SJ activists unhappy with police chief selection process

January 28, 2011 4:52:34 PM PST
San Jose City leaders are on the verge of naming a new police chief but some community activists are criticizing not only the expected choice to lead the department but also the selection process.

The Coalition for Justice and Accountability held a news conference to call attention to thousands of voices they say have been ignored. People representing a number of ethnic groups in the community want the job of police chief to go to Oakland's Police Chief Anthony Batts.

"Chief Batts is far and away better qualified to do the job and the fact that he hasn't had the opportunity to speak to the council is as though the process has been high jacked, "Walter Wilson said.

City Manager Debra Figone though appears to have made her choice and is expected to recommend the city council approve her decision to hire Acting Police Chief Chris Moore for the top job.

Victor Garza of the politically powerful La Raza Roundtable agrees with that decision. Garza points to Acting Chief's Moore's decision to promote a woman to the number two position, release the dispatch audio tape from a murder/suicide this month and efforts to change the police policy on impounding vehicles of unlicensed drivers, which many say targeted the Latino community.

"I commend him for the courage. If he can do that in three months, I know he can do a lot more," he said.

The council vote on a new police chief is scheduled to take place Tuesday in closed session. The Coalition for Justice and Accountability argue that vote as well as the questioning of both the top two candidates should take place in an open and public council session.