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Tuesday, October 27, 2009

Are the San Jose Police prejudiced to the Vietnamese?

The recent incident with Phuong Ho and the San Jose Police and subsequent news reports reminded me of something that happened to a friend of mine...

My Vietnamese friend recounted a recent experience with San Jose Police. A simple traffic stop for a legitimate reason. He and some friends were lost and made an illegal U-Turn. No biggie. I was shocked and horrified as he described how they were treated. The immediate profiling and subsequent physical and verbal abusive treatment. I urged him to file a complaint. He did not want to cause problems. It was their word against the police. He knew it was no win for him. How sad is that? I believe every word of the reporting that the Vietnamese do not trust the police. As these stories permeate through the community, there is going to be mistrust and fear of abuse.

Who is going to protect us from those who are protecting us? We watch these separatists in countries like Afghanistan, Israel and Iraq and think they are fear and hate mongers and a bunch of terrorists. People who are oppressed will eventually rebel and take up arms to protect themselves. I don't think we are immune to this eventuality especially as communities are treated "like animals". Watching some documentary crime show on TV recently, I already see communities have already taken up arms. The police forces are still more powerful than them and they may be contained to a couple housing block for now but it is evident that this is happening right here in our own communities. They have a management structure, sentries, action plans. They are armed. Sure they are criminals but organized criminals. It really is not all that different than Somalia.

Of course we don't know all the facts about this case but facts don't really matter. The police and grand jury will most certainly clear the police of any wrong doing. Is there a pattern of abuse against the Vietnamese community? I don't know but I am sure glad I am not a Viet having interactions with the police. This needs to be investigated by a independent group.

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