General Crime

* San Jose City Council to Create a Group to Review Police Use of Force

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The San Jose City Council on Tuesday unanimously accepted a recommendation by Mayor Chuck Reed to create a group to review the Police Department’s use of force. City Manager Debra Figone will meet with the San Jose Police Officers Association to discuss the group’s formation. The group, which could include the independent police auditor and the city auditor, will review incidents of force in the past year. Councilwoman Madison Nguyen recommended that Michele Lew, president of the Asian Americans for Community Involvement, be the public’s voice in the group. She touted Lew’s experience working with the city manager and said having her in the group would be “a right step in the right direction.” City Attorney Rick Doyle advised against allowing a member of the public access to unredacted police reports. He told the council that having a member of the public in the group would necessitate that all documents and information reviewed by the group be made public. Because some of the documents include confidential information, most of the materials would have to be redacted, thereby hindering the review process, he said. San Jose resident Ross Signorino addressed the council in support of the city’s police officers, reminding them to keep in mind the challenges officers are faced with on a constant basis. “I hope that this does not demoralize our Police Department,” he said. The department’s conduct has been scrutinized in two high-profile cases this year – the fatal shooting of Daniel Pham, a mentally ill Vietnamese man, on May 10, and an incident on Sept. 3 in which officers used a baton and Taser stun gun against 20-year-old San Jose State University student Phuong Quang Ho, 20. The police review group will report its findings back to the Public Safety, Finance and Strategic Support Committee within 90 days. Copyright © 2009 by Bay City News, Inc. — Republication, Rebroadcast or any other Reuse without the express written consent of Bay City News, Inc. is prohibited.

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