Ron Martinelli, Ph.D., CMI-V
Forensic Criminologist/Police Expert
Copyright © 06-09-16
Yesterday, it was revealed by one of the victims of the man assaulted at the Donald Trump rally in San Jose (CA) that San Jose police officers told his friend that they were told to “Stand down” by Mayor San Liccardo and Chief of Police Edgardo (Eddie) Garcia, while Donald Trump supporters were being viciously assaulted in the presence of hundreds of San Jose police officers. If this proves to be correct; and already appears to be supported by what we all witnessed in the televised news reports; it is reminiscent of the Benghazi debacle where U.S. security forces who wanted to save Ambassador Stephens and his CIA contractors were told to “Stand down.” Now the City of San Jose has effectively become the “Benghazi” of the law enforcement community. What a sad state of affairs for a police department that was once considered one of the nation’s model police agencies.
Here’s a tip for liberal Mayor Liccardo and Chief Garcia: Police officers don’t “stand down” in the face of anarchy and violence against innocent citizens. They protect them and the rule of law. It is disturbing and perhaps hypocritical that Liccardo, who is a former Deputy District Attorney doesn’t understand this.
Police officers have a “community caretaking” responsibility to protect the public from harm. In fact, like the military, police officers take an oath to protect citizens, our nation and our government against all enemies both foreign and domestic. They take an oath to obey and protect the constitution and our Bill of Rights. Police officers are the sheepdogs who protect the sheep from the wolves. When you muzzle or tie up the sheepdogs, the unprotected sheep are harmed and some die when the wolves prey upon them unchallenged.
If what at least one of the victims of last week’s Trump rally riot and cowardly assaults say is true, then the leadership of the City of San Jose and its police department have turned away from the light of justice; and towards the darkness of political expediency and chaos. How can their public and their line supervisors and officers now trust and follow them? The answer is that they can’t. Oaths have been broken and any former trust in city government and their police force has been shattered.
As a retired officer from the SJPD who has loved and defended it and the city since I took my oath back in 1976, when Mayor Liccardo was in pre-school, I am disgusted by this mayor’s and police chief’s seemingly disengaged, politically expedient and dangerous actions. People who taunt police, burn the American flag and then assault innocent citizens who are expressing their First Amendment right of assembly at an otherwise peaceful political rally, are in my eyes enemies of the state.
Rather than accepting responsibility for serious errors in judgment, Mayor (name) attempted in a cowardly fashion to deflect and redirect the public’s valid anger by blaming Donald Trump for creating the environment that caused the violence. Not to be outdone, the Mayor’s minion Chief Garcia, who is apparently more politician than cop, attempted to justify his decision to have his cops hold fast by employing the Marxist rhetoric of the radical and violent Black Lives Matter movement, saying that he didn’t want to see SJPD officers perceived as “an occupying force.”
What the Mayor and Chief of Police Need is Context
As one of the many former proud protectors of the City of San Jose who was working the “mean streets” when Chief Garcia was in elementary school; let me inform them and the newer residents of the city that their police officers have never been an “occupying force” in their city. In fact, we retired officers were directly responsible for creating the safe environment they now enjoy in their revitalized downtown core area and entertainment zone before Mayor Liccardo was ever involved in city politics and Chief Garcia ever put on a badge.
That’s right Mr. Mayor and Chief Garcia; you guys missed it all. You missed a blighted downtown filled with crack houses and populated by hundreds of addicts, parolees, sexual predators and serial rapists; scores of prostitutes who stood on street corners three deep and nightly armed robberies. You missed the time where we had only one gang investigator to investigate the violent crimes of fifty-six street gangs; that later grew to over two hundred street gangs. You missed the PCP zombies; you missed the cocaine drug wars; you missed “King & Story,” and cops being sniped at in the Santee projects and in the infamous “Eastside” and “Southside” of town. You missed it all.
A lot of great, talented San Jose cops toiled, worked tens of thousands of hours of overtime – many not even putting in their hours for pay – sacrificing, bleeding, becoming permanently disabled and dying so you could enjoy the much safer and yuppified city you have today. Scores of SJPD cops lost their families in divorce over their devotion in protecting the city so you and its residents could have the dot-com amenities, the entertainment zones, the glamorous arena and the safe neighborhoods you enjoy today.
