SAN JOSE (CBS SF) — As protesters gathered outside San Jose City Hall Tuesday, city leaders were meeting to approve the Mayor Sam Liccardo’s proposed $4.1 billion budget for the next fiscal year.
Patrick Smith was among the demonstrators who have been protesting against police brutality and racism for more than two weeks.
The mayor, in his proposal, included redirecting $150,000 of the San Jose Police Department’s overtime funding to allow the Independent Police Authority to review its use of force policies with community and faith leaders.
When asked whether Smith would give city leaders a chance to have a conversation about changes to police policies, he said: “That’s what I’m here for, that’s what we’re doing is giving the city a chance to prove themselves that they care about the people.”
But others have said their trust in city leaders was waning, especially after the May 29th protest that turned into a violent clash between police and demonstrators.
“If somebody new takes the reins that we as a community approve of, hopefully we can that with the votes coming up in the future, I would absolutely love to sit down with some people and really work together to change things,” said a protestor who identified herself as Flower.
City leaders approved the budget just after 10:30 p.m., more than 12 hours after beginning the meeting. The budget also included items such as a Coronavirus relief fund and support for small businesses. Details of what was approved in the budget were not immediately available.
The mayor also addressed why he’s against defunding the San Jose Police Department in his proposal; writing that it is already the most thinly-staffed department of any major city in the United States, and that defunding it would hurt instead of help the community.
The proposal, however, included $250,000 to create the Office of Racial Equity, which would operate under the city manager’s office. Several city council members proposed to direct more money toward its creation.
“It’s a little improvement, but in my opinion it’s not enough,” said Smith, who was among the protesters who were hit with rubber bullets on May 29th.
“You’re in tactical gear, you have on bullet proof helmets, granted I don’t condone attacking the police, throwing water bottles or bricks or rocks at them, but we’re in t-shirts holding signs,” he said. “We can’t protect ourselves against rubber bullets.”
Last week Mayor Sam Liccardo announced a proposal to ban the projectiles in crowds.