Demonstrators in San Jose joined national efforts to defund local police departments Friday in a protest outside Mayor Sam Liccardo’s home.
The aim is to get Liccardo to acknowledge some of the people killed by San Jose police officers over the last few years. They also want him to consider defunding the department – something that Liccardo has not demonstrated an interest in.
Protesters marched to San Jose City Hall and arrived just before sundown after spending the day outside Liccardo’s home.
“We are going to be bringing some memorials over there to remind him of the injustice in this city from our police department,” said protest organizer Latoya Fernandez.
The memorials – several white crosses – each have the name and photo of a person who died. Family members of the people will be there to tell their stories, some waiting years to explain the pain they’ve endured.
“To all the people who have been supporting our families that we’ve been waiting for so long for you guys to support us and know our loved one’s stories,” said Lori Valdez, family member of Antonio Guzman Lopez.
The death of George Floyd in Minneapolis has unleashed a torrent of grief from people who have had loved ones die at the hands of police across the country.
Many in San Jose wished shows of solidarity from city leaders would have happened sooner.
“Sam Liccardo took a knee for someone else in another state, which we respect, we are in unity with Black Lives Matter,” said Rosy Dominguez, aunt of Jacob Dominguez. “But we have our own George Floyds in our own city.”
Liccardo did not show up at his house. He spent most of the day at city hall addressing why he disagrees with efforts to defund the police.
Liccardo said SJPD is already one of the most thinly staffed big city departments in the country.
“We don’t believe that police are the entity that should be responding to every social problem,” he said.
He said the police no longer respond to discipline calls from schools, and that they hope to partner with more social services for mental health disturbance calls.