San Jose Inside,
My name is Daniel Bufano, and I am a 51-year-old gay man residing in San Jose since 2003. Thank you for writing the article about the San Jose Police Department’s illegal and prejudicial conduct against myself, the LGBTQ community, and to a larger degree, all residents of Santa Clara County. I want your readers to know my truth, which I’m sure is shared by many people who have come in contact with the city’s hostile and prejudicial police department.
Police unjustifiably searched, slandered, physically abused and thoroughly victimized me during an illegal “sting” in a bathroom at Columbus Park the night of Aug. 8, 2015. They told me that as a gay man, I should be “ashamed” of myself and that I was a deadly cancer to society and to the world as a whole.
The encounter led to a false police report and the documents fabricated by police that were featured in your article “Cruise Control” (July 28, 2016). First of all, I walked into the men’s room alone and walked out alone. Upon exiting, the “honey badger” undercover police officer engaged me and started to ask me questions pertaining to sex. He asked me if I wanted to engage in oral sex and if I wanted to do so in the bathroom. I declined and tried to move away from him, but he followed me.
You wouldn’t get that impression from reading the police report, however. As I tried to move away, the “honey badger” and two other undercover officers grabbed me and shoved me onto some nearby bleachers. I was cited for 647(d), which is loitering near a public restroom with intent to commit a lewd act. Unlike what the police report alleges, I never said that the bathroom was closing soon and I never said that I had sex in the bathroom on a previous occasion. The way police characterized the encounter was false.
I would like for someone to explain why we’re going to spend thousands upon thousands of dollars for the police to wear body cameras and voice recording equipment when the police control when to wear them, and what exactly they wish to be seen and heard instead of the recording in its unedited entirety.
I wish there was a camera to document my ordeal from beginning to end so I could point to proof of the physical, mental, and emotional anguish that the SJPD put me through.
I am one person who has been honored and blessed to have a voice to share this injustice. With the encouragement of my family and friends, I’ve summoned the strength to stand against this prejudicial enforcement, which affects not only myself but also the LGBTQ community as a whole.