San Jose

San Jose Will Not Fight Reinstatement of Veteran Cop Accused of Threatening Tweets

The San Jose city council announced Tuesday it will not fight the reinstatement of a cop accused of posting threatening tweets against supporters of the Black Lives Matter movement.

Officer Philip White was fired last October but quietly reinstated after a closed independent arbitration hearing in February. The 19-year veteran officer on Monday apologized for his actions in an exclusive interview with NBC Bay Area. He also released a public apology in the form of a letter.

The council received some community pressure to fight the reinstatement before deciding not to with very mixed emotions.

After a closed session Tuesday, San Jose City Attorney Rick Doyle announced there would be no legal fight to once again fire White.

In Monday's exclusive interview with NBC Bay Area, White said his comments were actually in response to threats he had received.

The tweets — which some believe took aim at a movement launched after a string of deadly police shootings — sparked outrage around the country.

"Threaten me or my family and I will use my God-given and law-appointed right and duty to kill you #COPSLIVESMATTER," one tweet read.

Another said: "By the way if anyone feels they can't breathe or their lives matter I'll be at the movies duty..carrying my gun."

White said he apologized immediately to the police chief, the department and community leaders. He also submitted a letter of apology to the city manager, which he said shows he has "been remorseful from the start."

Councilman Charles Jones said the apology helped.

"I know personally I'm willing to forgive and move on," Jones said. "And I'm pretty confident the community will as well."

But not everyone agreed.

"Behavior like that really relegates somebody to a position where they shouldn't be wearing a badge or a gun in our city," Mayor Sam Liccardo said.

Before the Twitter controversy, White had an untarnished record with the police department and had received numerous accolades throughout his career.

Police officials have acknowledged White had no prior disciplinary problems and had high marks for his work in various roles, including starting a program in schools to steer children away from gangs.

"I don't want people to judge me just on the messages," White said on Tuesday. "I want them to judge me on the totality of my career. Judge me on my career moving forward."

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