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Activists Try to Derail New CA Police Chief Pick

Activists Try to Derail New CA Police Chief Pick

San Jose's acting Police Chief, Chris Moore, has reportedly been selected as San Jose's next top cop. He's seen here making his rounds in an Oct. 26, 2010, file photo.

San Jose Mercury News via YellowBrix

January 29, 2011

SAN JOSE – Community activists on Friday demanded that the San Jose City Council block the appointment of Chris Moore as the next police chief, but the city’s elected leaders indicated they would back City Manager Debra Figone’s choice for the city’s top cop.

About two dozen members of the Coalition for Justice and Accountability gathered Friday afternoon to argue that Moore, 49, a department veteran and acting chief since former chief Rob Davis’s October retirement, would not bring the sweeping change needed to restore trust among minorities and immigrants.

Some activists even called on the council to bring both Moore and the runner-up, Oakland police Chief Anthony Batts, before the council at an open meeting Tuesday.

But Mayor Chuck Reed and other council members showed no interest in airing the group’s grievances.

“This is not a political campaign or a popularity contest,” Reed said. “We have a process consistent with our city charter. This is not a process in which results are determined by who has the loudest voice.”

Councilman Kansen Chu said he was uncomfortable with talking about a personnel matter in public. The city manager, he said, should have a chance to explain her decision privately.

“We’ll be able to get to the bottom line more comfortably versus doing it in the open,” Chu said. “There may be something she knows about either candidate that she doesn’t want to disclose in open session, some reasoning behind her choice that she doesn’t want to make into a public debate.”

Figone is expected to introduce Moore to the council in a closed meeting on Tuesday. After Moore responds to questions, council members will vote to either confirm or deny Figone’s selection.

“I want to keep an open mind to whatever information I learn in Tuesday’s session,” Councilman Sam Liccardo said. “But, generally speaking, I have a lot of confidence in the city manager’s judgment.”

Councilman Pierluigi Oliverio said Moore seemed both “smart” and “qualified.”

And Pete Constant, the only former cop on the council, said that while the coalition’s preferences are welcome, it’s ultimately not up to them.

“The fact is, the city manager sets the criteria and makes the selection, not a community group,” Constant said. “We value their input, but we didn’t appoint them to make decisions for the City Council.”

Councilmen Ash Kalra and Don Rocha had no comment. Other council members did not respond to questions about the activists’ concerns.

The activists feel that Davis had not done enough to address concerns about selective enforcement or excessive force against blacks, Latinos, Asian Americans and those suffering mental illness. And they fear that Moore will offer more of the same.

“Chief Moore has come from a command staff culture that has not communicated well with ethnic communities,” said Richard Konda, executive director of the Asian Law Alliance and the coalition’s chairman. “He will have to carry the legacy of broken trust that was created under Chief Davis’s tenure.”

Raj Jayadev, an activist with Silicon Valley De-Bug, said the coalition’s decision to favor Batts was based on 3,000 multilingual surveys from residents. The coalition also sized up the two finalists’ record of acknowledging issues such as racial profiling, dealing with immigrant communities and work force diversity.

“This is not only the perspective and thoughts of a handful of residents, but thousands and thousands of San Jose residents,” Jayadev said.

Though activists would not say so directly, the fact that Batts is black and Moore white also seemed to influence their preference.

Sam Ho, a city resident, said he felt Batts would “know what racial profiling means” from “personal experiences.”

Tom Manheim, a spokesman for the city manager’s office, said Figone had never promised to bring both finalists before the council. She said she would only do that if she didn’t have a clear favorite.

“She felt strongly,’’ Manheim said, “that there was one candidate that stood out.”

  • Policelinkbadge_max160_max50_max50


    over 3 years ago


    Hire the best candidate, color should not be an issue.

  • Wolf_001_max50


    over 3 years ago


    Well said Fattimus Prime. well done mayor and council. Choose the best person for the job period.

  • Wolf_001_max50


    over 3 years ago


    Well said Fattimus Prime. well done mayor and council. Choose the best person for the job period.

  • In_remembrance_of_oakland_pd_max50_max50_max50_max50_max50


    over 3 years ago


    The best canidate should aways get the job. The activists should have no say in the selection process.

  • Pic-0239_max50


    over 3 years ago


    I agree with TXPD, what is up with that photo, police do glamour shots now? As to the activists, hate crimes/racism/descrimination works both ways.

  • 100_1019_max50


    over 3 years ago


    What a bunch of Bull Sh!T!!

  • Cruise_2014_max50


    over 3 years ago


    If the activists get what they want wouldn't that be a case for "reverse discrimination"?

  • Clone_trooper_max50


    over 3 years ago


    So they want a minority to be chief. I say the best man should get the job and MLK would agree with me.

  • Photo_user_blank_big


    over 3 years ago

    The best will be chosen. Forget the Activists opinion, like it should matter anyway.

  • Justice-400_max50


    over 3 years ago


    I read the first paragraph, and the just of the article is there. Activists want a minority police chief. Sorry but if he's the best choice, he's the best choice.

  • Motor_cop_comic_max160_max50


    over 3 years ago


    so, let;s see what happens...will they back this choice, or buckle under?

  • Beyondthegraceofgodnn8_max50


    over 3 years ago


    Well if no one else is going to say it...

    What is up with that picture? That is the funniest department photo I have ever seen!

  • Silver_warrior_max50


    over 3 years ago


    There isn't an agenda here with the activists. . . .is there? Last time I checked, when a law was written it didn't say anything about it applying only to this color or nationality. . . .it said this is written for EVERYONE to follow. Seems like everyone wants a law written for everyone else to follow but themselves.

  • Eagle_and_flag_max50


    over 3 years ago


    "But Mayor Chuck Reed and other council members showed no interest in airing the group’s grievances." Good for them!!! Sounds like the activists are barking up the wrong tree!!!

  • Badge__hat_max50


    over 3 years ago


    The activits supporting the illegal immigrants should crawl back under their rocks. I'm glad the City Council isn't seeming to cave into their bullying.

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