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Mon Jun 1 2009 (Updated 06/03/09) Community Demands More Public Input Into Selection of Top Cop Watcher in San José
City Policies Questioned After San Jose Police Shoot and Kill Mentally Ill Man at Home When San José police shot and killed 27-year-old Daniel Pham in his own backyard last month, many San Jose residents immediately recalled an eerily similar situation 6 years ago when another Vietnamese immigrant, Cau Bich Tran, was also killed by police in her home. In the recent incident, relatives were shouting “don’t kill him, he’s mentally ill!" Yet Daniel Pham was shot and killed within 3 minutes of police response to a call asking for assistance because the victim had brandished a knife.  In the instance 6 years ago, officers arrived at Cau Bich Tran's house in San José, responding to a domestic disturbance call. They shot her after mistaking her vegetable peeler for a cleaver.

Public outcry surrounding Tran’s killing in 2003 created a new policy requiring the city's Independent Police Auditor to review officer involved shootings. But there will be no such review in the case of last month's killing of Daniel Pham. The policy was rescinded by a controversial opinion offered by City Attorney Richard Doyle in 2007.

Today the city of San José faces a new round of public scrutiny. City officials came under criticism for trying to hire the brother of a city police officer as the city's Independent Police Auditor last month, and the police department is being legally challenged over its high rate of arresting Latinos on charges of public intoxication. City policies are being questioned and the public is demanding more input into the process as the City Council begins another effort to find a new top cop watcher. Read more

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