Data analyzed by the San Jose Mercury News undercuts the police department’s primary explanation for why it arrests so many Latinos for public drunkenness. Officials say they can’t explain the trend. For weeks, police maintained that a unique phenomenon – Latinos from out of town flooding into the dense concentration of downtown San Jose clubs and bars every weekend – was a main reason that 57 percent of those arrested for public drunkenness are Hispanic.
The newspaper’s analysis of statistics gathered by the department shows that explanation does not hold up. Most people arrested downtown for public drunkenness are not Hispanic. More Hispanics are arrested outside downtown than in the city’s core. Most out-of-towners arrested downtown are not Hispanic. After reviewing the news paper’s findings, surprised police officials were at a loss to explain them. Mayor Chuck Reed conceded that something is wrong. “It’s pretty clear to me that we have some problems that need to be fixed,” the mayor said, after being shown the latest statistical analysis. “If the police department is making attitude arrests or they are racially profiling, I expect the chief to remedy those things.”