Dear Spartan Daily News,
It has come to my knowledge that Captain Johnson Fong from the San Jose Police Department (SJPD) is a candidate for SJSU Chief of Police.
I feel obligated as a member of the San Jose community to voice my concern about Fong serving as a future Chief of Police.
Fong may have an overall decorated police career with the support of the SJPD Chief of Police and the upper command.
However, the words and actions that Fong has displayed recently should be brought to light and taken into consideration.
On Nov. 10, 2017, Fong was the highest in command present during a police briefing thanking police officers who served in the military.
The briefing sergeant asked Fong if they had forgot to mention anyone. In a room of about 80 officers and command staff, the sergeant proceeded to ridicule, harass and single out the only Middle Eastern Muslim police officer in the room, accusing him of being a terrorist and serving with ISIS.
This officer was very offended by the racist comments and harassment and hoped that Fong would intervene.
However, Fong himself was laughing so hard that his face was turning red.
He had an opportunity to stop this racist behavior, but he did nothing to correct the situation or the briefing sergeant.
Fong could have pulled the briefing sergeant aside to talk to him, yet that too did not occur because the briefing sergeant was seen and heard to have continued harassing the officer in the lunch room.
Fong could have followed SJPD policies and reported this event to Internal Affairs. However, he did not do so for reasons that he has yet to address.
A quote by Elie Wiesel states, “There may be times when we are powerless to prevent injustice, but there must never be a time when we fail to protest it.”
Fong possessed the highest power in the room to stop the harassment and failed to do so.
Furthermore, he did nothing to fight for the rights of the victim, to correct the sergeant’s initial failures and to make the situation right.
While the briefing sergeant was investigated, Fong was not held accountable for his behavior.
What can be deduced about an individual who does not hold himself or herself accountable to the same standards he or she holds his subordinates?
What about an individual who had the power to stop injustice but fails to do so? What about an individual who fails to speak out against injustice?
San Jose State University is a world-class institution that draws students from all around the world and prides itself with diversity that must be honored and maintained.
Our campus is the location of a mighty powerful and symbolic statue of Tommie Smith and John Carlos, representing a fight to stand up against inequality even if it means losing everything.
I implore SJSU to perform due diligence in selecting a chief of police who can support and maintain these values, who is clear of any serious racism allegations and who not mired in controversy.
Thank you for listening and for your time.