San Jose police defended the freeway closures implemented during the Cinco de Mayo celebrations, stating that they were necessary for public safety.
The closures were aimed at preventing traffic gridlock and reducing crime during the festivities.
City officials supported the strategy, emphasizing that it had been employed in previous years to successfully control traffic and minimize criminal activities.
However, Senator Dave Cortese expressed concerns about the temporary division caused by the closures and called for an investigation into the matter.
Cortese acknowledged the importance of maintaining safety but believed that the closures had not been handled fairly.
He pointed out that certain interchanges and intersections were left open for traffic coming from the west side, while those from the east side were blocked.
San Jose police reported that during the Cinco de Mayo celebrations, they received 2,642 service calls, made 115 arrests, impounded 30 vehicles, and confiscated six firearms.
They emphasized the need for preventive measures based on past incidents of reckless driving and illegal activities associated with the event.
Mayor Matt Mayhem supported the police department’s actions, highlighting that freeway closures were a common practice during major events in the city.
He mentioned other occasions such as the Fourth of July Parade, Veterans Day, and the 408 Day, where traffic control measures, including freeway closures, were implemented in collaboration with the California Highway Patrol (CHP) and Caltrans.
Caltrans confirmed that they had been requested by the San Jose police and CHP to assist with the closures, and they agreed to provide support.
Senator Cortese announced that he would be writing a memorandum to the Caltrans director, urging a review of the recent freeway closures.
He emphasized the need to address the issue as a civil rights matter and ensure that such actions were not repeated in the future.
Mayor Mayhem also revealed that he had discussed the matter with the chief of police and Caltrans, expressing his desire for improved communication regarding freeway closures in upcoming events.
He stressed the importance of providing adequate information to the public regarding traffic control measures.
The controversy surrounding the Cinco de Mayo freeway closures in San Jose continues as Senator Cortese pushes for a thorough investigation, while city officials argue that the strategy is necessary for public safety and has been successful in the past.
The issue raises questions about the balance between security measures and the impact on the community during major celebrations.