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  1. #1
    Member gcsanjose's Avatar
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    Jul 2010

    Man fatally stabbed in south San Jose

    When the Feds are away the rats will play. ICE just left San Jose a week ago saying they had this gang related killing thing under control. Whoops..looks like they might be making a return visit.

    By Lisa M. Krieger
    Posted: 08/28/2011 11:24:25 AM PDT
    Updated: 08/28/2011 11:24:26 AM PDT

    South San Jose police are investigating the fatal stabbing of a man who is the city's 32nd homicide victim this year.

    Police spokesman Sgt. Jason Dwyer said that police responded at 10:32 p.m. Saturday night to a report of a stabbing on the 400 block in south San Jose, in the vicinity of Senter Rd. and East Capitol Expressway.

    The victim, who has not been identified, was transported to Regional Medical Center and pronounced dead at 11:29 p.m. Police have not identified any suspects.

    The homicide is the 30th investigated by the San Jose police this year; two other deaths at San Jose State were investigated by university police.

    The sharp increase in violence -- by comparison, 20 people were killed in all of 2010 -- has puzzled police in a place that for years prided itself on being one of the safest big cities in America. Half of the deaths are thought to be gang-related.

    It is on pace for more than 50 killings in 2011, a rate not seen since 1991.

    The trend prompted a meeting in June in which community and faith leaders asked San Jose Police Chief Chris Moore to enact reforms and maintain staffing levels. The police departments has urged residents to help them by being unafraid to act as witnesses.

  2. #2
    Member gcsanjose's Avatar
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    Jul 2010
    After two-month gang crackdown, San Jose cops sever ties with feds

    Driven by a dramatic drop in gang killings coupled with community fears that law-abiding undocumented residents would be deported, San Jose police on Wednesday ended their brief alliance with federal immigration agents.

    Police Chief Chris Moore seemed to declare victory in the department's 2-month-old "war on gangs" in saying the department -- still reeling from severe budget cuts and layoffs -- could now afford to sever ties with two U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement agents.

    The ICE agents had joined the force June 24 to stem a steep rise of gang violence that had helped put the city on track for its highest homicide rate since the 1980s. In the first 5½ months of the year, the city recorded 14 gang homicides, but none in the two months since the department's elite 38-member METRO unit began focusing on "all gangs, all the time," Moore said. With the help of the ICE agents, he said, police arrested some 215 gang members.

    Yet the police force is also facing sharp criticism from community groups who say residents have feared calling police to report crimes or serve as witnesses because they did not want the ICE agents to deport them.

    "I definitely think (ending the ICE relationship) is a move in the right direction and I hope (Moore) stays open to talking to us," said Zelica Rodriguez, policy director for Service, Immigrants Rights and Education Network. "It's a reminder of the promises he made when he was a candidate for chief."

    Although police spokesman Sgt. Jason Dwyer said the community concerns played a role in the chief's decision, it was the drop in violence that had the largest effect.

    "Are we crumbling to the community pressure? Absolutely not," Dwyer said. "If we were still getting bombarded with homicides, those guys wouldn't be going anywhere. We accomplished what we set out to do, we've completely stopped" the gang homicides.

    But it may have come with a cost. In interviews Wednesday, community group leaders -- who met with the chief several times over the issue -- reported what they called disturbing changes in how police were targeting minorities and a drop in trust between officers and residents since the crackdown launched.

    The testimonials mounted: They say a four-member officer unit had pulled over a Latino pastor for not using his turn signal. One Hispanic mother who witnessed a beating in front of her home was too scared to call police because they might check her immigration status. Another man said he had been driving as little as possible to avoid the risk of being pulled over, and a mom said she fears her teenage Latino son will be profiled by police whenever he goes out.

    "We've looked at cost analysis of what it means to our community, this fear and intimidation that happened. The cost surely outweighs the benefits," said Maritza Maldonado, a 25-year veteran of the community group PACT. Her East San Jose church surveyed 1,800 parishioners, and found 90 percent reported a desire for a better relationship with police.

    They remain bitter that Moore never consulted with them before deciding to team with ICE and have been meeting constantly with him to persuade him to end the partnership, and to consult with them before embarking on new initiatives.

    Still, no examples have surfaced proving their main concern -- that law-abiding citizens without documentation would be targeted and deported -- ever became a reality.

    Now the police will face fire from the opposite end of the spectrum, led by a coalition of five conservative groups who formed to support the ICE plan. They now fear violence will tick back up if police relax their crackdown. Dwyer said the reduction in gang focus would be extremely gradual.

    During the two-month crackdown, called "Operation Community Shield," the gang unit made 314 arrests, seized 23 weapons, and conducted more than 500 gang-related searches, police said. Of the people arrested, 69 percent were involved in gangs and 35 percent were repeat offenders.

    "If it's been working, why stop?" said Don Barich, a spokesman for the pro-ICE coalition. "With the budget cutbacks and the manpower challenges the force is facing, it would seem like a good use of resources as far as we're concerned."

    ICE issued a statement saying it looked forward to working with other local police departments to "dismantle criminal organizations that threaten the welfare of our communities."

    "(The partnership) achieved the desired results, reducing gang-related crime and violence," Clark Settles, ICE's special agent in charge, said in a statement.

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