In the wake of protests over the murder of George Floyd and anger over San Jose police shootings, the city of San Jose formed a citizens’ advisory committee to address public safety.
But after only a few meetings, the committee is starting to fall apart as numerous major community groups have quit in protest, accusing the city of being dishonest about its goals
At a tense news conference Thursday, several community leaders said after only three meetings in less than two months, nine of the 46 members have resigned, with more expected to follow.
The groups departing include high-profile organizations like the local NAACP, La Raza Roundtable, DeBug, Black Leadership Kitchen Cabinet and Asian Law Alliance.
Along with other complaints, leaders said the advisory group is trying to downplay the need for police reform.
“We don’t need SJPD or the city manager’s office or anyone else to filter our words, to tell us what’s OK to discuss, to tell us what’s OK to move forward to the mayor and the city council,” SJSU Human Rights Director Will Armaline said. “We can speak for ourselves.”
Many departing members want to form what they call their own blue ribbon commission to address police reform.
“The only way policing will change in this country, in this city or in this state, unless the citizens take back control,” Rev. Jeff Moore with the NAACP said.
The advisory group coordinator, Deputy City Manager Angel Rios, said the advisory group was always designed to examine the broader perspective on community safety, not just police reform.
He said the advisory group is now reaching out to try to make modifications to try to keep the group intact and to make it work.