(L to R) Ronald Perkins and Dion J. Ruiz of San Jose.
SAN JOSE, California. – Ronald Perkins’ neighbor woke him up with an urgent favor: he’d locked himself out of his car and wanted to look for his 18-year-old son who hadn’t returned from a party. Could Perkins Help?
Perkins said sure.
And so 54-year-old San Jose got out of bed, rammed a hangar into the window of his neighbor’s car and unlocked the vehicle.
At that very moment, San Jose police came to Blossom Hill Road, where the neighbors were standing at around 3 a.m. on June 19. There had been a shooting nearby at Block 5400 on Lean Avenue. The officers were on duty and were looking for the shooter.
Perkins said at what felt like a moment that the police rammed his body into a patrol car, pulled their guns on him and handcuffed him, despite his requests that he had nothing to do with the shooting and the description of the suspect that he said he was Latino.
The police also didn’t listen to his requests that they injured old injuries he sustained years ago when his forklift’s emergency brakes failed and he drove off a loading dock.
“They told me they were looking for a Mexican,” Perkins told KTVU. “I told you I was Black, why did you care about me?
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Perkins’ experience comes just a day after the city’s civilian-led independent police auditor announced that he was hiring an outside research agency, the CNA Institute for Public Research, to evaluate the use of force and training policies of the San Jose police force.
Also earlier that month, the Court of Auditors released an annual report showing that allegations by police officers engaged in biased policing nearly doubled from 54 in 2019 to 104 in 2020.
As in previous years, most of the bias police allegations were dismissed as unfounded and none were maintained.
The police are currently investigating.
According to the number of allegations made against the San Jose Police Department, a large percentage of the complaints concerned courtesy, violence and racial profiling – all of which Perkins claims.
“It is not uncommon for the person to complain on biased police charges that action was taken against them because the officer claimed the person looked like the suspect,” said independent police investigator Shivaun Nurre. “Community members, especially colored people, often perceive this as racist behavior.”
In emails, Sgt. Christian Camarillo has confirmed that there has been a shooting.
However, he would not discuss the details of Perkins’ allegations.
If there was a body-worn camera video of what Perkins said, Camarillo wouldn’t give it to KTVU as the news organization wasn’t attending the event. Another police station employee said they would not post any videos or reports to Perkins either, and told him that he had not been a victim of any crime.
Camarillo added that anyone who has a problem with police behavior can file a home affairs complaint. Perkins hopes to file such a complaint but is at a loss as the police will not report to him.
Perkins was eventually released after about an hour.
But he was shaken and complained of severe arm and shoulder pain because his body was handcuffed in the back of the patrol car.
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The neighbor who locked his car keys – Dion J. Ruiz, 53 – confirmed the Perkins story.
“They treated me with kid gloves,” said Ruiz. “You really treated Ron wrongly.”
He said he saw the police ram his neighbor into the car and push it around.
What surprised Ruiz is that he is the Latino and better matches the description of the shooting suspect. Ruiz said he also had old gang tattoos on his neck and a thick, bushy mustache.
“I look a lot more seedy than him,” said Ruiz.
Ruiz eventually found his 18-year-old son, who had walked home from a party drunk and had also arrived at the crime scene.
The police then focused their interrogation on his son, and Ruiz said that his son was belligerent because he was drunk.
Ruiz said he asked to speak to his son several times to calm him down, but the police refused. The son was eventually arrested for negligent battery charging.
Neither Perkins nor Ruiz say they are angels.
Both have criminal backgrounds, but neither have been suspended or suspended.
And no one said Perkins was calm during the ordeal.
“He kept saying, ‘Are you kidding me?” Ruiz said. “That’s a F – ing b–. Ron was crazy. He was about to go back to bed. “
Both men said Perkins was not a threat either. He did not press or resist the police in any way, they said.
And both understand that the police have to do their job to find suspects and shooters. But they don’t have to do it with disrespect and disenfranchise innocent parishioners no matter what they look like, the two men said.
Finally, Perkins said the officer who allegedly beat him up apologized. And finally a sergeant came to speak to him.
But by this point Perkins was upset and in pain. And their efforts were too little, too late.
He said his bad treatment was simply due to the color of his skin.
“If I were white, they would never have stopped me,” said Perkins.
How do you find the real shooter?
Camarillo said the shooting is currently being investigated.
Lisa Fernandez is a reporter for KTVU. Email Lisa at [email protected] or call her at 510-874-0139. Or follow her on Twitter @ljfernandez