South Bay Black Community Urges Accountability for ‘Bad’ Police after Officer Who Wrote Racist Texts Quits

By The Vanguard Staff

SAN JOSE, CA – The South Bay Black community—citing a San Jose Police officer who has now resigned after writing racist text messages, but was not charged for it—called for more “accountability” for “bad” police last week, according to a story in The Mercury News.

The coalition of the South Bay’s Black community on Thursday referenced former officer Mark McNamara after correspondence was released showing him mocking a shooting he was involved in at a downtown San Jose taqueria and writing to another officer, “I hate Black people.”

The Mercury News wrote the Santa Clara County’s District Attorney’s office was reviewing “at least one case involving McNamara unrelated to the taqueria shooting.”

“We have a challenge in front of us, San Jose,” the Rev. Reginald Swilley said at a news conference Thursday morning at the city’s African American Service Agency, reported the Mercury News, which added Swilley said, “How are we going to deal with bad policemen? Are we going to let them continue to infect everybody we hire? Or are we going to be brave enough and say, ‘This guy can’t be in this department.’ ”

“Swilley, along with leaders of racial justice organizations including the local chapter of the NAACP, Silicon Valley DeBug and the Black Leadership Kitchen Cabinet, also are demanding that other police officers who corresponded with McNamara be investigated. The officer who received McNamara’s messages, who has not been publicly identified, has been placed on administrative leave,” the Mercury News said. 

Community leaders want McNamara decertified under a new state law designed to hold police officers accountable for misconduct—decertification means they can’t work in law enforcement anywhere else.

And, San Jose Police Chief Anthony Mata said his department has submitted documents to the state commission in charge of the decertification process.

“I want our community to know that I am committed to an anti-racism culture within our department and am already working with our community partners to update our officer training. The updated training will include this incident as a case study, emphasizing the importance of an anti-racist mindset and culture,” said the chief. 

Even the police department’s union president said he supports the decertification and the district attorney’s review of cases involving McNamara, reported the Mercury News.

The Mercury News writes the “text messages immediately put a spotlight on a controversial incident in March 2022 where McNamara shot and wounded K’aun Green, who is Black, after Green appeared to stop a fight that broke out at a taqueria near San Jose State University. Green was shot while holding a confiscated gun in the air after disarming a person during the fight.”

The City of San Jose recused itself from representing McNamara in a civil lawsuit filed by Green.

“We believe this is probably just the tip of the iceberg,” said Adanté Pointer, Green’s attorney, during Thursday’s press conference, adding, “Because (McNamara) was not sending those text messages to himself.”

In one of the text messages from McNamara, he referred to the shooting involving Green, writing “N—- wanted to carry a gun in the Wild West … Not on my watch.” In another correspondence, McNamara ridiculed Green’s attorney, who is also Black, said the Mercury News.

“The other day this n— lawyer is like Mr McNamara, you know we can still find you guilty of excessive force right? I’m like, hmmm yeah then (what) happens?? … Think I give a f—- what y’all n—- think?!???? I’ll shoot you too!!!!! AHHHHHH!!!!!,” McNamara wrote, reported the Mercury News.

Reportedly, the racist text messages were found by the department’s internal investigations unit, which was looking into an unrelated criminal matter involving McNamara.

Now, other past incidents involving McNamara also are being scrutinized, said the Mercury News, citing a report by the Santa Clara County public defender’s office that it has “requested that local prosecutors dismiss a 2022 case where McNamara was involved in the arrest of a Black man. The individual, according to Deputy Public Defender Karina Alvarez, was arrested for a robbery but ultimately charged with vandalism and petty theft.”

“We at our office have already started the review process of every single case that this former officer has touched,” said Alvarez, who added she would “also be seeking redress for cases involving McNamara through the Racial Justice Act. The law allows defendants to appeal their cases if they can prove to a judge that racial bias played a role in their conviction,” said the Mercury News.

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