Groups urge changes in San Jose Police Department

November 24, 2009 12:00:00 AM PST
There's a call for change in policing in the South Bay. At issue is the use of force by the San Jose Police Department. A coalition of ethnically diverse groups with a single voice is demanding change.

A memorial to Daniel Pham is inside his family's San Jose home. His mother today pointed to the place outside where police shot and killed her son in May.

"They killed my son. I miss him very much," said Pham's mother.

Pham had a history of mental illness. He cut his brother's throat and police say he was charging officers with a knife when they fired their weapons.

Pham's death is one of several recent incidents that brought together a diverse group of organizations today in a call for change at the San Jose Police Department.

"The hope is that all races, all ethnicities, all backgrounds, all coming together to create a roadmap to a safer San Jose," said community advocate Raj Jayadev.

The coalition is critical of the department's use of force. Even though a criminal grand jury cleared the officers just last month, the coalition now wants the district attorney to bring the case before an open grand jury.

"We hope we can get answers. Clearly the family is not satisfied with what has happened and still have ongoing questions, we want to help get those answered," said Michelle Lew with Asian Americans for Community.

Critics say they don't understand why police climbed over a barbed wire fence to confront Pham instead of waiting for more officers.

Earlier this month, police released the 911 tapes and defended their actions.

"This was a dynamic, fast-moving ever-changing situation that these officers found themselves in," said Lt. Rikki Goede from the San Jose Police Department earlier this month.

If the department thought it had managed to answer any lingering questions about the Pham case, today there were renewed calls for the police chief to resign and a promise that ethnically diverse groups will work together to push for change.


Load Comments