Hundreds bring demand for an end to police brutality to SJ mayor's doorstep

SAN JOSE, Calif. (KGO) -- Hundreds marched to Mayor Sam Liccardo's home on Friday afternoon, bringing their demands to the mayor's doorstep.

Their message: Divest in the police and invest in the community.

"Now is about time we, as a community, we bring it to him," Jose Valle with Silicon Valley De-Bug told ABC7 News. "Not for him to speak, but to listen."

The crowds ordered, "Mayor Liccardo, come out!"

RELATED: San Jose mayor rejects push to defund police department

However, the mayor wasn't home. He was at City Hall, in meetings and on Facebook live addressing his push to ban the use of rubber bullets.

He also responded to demands he defund the police.

"Defund doesn't work in San Jose," he said, frankly. "Maybe other cities have tried it. It may work in those places, but let me explain why it doesn't work in the City of San Jose. First, San Jose in many ways is already defunded."

He backed the city's spending on law enforcement. Adding, it already has one of the smallest police forces, compared to other large cities across the country, on a per capita basis.

"The notion of defunding and de-emphasizing is something you can say we embraced years ago," he told viewers. "Mostly because we didn't have the dollars."

RELATED: San Jose police tighten rules around use of rubber bullets amid protest backlash

However, families at Friday's sit-in said numbers and budgets won't bring back their loved ones. Specifically, people who have died at the hands of South Bay law enforcement.

"If he was a suspect, that didn't call for a death sentence," Rosie Chavez said about her nephew, Jacob Dominguez. "I would've rather had been visiting my nephew- and her, visiting her son- behind a glass, if that was the case."

Organizers planned for Mayor Liccardo to hear from Chavez, and other families of those killed by law enforcement.

Seventeen white crosses displayed the names of those victims. These are people who family members claim have gone ignored by Liccardo.

They pointed to recent footage of the mayor kneeling in solidarity with protesters mourning George Floyd.

While they support the nationwide protests, they said seeing Mayor Liccardo kneeling just didn't feel right.

"When he took that knee, that was a slap to our faces because it's happening in our own backyard," Chavez said. "And you're not acknowledging the people here that are in this community that have lost their loved ones to your police."

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"We need more than theatrics. We need more than a bent knee," Valle shared. "We need real change."

Although the mayor wasn't home to receive the message, the group's push for change continues.

"We fight hard because we don't want another family to have to walk in our shoes," Laurie Valdez told ABC7 News. "We don't want another child to have to grow up fatherless, and not have the support services so that they can grow up and be happy and thrive."

In 2014, Valdez's partner, Antonio Lopez, was shot fatally in the back by San Jose State University police.

The crowd later moved to City Hall, where they continued to demand Mayor Liccardo listen.

ABC7 News has reached out to the mayor's office about the demonstration. A spokesperson said they did not expect Liccardo to release an immediate statement, Friday night.
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