Commentary: Moms, Teach Your Kids Not to Reach for the Glovebox and to Always Record Police

Santa Clara County District Attorney attended the 2019 WomenSV Gilded Cage Fundraiser with Los Altos Town Crier Publisher Liz Nyberg on September 26, 2019. Photo from WomenSV.org.

By Susan Bassi

Days after San Jose Police delivered my first tear gas experience, my court-appointed criminal defense attorney called with news. The Santa Clara County District Attorney (DA) was going to float notions of antisemitism and would refer to me as a “self- proclaimed” journalist.

An hour later, she called back. The Washington Post had given my YouTube channel and work critical of the DA a shoutout in an article published on June 19, 2020. The article was  written by Radley Balko. It was about Northern California’s most powerful law enforcement officer , DA Jeff Rosen, filing a whistleblower complaint against public defender Sajid Kahn.

Law and Crime quickly dubbed Jeff Rosen, “DA Karen”.

Shortly thereafter, @SusanBassi published a video about DA Jeff Rosen not producing records related to  attorneys who commit crimes. Business and Professions Code §6101 says that he must.  The video hit 3 million views and shows nearly 8,000 comments.

Angry Cops

On November 14, 2017, while helping a father look at his family court file, eight angry Santa Clara County Sheriff’s Deputies burst through the court file room door, shouting, “No Photos” and “Stop Recording.”

Grabbed my phone and began to record the newsworthy event. Moments later, Deputy Gomez seized my phone and broke my finger. Unapologetic, he began to search my phone without a warrant.

A month later, while walking into my own family court hearing, I was arrested. Deputy Gomez was never charged for breaking my bones or stealing my phone without a warrant.

For recording the police in a court file room in 2017, was arrested for the first time in my life. Had the first bone in my body was broken by a cop.

A month before Balko published the article, Karen in Central Park called the police on a birdwatcher. That same day, Darnella Fraizer, took video of police kneeling on George Floyd’s neck. She was 17 when she made that recording. It won her a Pulitzer Prize.

Santa Clara County Sherrif Deputy Gomez, May 1, 2018, Family Justice Center in San Jose. Photo by Susan Bassi

“How did she know to do that?”

Fraizer was a cop watcher. In 2019, two years after joining Investigative Reporters & Editors, I became one too. In my view, all investigative reporters should be more like cop watchers and a 17-year-old girl who recorded police officers sitting on the neck of George Floyd as he called out for his mother.

For six years, and 70 hearings, nine Santa Clara County prosecutors tried to put me in jail. They paid no mind to the taxpayer money they spent, or the culture they created. Bullying and inciting violence against women journalists and victims of domestic abuse who try to speak up has become normalized for District Attorney Jeff Rosen, the prosecutors he manages and supervises and divorce lawyers including Nicole Ford.

Divorce attorney, and Santa Clara County Domestic Violence Council appointee, Nicole Ford, pressured the DA to incarcerate me over my social media posts and tweets. As she did, Ford got business referrals from WomenSV, a nonprofit at the root of our most recent reporting.

Cops Don’t Apologize

Had Deputy Gomez apologized, and the county paid to fix my hand, probably would have blown over. Sadly, that is not the culture in Silicon Valley’s legal community with Jeff Rosen in charge.

After learning to record police, reading thousands of police reports, and covering hundreds of family court cases, while exposing the underground Bench-Bar-Media-Police Committee, BBMP, and WomenSV’s Honey Pot Operation, the criminal case against me was reluctantly dismissed by Santa Clara Superior Court Judge Eric Geffon.

However, it was a phone conversation with a mother in Gilroy in 2020 that stood out most that year as we were all isolated in the pandemic.

Photo of child’s artwork by Susan Bassi

Las Madres: Talking Kids in Gilroy

That mother and I talked on the phone for hours. We had never met, though we had lived in the same town for nearly thirty years. We spoke of our children and the impact the pandemic had on our lives. We talked about the places we loved in Gilroy and the things we had done with our children. We also spoke of people not very nice .

She told me how her son was treated when he was sitting on a bench with a young woman on his college campus. My sons had different experiences.

We talked about getting our kids into elementary school. I explained we lived next to the principal of Luigi Aprea and were the fifth family in the RV registration line. We had advanced notice. The principal made us keepers of the bathroom key.

We waited in that line for a week to get our children into that school.  She didn’t know the line existed.

When her son learned to drive, she taught him to keep the car registration and insurance in the visor, not the glovebox. My children only worried about making me mad if they missed curfew. They never knew of the dangers lurking in the glovebox during a traffic stop.

Two moms from Gilroy, in a pandemic. One worried about her son getting a girl pregnant on prom night. The other worried about her son getting shot by police officers in a traffic stop.

This year, on June 19, 2024, hope our reporting will help those duped into believing WomenSV was a support group for domestic violence survivors. Also hope our reporting will encourage parents to teach their children not to reach for the glovebox, and always record police.

About The Author

Disclaimer: the views expressed by guest writers are strictly those of the author and may not reflect the views of the Vanguard, its editor, or its editorial board.

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