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Emotions Flare During Forum On Police-Involved Shootings

by MSNBC Saturday, Jul. 26, 2003 at 2:18 PM

"The police officer must be brought up on second-degree murder charges,"...SAN JOSE, CA July 24, 2003 - Police Chief Bill Lansdowne is officially moving to San Diego where he will take over the reins as the city's new police chief.

Emotions Flare During Forum On Police-Involved Shootings

SAN JOSE, Calif., 11:29 p.m. PDT July 24, 2003 - Chief Bill Lansdowne came under fire again Thursday evening in San Jose for statements he made after the police shooting of a Vietnamese mother of two.

Angry words raged during a forum on police-involved shootings. NBC11's Greg Gurule reported that it's not just members in the Vietnamese community who are upset.

Many San Jose residents are concerned about the investigation and claim that before all the facts where in, Lansdowne backed the officer who shot Bic Cau Tran. And at Thursday night's forum, many felt they were being lied to by the city.

"The police officer must be brought up on second-degree murder charges," said Ninh K. Nguin, a San Jose resident.

Defiant San Jose residents packed the forum on police-involved shootings where the focus was on the recent killing of the 25-year-old mother of two.

Some feel police were hiding facts and that their investigation is slanted.

"It is a cover-up. It is a cover-up. The second police officer did the cover-up. The first officer was frozen after the shooting. It was a bad shooting," Nguin said.

City officials tried to use the forum to explain how the shooting review process will be open to the public.

Assistant Police Chief Tom Wheatley, who will take over temporarily after Lansdowne leaves, promised a speedy and thorough investigation. But many in the crowd voiced doubts.

"I don't want people, I don't want us at the Police Department or community stepping back into their corners pointing the finger at each other because I really want the truth," Wheatley said.

Some residents felt it would be hard for Wheatley and the police department to convince everyone that the shooting was justified.

"There's many in the community that don't trust him right now. He needs to reach out to them because the trust is very low right now," said Richard Konda, the executive director of Asian Law Alliance.


San Jose's Top Cop Is On The Move

SAN JOSE, Calif., 5:12 p.m. PDT July 24, 2003 - Police Chief Bill Lansdowne is officially moving to San Diego where he will take over the reins as the city's new police chief.

NBC11's Damian Trujillo reported that the official word came at 3 p.m. Thursday at a news conference in San Diego. Lansdowne will now try to do in San Diego, what he did in San Jose -- making it one of the safest cities in the country.

Trujillo spoke with Lansdowne at Mineta San Jose International Airport Thursday morning while on his way to San Diego to make the announcement official.

Lansdowne admits that his decision was a tough one.

"A lot of heartache, because this is a great city. The Mayor and City Manager, I couldn't ask for better people, or a better department. This is just an opportunity and a change for me, and that's why I'm going...I am very proud of the city of San Jose, and all the accomplishments we've had in the Police Department," he said.

Trujillo talked to more than a dozen community leaders since Wednesday, and no one he talked to was happy to hear that the chief is leaving.

They say they'll miss his leadership, and his visionary approach, Trujillo reported.

" Yes, it is a shock. He has done a fantastic job. There was no indication to us on the City Council that he would be leaving," San Jose City Councilman David Cortese said.

Just moments after the announcement, City Manager Del Borgsdorf officially appointed Assistant Chief Tom Wheatley as the acting chief. Wheatley isn't sure if he wants the job permanently. But he did have an interesting analogy on losing his boss.

"I think it's absolutely one of the greatest robberies of Southern California. But the reality is, the guy is a great, spectacular, energetic human being," Wheatley said.

Lansdowne is leaving a city that averages three to four officer-involved shootings per year, and going to one that deals with 30 annually.

He commanded 1,300 officers in San Jose, and will now oversee 2,000 of them.

The chief knows it won't be easy in San Diego, but those who know him say Lansdowne has never been one to back down from a challenge.

Acting Chief Is Left To Deal With Latest Officer Involved Shooting

Meanwhile, one of the first assignments for the acting chief is to oversee the investigation into the latest officer involved shooting.

A police officer shot and killed a 25-year-old Vietnamese woman a week-and-a-half ago, in what he says was self-defense.

Tom Wheatley assures nothing will change. And he says he will make sure the investigation is complete and thorough.

The shooting prompted outrage from the Vietnamese community, who met with Lansdowne Wednesday to discuss the incident, and they plan to meet with the new interim chief Thursday evening.

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Lansdowne The CoverUpMan Against Lansdowne Tuesday, Jul. 29, 2003 at 6:39 AM

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