San Jose's independent police auditor resigns short of a year on job

SAN JOSE, Calif. (KGO) -- San Jose's embattled independent police auditor, Aaron Zisser, has resigned. In office slightly less than a year, the San Jose native had spent most of his career working in civil rights in the U.S. Department of Justice.

He came under attack by the police chief and by the police officers association when his office's annual audit used percentages instead of raw numbers for use-of-force incidents. Zisser also was criticized for appearing in public with the family of 18-year-old Anthony Nunez, who died after he was shot by two San Jose Police officers in 2016.

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Paul Kelly, president of the police officers association, held a news conference in July and showed a video of Zisser with the Nunez family. The association called for Zisser's resignation. The video opened Zisser to accusations he was taking sides instead of being impartial. However, Zisser told ABC7 News, "This is a group of people who feel like they're not being heard. I wanted them to know that I hear them. I went to observe and listen to their message, and then I left very quickly."

Mayor Sam Liccardo issued a statement Friday morning, saying, "I'd like to thank Aaron for his service to our community and for his hard work and commitment to police oversight. I respect his decision to step down and wish him well."

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Zisser issued this statement, "I am proud of the work I have done as San Jose's IPA and am grateful to have had this opportunity to serve the City of San Jose. I remain available and committed to supporting San Jose communities, the steadfast grassroots leaders, City leaders, SJPD, and the next IPA."

The San Jose Police Officers Association issued this statement: "It is important to note that although we had serious legitimate questions about the judgment and actions of Mr. Zisser over the course of the last several months, the SJPOA never questioned the vital and essential role that the Office of the IPA plays in the administration of justice for all San Jose residents."

Zisser says he is proud of the trust he built with local community groups. Some are now concerned about the actual independence of the IPA and whether the city is truly committed to civilian oversight of police.

"It's San Jose's loss that the small-mindedness of this city, forced a very capable leader out of a position where he could've done great things for San Jose," said Raj Jayadev, coordinator of Silicon Valley De-Bug, a civil rights advocacy group.

Assistant Independent Police Auditor Shivaun Nurre, who has been with the office for more than a decade, will head the office in the interim until Zisser's replacement is named. This marks the first resignation by the IPA since the position was created in San Jose back in 1993.

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