SJ Vietnamese community angry over beating

October 26, 2009 9:24:49 PM PDT
Leaders in the Vietnamese community in San Jose are upset by a piece of video that appears to show police beating an unarmed Vietnamese college student. That student is now a plaintiff.

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Cell phone video obtained by the San Jose Mercury News shows police using a baton and Taser on 20-year-old San Jose State student Phuong Ho in his apartment hallway on September 3rd.

A roommate called police saying Ho threatened him with a knife. Ho was unarmed when police arrived, but the four officers present say he was resisting arrest.

Ho says he was hit even after being handcuffed.

"Even if I was not handcuffed, with a 250-pound guy sitting on top of me what could I do? I couldn't even move an inch," said Ho.

Mercury News: Raw cell phone video
Mercury News: Read the entire story

"I was so stunned, I felt so bad," said Van Le, a South Bay Vietnamese Community leader.

Le says she felt terrible when she saw the video.

"This is really dehumanization. You can't treat a person just like an animal, especially when Mr. Ho has been handcuffed," she said.

Le says a variety of community groups are waiting to see the results of the district attorney's criminal investigation and the police department's internal investigation.

"We are speechless. We can't see this happen in America. We can see this happening in Vietnam, but never to be happening in America," said Le.

The four officers were placed on paid leave as soon as command staff saw the video last week. The mayor says the video is troubling.

"The city council and the mayor's office and everybody here are quite concerned about what we saw on the tapes. It seems to indicate more force was used than necessary," said San Jose Mayor Chuck Reed.

Police say they have more video than what has been released publically, and they believe there is even more out there showing what led up to the beating, but won't elaborate on why they don't have it. Police expect to hand over the case to the district attorney Thursday.

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