South Bay News

New complaints in SJ over racial profiling

Thursday, September 16, 2010

A Latino priest claims he was singled out unfairly in San Jose.

The pastor of Our Lady of Guadalupe Catholic Church, Father Javier Reyes was driving in East San Jose one day when he was stopped by police. He was quickly surrounded by four police cars.

"And one of them said stay in your car and he asked me for my license and I said why? He said you didn't put your blinkers," he said.

He says there is no doubt he was a victim of racial profiling.

It's those kinds of stories that prompted an organization called PACT, "People acting in community together," to conduct a survey among East San Jose residents . The results show that 35 percent of the nearly two-thousand people surveyed said they had been stopped by police without cause.

"When he told us this story we asked him, father, why didn't you tell him you were a pastor of a church? and he said why should I have to," Maritza Maldonado of PACT said.

Police chief Rob Davis defended his department's efforts to stop racial profiling. He is expected to leave office at the end of October. This community now hopes the city will hire someone who has taken on the issue of racial profiling before.

"All the policies and procedures we put into place are there so it doesn't happen. So what I am seeing when I read the survey is the perception versus the reality, not suggesting that it can't happen but the question is how do we measure that," he said.

But the city's independent police auditor, LaDoris Cordell believes surveys like these are useful.

"Surveys like these are very significant because if your perceptions are more positive toward police then your behavior change accordingly. You tend to go report when you see gang activity you are not hesitant to do it, " according to Cordell.

A nationwide search is underway.

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Tags:
san jose, santa clara county, racial profiling, south bay news, lyanne melendez
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