When you have no context of our history, you become low-informed and disrespectful of the people and process that got you where you are today. You wear the suit and the stars, but you have no soul. You speak the meaningless rhetoric of the political elite and disengaged; the language of the left. You scare us all and you probably scare your own officers as well. They are probably just too intimidated to tell you. Uncertainty, distrust, lack of confidence and dissension in the ranks is certainly no firm foundation to build a credible police department upon.
Where is your line drawn?
Based upon your deliberate inactions last week, an important rhetorical question looms. If you allowed anarchists to violently assault innocent citizens in your presence who mistakenly depended upon you for their protection, just where is your line drawn now? Those radical demonstrators and violent anarchist protestors will certainly return to San Jose because you have now demonstrated that you are a “soft target.” So next time, how many citizens will have to take their lumps, be seriously injured or worse before you allow your officers to confront criminals and anarchists? We all want to know and you owe us an answer. Question for Mayor Liccardo; if that was your wife or daughter who was trapped by demonstrators against the glass doors of that hotel and violently pelted by eggs and manhandled by the mob; would you have given your officers the green light to step in to protect her? Where is your line drawn Mr. Mayor? The voters who put you in office deserve to know.
San Jose’s future for policing is bleak
No matter how slickly Mayor Liccardo and Police Chief Eddie Garcia try to spin this tale, they have really stepped in it this time. The circumstances they have created for San Jose’s future engagement with radical and goal-oriented protestors is troublesome for the city and its waning police department. Their inaction has most definitely emboldened the protest, anarchist and Black Lives Matter community for the next event. No doubt, there will be more of them next time. Allied cities and counties who provided mutual law enforcement aid will think twice about returning to San Jose to work with a department that only has one plan to deal with violent protestors – disengagement, standing down, enabling, and taking its lumps so as not to appear to be an “occupying force.” They will rightly demand an agreement from the city on sensible “Rules of Engagement.” If they don’t get them; they won’t come and who would?
Next scenario: If Chief Garcia doesn’t show some leadership, there will be dissension in his ranks. Some cops who are being pelted with rocks, debris and perhaps Molotov cocktails may break from the ranks for self-preservation and engage threatening, aggressive protestors. They might become emotionally captured and over-respond. Then no doubt, the City will seek to prosecute those officers. That is sure to make the evening news.
The Mayor and police chief have not only effectively laid the foundation for future expensive criminal and civil litigation against the city and its own officers; but soiled the City’s and its department’s formerly good reputation for effective community policing. How can citizens and visitors to political events ever trust the SJPD to ethically protect them? They can’t. Nice job.
Finally, no sheepdog cop wants to sacrifice their personal safety simply because of political expediency. Cops are trained and it’s in their DNA to run towards danger. They don’t like “stand down” orders while they are watching hapless, innocent citizens including women assaulted right in front of them. This circumstances goes against the oath, ethics and honor of every decent cop who wears the badge. Some may finally say, “I won’t follow that order, sir” and in my eyes, they would be right to say so. Others will simply quietly leave the once famous SJPD for greener, safer, more supportive and less political pastures. Unfortunately, this trend has been going on for a few years now.
As I have recently written, America is in a battle for control of its destiny and the protection of its core values. The City of San Jose, now “Benghazi” is its “Ground Zero.” Everybody has a plan until they get punched in the mouth. Last week the reputation of the city and its police department received a serious black eye. My advice is that Mayor Liccardo and Chief Garcia had either get some boxing gloves on and start punching to protect their citizens, or throw in the towel and get out of the ring.
About the Author
Ron Martinelli, Ph.D., CMI-V, is a nationally renowned forensic criminologist and police expert and a retired San Jose Police Officer who served the city from the 1970’s – 1990’s. Dr. Martinelli directs the nation’s only multidisciplinary Forensic Death Investigations Team and is the author of the best-selling book, “The Truth Behind the Black Lives Matter Movement and the War on Police,” (Amazon.com). Dr. Martinelli writes for several law enforcement and forensic magazines and is a police and forensic expert to FOX News, CNN, OANN, CNTV, The Discovery and History Channels. His site is http://www.DrRonMartinelli.com.