Enhanced audio released of SJ police beating

November 19, 2009 6:37:58 PM PST
Critics of the San Jose Police Department have a new piece of evidence. It is an enhanced audio tape of the use of force against a San Jose State student. Some claim it proves the student was not combative or resisting arrest and that police went too far, but police insist their response was justified.

ABC7's media partner, the San Jose Mercury News hired an expert to enhance the sound from the cell phone video of a controversial arrest in September.

San Jose State student Phuong Ho says police knocked him to the ground and his glasses fell off.

With the enhanced audio you can hear officers strike Ho at least 13 times with their batons and use a Taser once.

The audio transcript indicates Ho used the word "glasses" seven times and between sobs and screams used the words "please" and "sorry" a total of eight times.

The exchange seems to back up Ho's account to ABC7 last month that he was only trying to find his glasses.

"I cannot see anything without them. I feel panic and I'm scared. I feel unsafe," said Ho.

Attorneys for the officers say Ho was resisting arrest, but then there is this comment from one of the officers: "I wanted to punch the [exploitive] in the mouth."

Community outrage over San Jose Police conduct prompted a two year study by a recently formed academic research group.

Thursday the Consortium for Police Leadership in Equity presented its first report to a council committee. So far their data crunching does not support what many critics contend -- that the police department engages in racial basis.

"On the surface, preliminary analysis, on the first 10 years of data that we got, which we got less than three months ago, there does not appear to be a pattern of bias," says Consortium researcher Phillip Atiba Goff, Ph.D.

The analysis is still in its beginning stages and as police policy is reviewed on several levels, the district attorney must decide if the officers involved in the beating of Puong Ho engaged in excessive force.


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