The mayor of San Jose criticized both sides of the political aisle following an evening of rowdy, and sometimes violent protesting, during a Donald Trump campaign stump.
“There is absolutely no place for violence against people who are simply exercising their rights to participate in the political process," Mayor Sam Liccardo said Friday of the Thursday night rally, where a police officer was assaulted, a woman was egged, and others were bruised outside the San Jose Convention Center.
At the same time, Liccardo also lashed out at Trump, saying in part: “It’s a sad statement about our political discourse that Mr. Trump has focused on stirring antagonism instead of offering real solutions to our nation's challenges.”
The only kind words Liccardo had was for the city’s police department, who said they made “a few arrests” during the rally, where many Trump critics lashed out at the pro-Trump camp. “San Jose police officers performed admirably and professionally,” Liccardo said, “to contain acts of violence and protect individuals' rights to assemble, protest and express their political views.”
In an unusual move, the San Jose Police Officers Association also issued a statement of condemnation, putting the word "protesters" in quotes.
"I'm disgusted by the violent attacks yesterday that have no place in our society or our political process," union president Paul Kelly said.
And vice president James Gonzales added: "Our community must band together against those who would soil our First Amendment freedoms and bring to justice those that chose to act like cowards."
Both asked the public to turn over any video of criminal activity.
Read the entire statement from San Jose Police Chief Eddie Garcia on the police tactics during the rally:
The violent behavior exhibited by some protestors last night was reprehensible, completely unacceptable and unrepresentative of our democracy and this City. We saw demonstrators behaving poorly and our officers clearing the streets as safely and expeditiously as possible. Officer safety and crowd control techniques are critical and cannot be abandoned when protestors scatter from area to area faster than the police lines can move.
Furthermore, de-escalation techniques are important -- not just when someone has a weapon. We are not an “occupying force” and cannot reflect the chaotic tactics of the protestors. Instead, we achieved our goal of clearing the streets and making arrests in an appropriate manner. Our officers should be commended for both their effectiveness and their restraint.
Let me be clear: the violence that occurred last night was not unchecked. Four arrests have already been made, and I have immediately assembled a task force, headed by the Bureau of Investigations Chief Shawny Williams, and in coordination with the Santa Clara County District Attorney’s Office, to review all video evidence and investigate all reported assaults or other crimes from last night’s incident. I’m calling on the public as well as media outlets to submit all video evidence to our Police Department so we can root out those whose intentions were to disrupt our civil democratic process and put the safety and welfare of the public and my officers at risk. We will work tirelessly to hold them accountable and bring them to justice.