Blogger links SJPD officers to more bigoted social media a day after DA moves to dismiss tainted cases

SAN JOSE — A day after the Santa Clara County District Attorney’s Office moved to dismiss 14 criminal convictions they deemed were tainted by San Jose police officers associated with bigoted social-media posts, the blogger who exposed them has published a new dispatch linking more retired and active officers to extremist, transphobic, and Islamophobic posts.

In one passage of the new Medium article posted Friday, the blogger shows that three active, retired, or reserve officers “liked” a post from May that put Adolf Hitler’s mustache on a photo of Gov. Gavin Newsom, with a Nazi flag in the background, in apparent protest of his shutdown of state beaches to stem the spread of COVID-19.

Another segment indicates that three retired SJPD officers made disparaging remarks about Chelsea Manning, the former Army intelligence analyst who was imprisoned, and then had her sentence commuted by former President Barack Obama, for releasing a trove of classified documents to WikiLeaks. Manning since has identified as a trans woman.

One retired officer reportedly responded to a post commenting that Manning “dresses up so he can be in a protected group. BS.” A related remark from a retired officer stated, “Obama thought he was cute…I mean look who Obama married right?” In another post outlined in the Medium article, a reserve officer, who sources confirmed was investigated after the blogger’s last exposé, appears to mock trans athletes and rules deciding whether trans people can participate in sports outside of their birth gender.

The blogger, who writes under the pseudonym “Charlie Paulsen” and identifies as the partner of a police officer, also outlines an array of posts by retired officers that espouse anti-Muslim sentiments. Among them, lambasting a series of New York City settlements paid out to three Muslim women who were forced to remove their hijabs when they took police booking photos.

That directly evokes the blogger’s previous article where, in response to a story about a Muslim woman whose hijab was pulled off by a Ventura County Sheriff’s Office deputy, an active officer wrote, “Hell, I would have pulled it over her face,” and a retired officer suggested using hijabs as nooses. In the new article, Paulsen lays out an array of posts by retired officers seeming to revel in anti-Muslim stances, mocking racial-justice movements, and lampooning Mexican people.

Paulsen wrote about deciding to come forward again after the Santa Clara District Attorney’s Office announced Thursday that prosecutors were moving to dismiss 14 mostly misdemeanor convictions dating to 2005 after an examination found they hinged entirely on one of about a half-dozen officers who were determined to have engaged in bigoted social-media activity highlighted by Paulsen’s initial June 26 post.

“It is because innocent citizens who may be victims of racist cops are being exonerated, I decided to release this next article,” Paulsen wrote Friday.

Paulsen later told this news organization that potential retaliation was worth facing because “the truth needs to be told.” Paulsen said that the DA’s prospective dismissals offered a sense of direct impact beyond prompting misbehaving officers to start scrubbing their social media posts.

“All of the posts that I included in my article today are available to anyone. These cops are so bold in their beliefs that they’ve made it public,” Paulse said. “All I did was compile them, present the information, ask questions, and allow the public to decide for themselves.”

San Jose police Chief Eddie Garcia said in a statement Friday that upon learning about Paulsen’s article that his department “immediately began an investigation. As the author points out, most of these postings appear to have been made by former employees, but that does not make them any less harmful or offensive.”

He added that, “any current employee involved will be swiftly identified and investigated. While I can’t comment specifically on discipline matters, I have no problem saying that we have held officers accountable for these types of actions. We also have found in the past that not every blog post includes a complete account of information.

“I can also comfortably say that if some of these former employees were still working here, I would be seeking their termination.”

After the June 26 article from Paulsen, four active SJPD officers were placed on administrative leave and an internal investigation was launched. Thursday, the department stated that the investigation of those officers was ongoing and could not comment on the status of those officers. But the San Jose Police Officers’ Association, in criticizing the DA dismissal announcement, asserted that two of the four officers were “completely exonerated and are back at work.”

The combination of the DA’s move to dismiss cases as a result of Paulsen’s June article, Paulsen’s new article, and the public defender’s promise that her office’s own review of biased officers will yield more case dismissals figure to keep alive a critical bias question about the department as the city begins to hold public-input sessions to inform its search for a new chief to replace Garcia, who announced his intention to retire around year’s end.

“We want a chief who will encourage an environment of accountability, allowing officers to report racist and illegal behavior without facing retaliation,” Paulsen wrote. “We need a chief who will address the systemic racism at SJPD and will be committed for the long haul.”

Check back later for updates to this story.

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Author: Robert Salonga