Complaints of Alleged Police Brutality Probed by Jury
Six alleged instances of police brutality have been brought to the attention of the County Grand Jury, it was reported yesterday.
Clifford Lishman, Grand Jury foreman, confirmed that the jury had received the complaints. A committee is investigating the complaints, Lishman said, and if it finds substantiating evidence the entire jury will conduct a complete investigation.
The alleged cases were presented to the jury committee by Dennis V. Allen, chairman of the San Diego Race Relations Society, who said that in every instance the victim was a member of a racial minority group.
Allen said that in addition to the reports of alleged brutality, his organization protested cases of "false arrest," assertively based on racial lines. He charged that some officers will arrest any Negro man they find in company with a white woman, booking him on a drunk charge of he had even one drink, or on a vagrancy charge if they think they drunk charge will not hold up.
His protest to the Grand Jury, Allen said, concerned not only the alleged brutality cases themselves, but also the manner in which the cases are handled by police officials. As an example, he said he told the Grand Jury of the case of a youth of Mexican extraction who reportedly was beaten by two officers in a police car.
Allen said the case was brought to the attention of Police Chief Elmer Jansen and one of the officers involved subsequently was suspended for 5 days. Last spring, the Grand Jury looked into several reported incidences of police brutality, most of them involving suspects for major crimes. Police were absolved of the charges in all but one instance, and in that case Chief Jansen suspended one officer.
Lishman said the jury intends to start compiling its report soon in order to have it ready for submission to Superior Court judges by Dec. 30.