Calls to defund police intensify after racist Facebook posts involving San Jose officers

Bay Area

SAN JOSE, Calif. (KRON) – Rebukes and calls to defund San Jose police are intensifying after racist Facebook postings were exposed in recent days.

“I am incredibly disappointed to have learned that local police officers were engaged in vile, horrifying online content,” Zahra Billoo said. 

Zahra Billoo, Executive Director of the Council on Islamic-American Relations, says she is shocked but not surprised that bigoted and anti-Muslim Facebook posts have been linked to current and former San Jose police officers.

“It’s hard to be, when we are at a moment in our country when we continue to learn just how deeply entrenched racism is in modern day policing,” Billoo said. 

Billoo says the posts, one of which suggested using hijabs as nooses, calls to mind previous allegations of anti-Muslim sentiment by a Muslim officer who sued the department in 2018.

“What this confirms for me is that it may not be safe for someone who looks like me to call on them to protect me,” Billoo said. 

In a statement, Police Chief Eddie Garcia said he has no control over what officers post online but promised to investigate, saying “we have no place for this.”

“It’s not good enough, everybody is saying what they are supposed to be saying but they are not listening to what we have been telling them,” Jethro Moore said.

Local N.A.A.C.P president Jethro Moore reiterated calls to defund the department.  

Moore suggested the officers implicated in the Facebook posts, one of which reads “Black Lives Don’t Matter,” may have helped instigate the violence that erupted during racial justice protests in San Jose earlier this month.

“There is something wrong with the mission and process of police. It’s something that corrupts those who were good when they got in but they get in with these good old boys and it’s changing them,” Moore said.

In a statement, the San Jose Police Officers Association said the accused officers face possible expulsion from the union and other consequences. 

Mayor Sam Liccardo and the district attorney’s office are also investigating. 

While four officers have been placed on leave, Billoo for one says that’s not enough.

“There is no such thing as a secret Facebook page so how many people looked the other way? How many people knew what was going on and didn’t say anything? While we are calling for the termination of these police officers, we need deep, systemic, transformative change, otherwise, this will keep happening,” Billoo said.

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