SAN JOSE (KPIX) – Demonstrators marched and then staged a sit-in protest outside San Jose Mayor Sam Liccardo’s home Friday, calling for him to come out and listen to their messages on police brutality, racism and defunding the police department.
But Liccardo never came out, because he was never home in the first place.
The mayor was in an hours-long city council meeting discussing crowd control measures and the use of force by police during the May 29 protests in which many have claimed they suffered injuries from rubber bullets, tear gas and flash bang grenades.
Among the injured were peaceful protesters.
Ryoga Vee claims he was one of those who never directed any violence toward officers, but was shot with a rubber bullet anyway.
Vee was holding his cell phone when he was handing out water to other demonstrators. The video shows him turning his back on police who were across the street when he suddenly is seen and heard falling to the ground in pain after being hit with what he said was a rubber bullet.
Seconds later, the video shows sparks and flames, and Vee yelling again in pain after he said a flash bang grenade was thrown at or near him.
“I was like, oh my God, I’m probably on fire, because I see fire in my face,” Vee said. “Somebody shot me, why, because I’m a good 10 to 15 feet away from anybody else and I’m a good 30, 40 feet from the police, and the only way that would’ve happened is if they targeted me.”
On Friday, Mayor Liccardo announced his proposal to ban rubber bullets was moving forward.
But back at the mayor’s home, protesters said the ban wasn’t enough.
“I mean it’s a step, but it’s not enough, it’s not enough,” said San Jose resident and protester Jelissa King. “Some of these cops, they abuse their power, just because you have a badge, just because you have a gun, doesn’t mean you can do whatever you want.”
The demonstrators staged the sit-in outside Liccardo’s home until they realized hours later that the mayor was still at City Hall. That’s when they began to march toward the city building, and where they stayed well into the night.
Mayor Liccardo said he did not have plans to break from the city council meeting to talk to the protesters, because he had been listening to dozens of citizens who took part in the public comment section of the meeting, and that the discussion was not over.
He also announced that he had directed the Independent Police Auditor to create an avenue for people to report their injuries by police during the May 29 protest.
Vee said he filed a complaint with police, but he wasn’t satisfied with the response from the department who told him they were aware of the situation and would look into it further.
“Unfortunate, unnecessary, a gross misuse of force,” said Vee. “Somebody needs to be held responsible, and I understand there was a handful of yahoos out there throwing bottles, but I mean, I saw some serious injuries.”