No charges for police in SJSU beating, arrest

March 3, 2010 7:18:19 PM PST
The Santa Clara County district attorney has decided not to charge two police officers for excessive use of force in the arrest of a San Jose student.

The case triggered outrage after the arrest which happened last September was caught on cell phone video. It shows the officers using batons and a Taser on the student.

Even the district attorney admits that the cell phone video is graphic and disturbing. But, she says the evidence indicates that they could not get a conviction for excessive use of force and therefore will not prosecute.

The district attorney's office released enhanced cell phone video Wednesday of the arrest of a San Jose student on September 3. The district attorney's office says it hired three outside experts to analyze the use of force against Phuong Ho.

They concluded that a jury would not convict the officers of excessive force.

"The baton was used in an attempt to gain compliance and not as a indiscriminate assault," said Santa Clara County District Attorney Dolores Carr.

The police had responded to a 911 call from Ho's roommate saying Ho has threatened to kill him with a knife. Supervising Deputy District Attorney Lane Liroff spent four months and hundreds of hours analyzing the video second-by-second and blow-by-blow. He also requested computer-generated graphics based on the cell phone video.

"In doing this, systematically, we were able to come to a better understanding than you would have just looking at that video a couple of times," he told ABC7.

The criminal investigation's bottom line is that Ho resisted arrest, refused to take 20 verbal co mmands to cooperate, and 12 baton strikes were used only to get compliance. Critics of the police force disagree with that account and the district attorney's decision not to prosecute the officers.

"What's very troubling about that, is that it's given open license to police officer to use violence and brutality that is unnecessary," said community activity Raj Jayadv.

Community activists and Ho's attorneys are disappointed with Wednesday's decision and they are going forward with civil action.

"Criminally, the officers are not charged, but civilly, somebody needs to be held responsible for our client's damages," said Ho's attorney Duyen Nguyen.

Ho's attorneys have filed a $6 million civil action. The summary of the district attorney's investigation is contained in a file containing more than 50 pages and will soon be available to the public.


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