SAN JOSE, Calif. (KRON) — After racist text messages surfaced that were allegedly written by a San Jose Police Department officer, the Black community is calling for the district attorney to throw out all cases associated with the officer. At an NAACP meeting held Thursday at the African American Community Services Agency, community members laid out their demands.
Some community members are questioning whether they can feel safe following the revelation that former San Jose police officer Mark McNamara allegedly sent racist text messages to another member of the department.
At Thursday’s NAACP meeting, there were calls for an open investigation and to decertify McNamara so he can never serve as an officer again. The Santa Clara County Deputy Public Defender also took the podium, vowing to push the district attorney to dismiss cases involving McNamara, given his apparent bias.
“What happened here is racism; there is no other euphemism for it,” said Santa Clara County Public Defender Karina Alvarez. “So, we are asking that some cases be dismissed just in the interest of justice.”
She had no estimate of how many cases might be impacted. Civil rights attorney Adante Pointer brought up his client, 20-year-old Kaun Green, who was shot by McNamara while he risked his own safety to disarm a violent man inside of a restaurant.
“I’m definitely asking for the district attorney’s office to rereview the shooting of Kaun Green and what’s right to make sure that officer McNamara sees his day in court not as an officer testifying on the stand, but as a criminal defendant,” said Pointer.
Two other men shared their personal run-ins with SJPD over the course of their lives and say they’ve felt targeted for the color of their skin. One of them said he was wrongfully incarcerated for more than 20 years.
“They threaten you that happened in my teens. I’m 44 years old. I was pulled over in my teens before I got arrested and it’s the same situation,” said Tramaine Hunter.
He and the rest of the group believe that racism is deeply rooted in law enforcement and hope to see a true cultural change within SJPD.
We reached out to the San Jose Police Department, but the department did not respond in time for this report. The district attorney’s office said it is reviewing the texts to see if they could affect any cases connected to McNamara.
The agency that could decertify McNamara told KRON4 they are looking over documents with SJPD to see if they have reason and authority to temporarily suspend him.