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San Jose Police Sgt. Scott Castruita Responds to Oakland Firefighter Allegations of Oakland Police Misconduct

Op-Ed by Scott Castruita, San Jose Police Sergeant (Retired)

To Oakland Firefighter Keith Jones,

I saw your recent interview on a KPIX television newscast, where you stated that you were profiled by an Oakland police officer and that your sons were traumatized because of this. You also stated, the officer continually demanded that your 9 and 12 year old children hold their hands up and that you were scared the officer might shoot you because the officer had his hand on his gun.

In fact the officer’s gun was in the holster and was never drawn or pointed at you or your children. You stated that you felt you were mistreated because of your race and “I think they view black males as a threat”. You also said the officer could have at least apologized while explaining what happen. You said that now your kids will view officers differently because of this incident. The news reporter also stated that you made a complaint against the police officer.

Fortunately, the police officer was wearing a body camera that recorded the entire incident. Though the video is not clear, the audio proves beyond a doubt that your version of the incident was distorted and inaccurate.

Let’s break this down;

1. The police officer was investigating a possible burglary in progress at a fire station.

2. This officer was the first on the scene and he observes two young males in the dark outside the fire station and shortly afterwards you walk out. It is not uncommon for burglars to have look-outs or to use children as look-outs.

3. The officer for his safety and according to his training asks everyone to put their hands up.

4. You immediately tell him you are a fire fighter and that you were checking out the building because they must have left it open when they went on a run.

5. The officer process what you said and nicely responded OK and asked you a couple of more questions, at the same time asking you to keep your hands up. Based on the information you just gave him, the officer then immediately gets on the radio and advises other responding officers to slow down.

6. Since he has never met you before, he asks that you hold your hands up high and turn around once so he can see your waste line for any weapons. That was a reasonable request. He still has not drawn his weapon. In my opinion, if he had drawn his weapon, he would have been reasonable to do so.

7. Even if he felt what you were telling him was true, he still has his procedures to follow which you clearly don’t understand since you are trained to fight fires and not how to safely investigate persons encountered at the scene of a possible burglary in progress.

8. The officer then asked you to hand him your fire department identification card and almost simultaneously he asked dispatch to check the license plates to the truck that you said belong to you.

9. At this point, another police officer arrives on the scene and you can clearly hear the first officer explain to the second officer what you told him.

10. The second officer explains to you the reasons for what they are doing and apologizes for the unfortunate situation you have all been placed.

11. In the audio, you can be heard saying no problem you understand.

12. The entire encounter was cleared up in approximately 70 seconds.

13. You stated the officer was stressed out and scared. In the audio recording, the officer sounded calm as he talked to you and his dispatcher. He calmly went by the numbers according to his training, which is why the Police Department said he “acted within policy”.

You have failed to show how this alleged misconduct was motivated by your race as it clearly was not.

Now lets talk about your responsibilities as a father.

In my opinion, as a father, you never should have endangered your children by leaving them alone in front of the Fire Station while you do a building search for criminals that may be armed . Talk about traumatizing, if you had confronted criminals and were shot or assaulted or if your kids were shot or assaulted because of your irresponsibility, that would have been traumatizing.

Some people might consider your actions of placing your children in danger would constitute child endangerment.

What you should have done was put your children safely in your vehicle, drove away and called the police so they can do their job, which they are trained to do.

Shame on you Keith Jones. Making false complaints of police misconduct and bolstering your lies with a false claim of racial discrimination is an embarrassment to you, the fire department and the City of Oakland and it only serves to perpetuate racism. The trauma and embarrassment you have caused your children by dragging them into this media circus is far worse then what happen to them that night at the fire station.

As a father, you should have explained the truth to your children. Instead, you choose to teach them by example to make false reports, falsely claim racial discrimination and to disrespect and fear police officers.

Now let’s see if you have the courage to put your pride aside and admit you are wrong.

According to the KPIX 5 website you initially agreed to another interview after the police video was released, but you did not return repeated calls and text messages asking for comment.

In my opinion, you should be dismissed from the fire department for your actions including, making a false report that could have ruined a police officer’s career and potentially caused turmoil in race relations within the City of Oakland.

This is the opinion of Scott Castruita, San Jose Police Sergeant (Retired)

Watch KPIX Newscast Below

Original Newscast Making Accusations

Follow up Newscast

Watch Raw Body Camera Footage Below

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20 Comments

  • The officer apologized 3 times for doing his job correctly, Where is your apology for filing a false report of racism against the officer Mr. Jones?

  • The officer apologized 3 times for doing his job correctly, wheres your apology for filing a false report of racism Keith Jones?

  • Sgt. Castruita,
    You said what everybody else feels. This main did in fact disgrace his department and city. As a police officer re I do appreciate your comments and editorial to Keith Jones. God bless you and enjoy your retirement.

  • Does the fire Department not have rules on fire fighters actions and violations of civil and criminal law. I know they must have to follow ethics and have rules of behavior and responsibility to follow the law and act within the law that they agree to when they are hired. By filing a false police report he committed a crime. He should be suspended investigated and clearly based on the obvious evidence he should be fired for acting outside of the law and causing harm to others IE the Police Officer. Officer Sue its your recourse and you should not let this stand for your own well being. Thanks for being so respectful and diligent. Be safe and have a Blessed Day

  • EXCELLENT!!!! ALL officers should have these. Ferguson may not have happened if body cams were on all officers. DUMB ASS LYING PIECE OF SHIT trying to start a race war…already teaching his sons to hate whites, lie and steal from society!!

  • He should at the very least receive discipline from the fire chief. Shameful behavior. This wasn’t mlk’s dream.

  • This ner-do-well firefighter should be fired, not because of the color of his skin, but most importantly, because he is simply useless!!!!! Besides, why didn’t he just lock and close the alledged
    open door and call 911 and keep his boyz out of harms way?

  • I want to know why the media was quick to run a news segment when they the thought the police officer was in the wrong but when the truth surfaced and it turned out the Firefighter was not telling the truth and made a false report against the officer, they dropped it and that was the end of it. Doesn’t seem fair to the officer or to the public because we only heard an inaccurate story.

  • Where is it going to end? I wonder if I could pull the “human Race card” when I make a mistake and someone else notices?
    Remember that to use the word “race” is to segregate by subtle differences. Those who pull the “Race Card” help perpetuate raceism.

    To have a Firefighter do this to a fellow life saver is just not right.

  • Great job sgt. Well said. Thank god this cop had a camera to help back up his story, if a fireman can distort and twist a harmless interaction with a cop and attempt to rally race baitors and people of the sort, imagine what a punk partner in crime will twist an interaction with law in forcement around to suit his needs. and start a race war…ie. Ferguson Missouri.

  • Someone had to have drivin by and saw 2 black young men standing outside and said there might be a burglary…. rascism arguments go on and on and on…. eveyone needs to see that we all breath the same shitty air we all rely on the color green to make our world go round and we all get put in the same size whole wen we die

  • Where is the ACLU on this one???? This guy should be arrested for filing false allegations. If I were that COP I would at least sue him civilly for defamation of character. FIRE him!!!!

  • Another jive ass.. Affirmative action CHEAT!!! Gets the fire job because he’s BLACK!!! No morals, just a big JIVE ASS!!! Most cases of racism are pure BS… SICKNING HOW PEOPLE CLAIM RACSISM AT A DROP OF A HAT, WHEN IN FACT PEOPLE DON’t like you for who you are not the color you are… Con Man jive-ass