SAN JOSE, Calif. (KGO) -- Months after the civil unrest in San Jose stemming from the Minnesota police killing of George Floyd, top leaders from the city's police department made an appearance before the city council Tuesday afternoon to address their handling of the protests.
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Ahead of the meeting, police released bodycam footage to the public, highlighting a trio of incidents, including one where they said someone tried to disarm an officer. They also addressed Officer Jaren Yuen's use of profane language, as well as a pedestrian who was stuck by a motorcycle cop.
In addition, the department released an analysis of their overall response in a 240+ page report.
The initial handling of the chaos downtown in late May and early June originally drew criticism over the department's use of tear gas, rubber bullets, and other means to disperse the crowds.
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"When the police arrive, they create a situation which is tense, which causes fear among the protesters, and they're confrontational. They're confrontational because of the show of arms," said well-known peace activist Dr. Sharat Lin, who was arrested and accused of pointing a laser light at a police helicopter, which he denies.
The report, which was written from SJPD's point of view, admitted that the officers' inexperience with large crowds of protesters led to issues with the department's chaotic response.
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However, the department, for the most part, defended its rationale for using force during the protests, saying its officers encountered arson, looting, and destruction of property.
Criminal justice scholars say more must be done to repair what some say is a broken relationship between police and the communities they serve.
"Police need to embrace true change and embracing true change means recognizing that they actually are servants of the people," said Prof. Ron Tyler, director of the criminal defense clinic at Stanford Law School. "Their role is actually not as warriors against the community."
The San Jose independent police auditor's report is expected to be released in the months to come, and should include more input from the community, according to city officials. Council members also spent the afternoon weighing in about the future use of rubber bullets, while considering other operational changes to the department.