San Jose Police Accused of Excessive Force After Video Appears to Show Cops Beating Teacher

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    NEWSLETTERS

    A San Diego teacher has filed a complaint against the San Jose Police Department and claims cops used excessive force on him during an incident at San Jose State University. Damian Trujillo reports. (Published Thursday, Jul 24, 2014)

    A San Diego teacher has filed a complaint against the San Jose Police Department and claims cops used excessive force on him during an incident at San Jose State University.

    The alleged victim, Nathaniel Howard, was recently in San Jose giving a commencement speech at the university. Howard said the alleged incident started when he asked police why they were frisking his friend, who had been stopped for urinating in public.

    When he continued to ask police questions, Howard claims cops threw him to the ground.

    "I was shoved, thrown to the ground, and beaten," he said.

    The May 24 incident was caught on cell phone video, which appears to show Howard being thrown to the ground and beat by cops using a baton.

    "It's been tragic," Howard said. "I've had a lot of trauma. I've cried my tears."

    San Jose police provided the following statement regarding the incident:

    "The Department has been proactive since we were made aware of the incident. We are conductive and administrative inquiry and will identify any training issues. We want our employees to know our policies and understand our expectations. Additionally, we are conducting outreach within the community, specifically at SJSU."

    Howard, who is worried nothing would come out of that investigation, approached the Lawyers Committee for Civil Rights in San Francisco. The group has filed a formal complaint against police department on Howard's behalf, and seek a public apology and better training of officers.

    Joanna Cuevas Ingram, an attorney with the civil right committee, said Howard is concerned there will be no discipline for the officers who allegedly attacked him.

    Between 2010 and 2013, there have been 463 allegations of excessive force investigated and closed by San Jose's internal affairs department. Officials determined only one of those complains is sustainable.

    San Jose's independent police auditor will review the results of the internal affairs investigation into Howard's case. Once the review is completed, the auditor will make a recommendation.