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CALIFORNIA IN BRIEF : SAN JOSE : Police Compromise on Using Mug Shots

August 03, 1991|From Times Staff and Wire Reports

Police agreed to consult with minority leaders about using pictures of innocent Vietnamese youths in a photo album of mug shots shown to crime victims. Deputy Chief Bill Mallett said the album has helped police solve more than 30 crimes involving young Vietnamese, curtailing a crime wave in which many used automatic weapons to loot Vietnamese homes. But minority leaders complained that the album included pictures of some innocent Vietnamese who had only been affiliated with suspected or known criminals, or who were found near a crime scene. "We're willing to take someone out of the book if we find out they're innocent," Mallett told a news conference. "We are doing our job correctly, but we don't want to do something that is seen as heavy-handed." Attorney Mohinder Mann, head of Citizens for Effective Law Enforcement Leadership, said having one's picture in the book means "a person's reputation could be ruined overnight" in the close-knit Vietnamese community. "It's not an issue of race but of privacy."

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