In solidarity with our community members impacted by police violence in Santa Clara County, the San José Peace and Justice Center condemns the San José Police Department’s (SJPD) oppressive actions towards Black, Brown, Latinx, Indigenous, and all People of Color; inclusive of those who may not identify with society’s normative sexual and gender identities, economic status, abilities and disabilities, religious beliefs and disbeliefs, and immigration status. We seek to amplify the statements issued by the Council on American Islamic Relations and Silicon Valley De-Bug.
SJPD has an extensive history of bigotry and hate that continues under Chief Eddie Garcia. This was exposed more recently through the San Jose Inside report exposing the horrifyingly prejudiced posts and comments made by former and current SJPD officers in the ‘10-70DSJ’ Facebook group. Most posts and comments are Islamophobic, racially targeted, and critical of people who are protesting police brutality in San José and beyond.
The prejudiced, racist, and Islamophobic culture of the SJPD has destroyed the trust of all marginalized communities in San José. These residents are criminalized based on the color of their skin, their beliefs, their sexuality, their gender expression, and their financial status due to the discrimination and white supremacy inherent in the training and practices of SJPD.
Rudy Cardenas (43). Richard Harpo Jacquez (40). Jacob Dominguez (33). Antonio Guzman Lopez (38). Richard Lua (28). Isai Lopez (23). Jesus Geney Montes (24). Anthony Nuñez (18). Daniel Pham (27). Aaron James Phillips (30). Steve Salinas (47). Diana Showman (19). Bich Cau Thi Tran (25). Phillip Watkins (23). Jennifer Vasquez (24). Benjamin Quiroz (25).
Every one of these people were killed by police in San José, and this is not a complete list. With 19 fatal encounters since 2015, SJPD is the most deadly police department of all Bay Area Counties. Almost all of whom were people of color.
The people of San José are justified in believing they are NOT safe from SJPD while privileged white Americans fill city meetings and elected officials’ inboxes with their demands for the security of a visible police force — one that terrorizes those most impacted in today’s COVID-19 pandemic and other socio-economic realities. San José police officers have been institutionally protected by the San José Police Officer Association and the department as a whole for generations, which means that change is not as simple as holding individual officers accountable.
Racism is inherent in the actions of police because policing was created to control those with limited resources and protect the rich members of society. Full control over local police departments must be placed with the communities most impacted. Adequate protections from the cultural and structural violence police inflict must be put in place.
Our current elected city officials ask for time to “study this,” but the situation does not require additional study. The research and demands have already been presented by groups like Silicon Valley De-Bug in their letter to the City of San Jose: Divest from Police and Invest in Community (June 14, 2020).
We demand that the City of San José fund essential community support services for residents utilizing SJPD funds.
We need dramatic change NOW before anyone else is murdered by law enforcement.
We need the healing to begin to build an equitable San José.
San José Peace and Justice Center
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