Report: San Jose police conduct complaints increased in 2020

Bay Area

SAN JOSE, Calif. (KRON) — Over the last year, the San Jose Police Department has gone through a year unlike any other.

The department drew national attention after last summer’s George Floyd protests, where in some cases officers were seen on video responding aggressively towards demonstrators. 

A new report from the Office of the Independent Police Auditor reveals that their office received a total of 2,271 complaints about police conduct. 

More than 2,000 of those complaints were regardings the actions of Officer Jared Yuen, which were caught on video. 

“A lot of people called our office on May 31st and the weeks following and a lot of people called IA, but a lot of people complained about the same thing.”

“And that’s why you see a lot of concerns but relatively few formal complaints.”

The city’s civilian police watchdog tallied and reviewed a total of 269 police complaints last year, complaints ranging from excessive force, officers not wearing face coverings, and officers failing to follow appropriate policy procedure.

It’s a 22% increase in the number of complaints and concerns received in comparison to 2019. 

Another report shows 41 complaints were initiated within the police department in 2020, down from 50 in 2019, the second lowest department initiated investigations in the last five years said Mario Brazil, Commander for the San Jose Police Department’s Internal Affairs Unit.

“Of the 41 DII’s 102 sworn employees were involved compared to 54 in 2019, the total number of allegations tied to these 41 investigations was also up significantly to 210 to 102 in 2019.”

“The reason for this could be tied to one complaint which involves 73 department members and 148 of the total year’s allegations.”

One key recommendation made by the city’s independent police auditor, Shivaun Nurre, is to create a system where an administrative investigation is initiated when an SJPD officer is named in a civil misconduct related-lawsuit. 

Currently, the department does not have a system that initiates an administrative investigation when officers are named in civil lawsuits.  

Starting July 1, a one-year pilot program will begin aimed to review how investigations of alleged police officer misconduct are conducted. 

“I get to ask a question in an interview.”

“Ever since the IPA was created we’ve always been put into a process where we have to ask the sergeant to ask the officer a question and we can’t ask a direct question.”

“Over the course of the next year we will see how these changes may benefit the process.”

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