California man who teaches police recruits about bias shot in groin with riot gun during protest

Derrick Sanderlin, who has known the San Jose police chief and worked with him for three years, is now questioning if the department has made any progress


                            California man who teaches police recruits about bias shot in groin with riot gun during protest
(Getty Images)

SAN JOSE, CALIFORNIA: A community activist was seriously injured by a riot gun during a George Floyd protest after having worked for years to promote understanding between San Jose law enforcement and the public. Derrick Sanderlin has known the San Jose police chief and worked with him for three years. However, he is now questioning if the department has made any progress, ABC7 reports. Last week, violent protesters shut down Highway 101 and targeted a blue Mustang which had a "Blue Lives Matter" license plate frame. After they smashed out the car's window, 27-year-old community activist Sanderlin stepped in to quell the situation and escorted the driver to safety.

Sanderlin made his way to San Jose City Hall shortly after and saw police shooting rubber bullets at protesters, and decided to step in there as well. "I really just couldn't watch it anymore," Sanderlin said. "And just kind of made like a parallel walkover, put my hands up, and just stood in the line of the fire and asked them to please not do this."

Police officers clash with protesters during a demonstration over the Minneapolis death of George Floyd while in police custody on May 29, 2020, in Atlanta, Georgia. (Getty Images)

Video footage shows the officers training their riot guns on Sanderline, according to ABC7. Despite standing a good distance away and making no aggressive motions to police, they reportedly fired at him several times and one round hit him in the groin. "I pause for a moment like maybe this isn't, maybe this doesn't hurt, and falling afterwards is like the most painful experience," he said.

Derrick and Cayla Sanderlin, who have been married for four years, work for charities helping people who are the worst hit, economically, due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Derrick had to have emergency surgery for a rupture, and doctors are not sure if the couple will be able to have children after the incident. "The doctor had let me know before the operation that there's no way of fully telling until you try to have kids," Derrick Sanderlin said.

"And I just started weeping at the thought of that. You know, we, we do want kids and we're very close to having kids," Cayla Sanderlin added. The couple has now retained an attorney who is preparing a claim against the city and its law enforcement. "They were aiming for a body part that is prohibited when using those types of riot guns. You're not meant to aim at the groin or the head ever," said attorney Sarah Marinho.

Police advance on demonstrators who are protesting the killing of George Floyd on May 30, 2020, in Minneapolis, Minnesota. (Getty Images)

Officer Jared Yuen, who shot Sanderlin, has already been placed on desk duty and is now facing an internal affairs investigation for his aggressive behavior. According to the report, he had no idea that the person he shot had connections or he knew the San Jose police chief on a personal level. Sanderlin has helped train new police recruits about implicit bias and procedural justice for over three years, but now wonders if his work amounted to anything. "The way that the way that they've treated people out there has over the weekend has been really heartbreaking because the chief is like a good person, who's really trying to do the right thing," he told ABC7.

Chief Eddie Garcia issued a statement regarding the incident on Saturday, June 6. "Derrick has been a real leader in our communities' efforts to reduce bias and discrimination through dialogue. I assured him we will be investigating this incident," he said.

Meanwhile, Garcia is also re-evaluating the use of rubber bullets during a confrontation.

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