Demands to New San Jose Police Chief From Impacted Families

Editor's Note:

San Jose recently appointed a new police chief in the wake of the largest demonstrations against systemic racism in the history of the city and a groundswell of support to defund police. Here, families who have lost loved ones to police in Santa Clara County lay out a set of demands for the first 100 days of the chief's appointment, calling for a new vision of safety.

The City of San Jose has selected a new police chief. The transition of power comes in the wake of the the largest uprising against systemic racism in San Jose history, ignited from the murder of George Floyd, and tapping into the local struggle for police accountability. In such a dynamic time, we expect a new chief to be responsive to the needs and calls of the most impacted by police violence - and to act on their demands. The following set of policies are a listing of priorities laid-out by families who have lost loved ones to police in San Jose. 

To: San Jose Police Chief Anthony Mata

From: San Jose Families Who Have Lost Loved Ones to Police Violence

As San Jose families impacted by police violence, we demand the following:

Meet with impacted families who lost loved ones to police violence.

We demand to be seen and to be heard.  Listen to how police violence has affected our lives and hear our plan for accountability in all police killings:

  • Provide written and verbal commitment to families to respect our grief by establishing a standard of behavior which includes the following:
    • No interrogations of families in the first 24 hours of the shooting.
    • No mugshots of our family members in the press.
    • No public or private discussions with the press or community members on our loved ones’ previous history with the criminal justice system. 
    • No misleading information intended to shape public opinion against the deceased shared to the press.
      • In the past, the actions of SJPD have vilified our loved ones, taints potential jurors, and presumes our loved ones as guilty of their own deaths.
  • Respect the community by being transparent about the incident.
    • Release body cam footage to families and public as is, unedited, and no captions. 
    • Release the disciplinary records of all officers involved in the shooting 

Commit to transparency.

In addition to impacted families, the new police chief must have  regular open forums to allow questions from the larger community. It is not sufficient to rely on the communication on the individual patrol officers. We demand transparency and direct community engagement.

  • Share strategy for changes in SJPD with respect to:
    • Connecting with impacted families.
    • Preventing police violence.
  • Prioritize release of disciplinary records of all officers involved in critical use of force incidents through SB 1421.
  • Release criteria for redacting 1421 records. 

Hold officers accountable in police killings.

Law enforcement leadership has a debt to the community for police accountability. The existing investigative and administrative processes do not meet the needs of the community. 

  • Establish a mandatory policy to hold both an administrative investigation and broaden the scope of the criminal investigation process for all officers involved in critical incidents, especially for all officers involved in critical and lethal use of force cases and the racist cops who posted on social media - and release of findings. 
  • Establish a panel of independent and outside investigators consisting of trained community members, with no direct affiliation with law enforcement and outside of the IPA, to investigate officers involved shootings that resulted in a fatality.
  • Initiate mandatory drug testing of officers involved in critical use of use force cases.

Defund and demilitarize the police.

  • Create and share plans to abolish the special teams - the military hit squads and their military equipment (1033 program).
  • Create and share a plan to redirect responses to community-based organizations for mental health/domestic violence/crisis intervention that doesn’t involve law enforcement.

Halt funding for the new “training facility" and disclose all training policies and procedures to the community.

SJPD has invested in a large training facility with taxpayer funding. Halt that training facility and redirect funds to mental health and community resources to respond to crisis interventions or other community supporting options that exist within the parameters of the funding source.

  • Share a plan and timeline for impacted families to share their stories to police officers  
  • Disclose the current training processes and procedures; specifically plans for the newly purchased training facility.