Derrick Sanderlin, Black activist was shot with a rubber bullet at a protest in San Jose, California. He has worked with the San Jose Police Department over the years to help unite the San Jose police and minority communities. He has also trained police on limiting cultural bias while on duty in the field.
What We Know:
- The incident occurred May 29th on the first day of demonstrations in San Jose. Sanderlin was the peacekeeper during the protest. He helped others get to safety including a motorist whose window was shattered.
- Sanderlin stood as a barrier between protestors and police who were loaded with rubber bullets and rounds. He said, “I saw a young girl get shot directly in the chest. I couldn’t watch that anymore; I already watched old women being shot at close range with rubber bullets. I started walking sideways over to them with my hands up, hoping to stop them from shooting innocent people.”
- Sanderlin stepped into the line of fire with both hands in the air as seen on video from bystanders. “I stepped into the line of fire, and a couple of cops said, ‘Move.’ I said, with my hands up, ‘I can’t do that, please don’t do this.’ Another cop came up behind them, pointed directly at me, and said, ‘Move.’” Sanderlin was hit directly in the groin and tried to maintain composure but he hit the ground and was carried away by friends. He couldn’t bare the pain and was taken to the hospital where he found he had a ruptured testicle and needed surgery.
- Eddie Garcia, San Jose Police Chief, reached out to Sanderlin to offer apologies for the events that transpired. He described Sanderlin as a “real leader in our communities” and assured him that there would be an investigation.
What happened to Derrick Sanderlin was wrong. Yesterday, I proposed a ban on use of #rubberbullets, joined by @chappiejones @CM_Magdalena @CMRaulPeralez @LTDiep, & public evaluation of tactics by SJPD during protests, & public release of video https://t.co/UwMF8DyckC
— Sam Liccardo (@sliccardo) June 6, 2020
Sanderlin’s attorney, Sarah Marinho says, “He wasn’t doing anything that warranted use of force. He’s so close, it’s hard to believe they weren’t aiming for his groin. At no distance is it safe to aim for the groin.” Marinho will be representing him for a potential excessive-force claim against the city.