San Jose

San Jose Police Chief to Explain Tactics to City Council

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As Gov. Gavin Newsom issued a call Friday for limits on police tactics, San Jose's mayor asked new questions about the police department's use of so-called rubber bullets.

San Jose police said they had to use tear gas and rubber foam projectiles to defends themselves from a crowd that was peppering them with debris last Friday, but they also stressed those people were not peaceful protesters.

"Metal rebar, glass bottles, rocks, chunks of asphalt," Chief Eddie Garcia explained Thursday.

Mayor Sam Liccardo joined Newsom Friday in demanding to know if those tactics are justified when protesters are peaceful.

"Protesters have the right to do so without being arrested, gassed or shot at by projectiles," Newsom said.

Newsom also called for police departments to ban the use of all neck choke holds, a technique San Jose police banned years ago.

Liccardo summoned Garcia to explain his tactics to the city council on Tuesday.

"We want to ensure that we all understand what’s in the police duty manual about when you use tear gas or when they use rubber bullets," Liccardo said.

Garcia said Friday he'll have answers ready for the city council.

Protesters were back at San Jose City Hall Wednesday, in what may be the last protest limited by a curfew. Robert Handa reports.

In the long run, Liccardo said he wants to sit with community groups and develop meaningful changes to the police use of force policy.

"I suspect we’re going to need to change policies," he said.

Banning the use of so-called rubber bullets could be among the future changes.

“I think banning them would be a good idea," protester Brittany Schmid said. "Anything that’s used for violence against the city's citizens.”

On Thursday, Garcia said his policies on using gas and projectiles are under review, something that's done after every major incident.

“We’re not perfect," he said. "Sure we've made mistakes. We’ll learn from those mistakes and we’ll get better.”

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