San Jose Police Fire Rubber Bullets At Own Bias Trainer, Rupturing His Testicle

Sarah Shaiman

Derrick Sanderlin said his faith in the department's bias training was seriously shaken after the incident.

The man who trained the San Jose police force on how to avoid implicit bias against minorities was shot by rubber bullets at a protest last week, according to a Fox 23 report

  • Derrick Sanderlin has “spent years training new police recruits in San Jose, California.” 
  • The 27-year-old was shot by rubber bullets during a May 29 protest over the death of George Floyd just days earlier. His injuries required emergency surgery for a ruptured testicle. 
  • Sanderlin and his wife Cayla are now unsure if they will be able to have children. 
  • He said, “The doctor had let me know before the operation that there’s no way of fully telling until you try to have kids.”
  • Cayla said the couple was very close to trying for children. 
  • Sanderlin first intervened during the protest to protect someone with a “Blue Lives Matter” license plate from being hurt by protestors who stopped him on the freeway. 
  • He then made his way to San Jose City Hall where police were shooting rubber bullets directly at protestors. Sanderlin said he saw a young girl hit in the chest and that elderly women were being targeted.
  • Sanderlin said he felt compelled to intervene: “I started walking sideways over to them with my hands up, hoping to stop them from shooting innocent people.” 

But after Sanderlin approached officers and refused to move when told, one officer fired directly into his groin, seriously injuring him. 

Sanderlin’s lawyer, Sarah Marinho told Fox 23, “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.” 

The San Jose police chief said the department would be investigating the incident. However, Capt. Jason Dwyer, the department’s special operations commander, claimed officers were simply defending themselves. The city’s mayor, Sam Liccardo, has proposed a ban on rubber bullets, which have the potential to be lethal. 

Sanderlin said his faith in his bias training was seriously shaken by the incident. “The community was not prepared for war. They were prepared for their voices to be heard.”

Read more here. 

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