices to protect all of our citizens whether they are peaceful.” - Vice Mayor Chappie Jones
 
“Our community deserves to understand the challenges our police faced this past weekend as well as the rationale behind their responses. As a current reserve and former full-time officer, I have the utmost respect for the difficult job of our San Jose Police Officers, but public and transparent review into their actions is not only necessary, it will help us become a better department.” - Councilmember Raul Peralez

 

“Police are here to protect us from those who would do us harm. Police should make us feel safe. Yet across the nation, and here in San José, we have seen multiple instances where ordinary people exercising their right to protest feel threatened or are unnecessarily harmed by officers who are attempting to carry out their duties. In this moment a large number of citizens are seeking reform of policing methods. It is imperative that we at the city rise to the occasion by listening, adapting, and changing in response to the wishes of the people whom we are here to serve. We must reexamine the role of law enforcement and the use of force in our society. This must be an ongoing process of reform. We can start with the questions raised in this memo.” - Councilmember Lan Diep

 

“As one of the largest cities in the nation, we have a responsibility to lead the way by ensuring the safety of all our residents who choose to exercise their constitutional right to assemble and to freedom of speech. Examining internal practices is a necessity if we are to continue to serve our city with accountability.”- Councilmember Magdalena Carrasco
 
About the City of San José
With more than one million residents, San José is one of the most diverse large cities in the United States and is Northern California’s largest city and the 10th largest city in the nation. San José’s transformation into a global innovation center has resulted in one of the largest concentrations of technology companies and expertise in the world. In 2011, the City adopted Envision San José 2040, a long-term growth plan that sets forth a vision and a comprehensive road map to guide the City’s anticipated growth through the year 2040.

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