Hours after officially naming a new police chief Tuesday, the San Jose city manager defended the decision to hire Anthony Mata despite concerns raised during the hiring process by some in the LGBTQ+ community.
The San Jose City Council confirmed the hiring Tuesday of Mata, a deputy chief in the department, after a nationwide search. He was one of four finalists for the position, following former Chief Eddie Garcia’s announcement last summer that he was retiring. Garcia has since become Dallas’ police chief.
Mata joined the San Jose Police Department as an officer in 1996 and rose through the ranks, serving as a deputy chief for more than four years.
Three finalists for the chief position—namely Mata, Acting Chief Dave Tindall and Deputy Chief Heather Randol—led SJPD during its violent response to George Floyd protests. Assemblyman Alex Lee (D-San Jose), one of the plaintiffs suing the city over its brutal reaction to the demonstrations, joined Assemblyman Evan Low (D-Campbell) in decrying Mata’s hiring over the protest response as well as the other allegations.
In a joint statement, Low and Lee said the following:
Mata, a 25-year veteran of the San José Police Department (SJPD), currently holds the rank of Deputy Chief. But his actions in a deadly police shooting—as well as allegations of Islamophobia and transphobia—suggest he is unfit to lead the police department of California’s third-largest city and the 10th largest city in the nation.
In 1999, Mata was one of two officers to open fire during the fatal police shooting of Odest Mitchell, an unarmed 48-year-old man. Mata fired 10 shots during a foot chase, hitting Mitchell four times. The officers claimed they saw a shiny object in Mitchell’s hand, but an investigation by the Monterey County District Attorney’s Office found he was holding a pair of sunglasses.
In response to the shooting, Mata told the Mercury News he “paid it forward” by training other officers. This response to killing an unarmed man is unacceptable and ignores the national reckoning that has been taking place over policing in the United States.
In 2018, a lawsuit claimed Mata presided over a police briefing in which Islamophobic comments were made to harass a Palestinian officer. Mata told the Mercury News the situation taught him to be “more careful in engaging with our workforce.” This statement once again suggests a lack of leadership and responsibility on Mata’s part. Leaders should speak out if they see or hear something racist.[ii]
And just this week, former SJPD officer Julie Callahan, who is transgender and served in the Department for nearly 30 years, told ABC7 that Mata made unsettling comments to her in a conversation in which he refused to support her transition. In recent years, SJPD has made positive steps to repair its relationship with the LGBTQ+ community, but the decision to move forward with Mata’s promotion and disregard these allegations is disturbing.
Mata, as a deputy chief, also had a leadership role in the department last summer, when SJPD officers used excessive force in firing tear gas at Black Lives Matter protesters.
At a time when the department needs bold leadership to move forward, San Jose has instead turned to an insider whose own record—killing an unarmed man, along with allegations of Islamophobia and transphobia—should immediately disqualify him from consideration.
Shortly before 6pm Tuesday, City Manager Dave Sykes released the following statement, included below in its entirety.
“The city of San Jose takes all alleged violations of city policy, including alleged violations of the city’s discrimination and harassment policy, very seriously. Upon receipt of various concerns regarding Chief Mata, including matters pertaining to the LGBTQ+ community, which were raised late in the recruitment process, the city immediately looked into those concerns. Based on the information we were able to gather, the city did not substantiate a violation of city policy nor find any reason to disqualify Chief Mata from further consideration as the city’s next chief of police.”
This is a crappy article. What were the lgbq+ allegations? Why doesn’t the headline mention the murder he commited?
Congratulations Chief Mata!
I wish you and the rest of San Jose’s Finest, peaceful and productive tours of duty!
David S. Wall
I see career narcissist Julie Callahan has chimed in on the police chief selection process, providing further proof of my theory that narcissism and body dysmorphia (dissatisfaction with body), and not body dysphoria (gender conflict), are the driving forces affecting otherwise inexplicable cases of gender transformation. That this mean-spirited and obviously disturbed individual has made it her mission in retirement to “reach back and ruin somebody” whenever opportunity arises is just further proof of her shameful need for attention.
Eager to condemn former coworkers for daring to have sensibilities different from her own, Julie has never hesitated to use the political advantage afforded her in this twisted culture to exorcise her internal unhappiness by inflicting harm on otherwise good people. In the case of the new police chief his offense was his inability, as a practicing Catholic, to break with the teachings of his church and, as a private person, recite the LBGT catechism to her satisfaction. According to this self-appointed authority of tolerance, every member of the SJPD was required to affirm her radical transformation as natural and moral, and ignore their knowledge that this surgically-manufactured woman, born in a man’s body, had duped two unsuspecting women into thinking they were marrying a legitimate man, and then fathering numerous, equally unsuspecting children.
So empowered was Julie post-transition that her coworkers, despite knowing full well that her perceptions were flawed and reports unreliable, understood the administration was so cowed by progressive pressure that reporting any criticism of her would be tantamount to career suicide. Based on everyone I’ve talked to and everything I’ve heard, I doubt a single former teammate could testify to her suitability and reliability and simultaneously pass a polygraph.
And please, disabuse yourself of mistaking Julie’s venom for evidence of fragile sensitivities, feminine or otherwise. This is a person who, as James Rodriques, was involved in several shootings that raised tough questions and garnered considerable public outrage. Whether as James or Julie, the hide had proved itself tough enough to weather a storm and accept differences of all kinds: opinion, belief, humor. But as Julie, a vindictive, credentialed victim of society, she now has the power to punish those who think differently. And punish she does.
I don’t know the new chief, but I do know I’ve never heard him described as unkind or uncaring, yet, lacking destructive ammunition of any other kind — even after rustling through her ‘offense taken’ files — Julie went ahead and took a shot with what she had. It’s what she does. Scanning the internet from Nevada she looks for offense and attacks. It’s too bad anyone listens, but they do and good people lose positions, job opportunities, and a considerable level of social networking freedom. Her missives are never constructive and the subject is really always the same: her.
It leads me to wonder: how much misery must one deliver to others in this life?
I have worked for SJPD as an openly gay man for 8yrs and worked for Chief Mata for 5 of those years. He showed no signs of being homophobic. On the contrary, he was supportive of me and encouraged my advancement. I am also aware of other SJPD LGBTQ employees who have shared similar experiences with Chief Mata. I fear that this character assassination attempt is politically motivated and not based on actual behaviors he has exhibited…
Thank you for speaking out in support of Chief Mata. We all need to stand up to these gutter snipes and their destructive ideologies.
Read the Monterey County District Attorneys’ Report on Mata’s fatal shooting of an unarmed, fleeing black man. This should have been disqualifying. https://www.co.monterey.ca.us/home/showdocument?id=78949
We support the hiring of Mata in becoming SJPD’s new Chief. Kudos to the City for hiring from winthin!! We have advocated for the hiring from within since day 1.
Anyone upset by Mata’s promotion can take heart that he’s just using the promotion for a pump and dump on his pension, which will be around 3 years or so.
Mata is not a bad person, but he was the 4th out of 4 in my opinion, just not Chief material.
I would have been satisfied with any of the other three, but San Jose City Council strikes again.
He shot a bad guy. Perhaps the city should have been looking for a chief that helped burn down his city or beat up people at a Trump rally this last year!
This site is like a cartoon. Just a bunch of babble about characters no one cares about.
there will be another new chief in a few years….Landsdowne, ever since him, we are on a three year pump and dump like Cortese said.
Good pick for chief.