Just the facts

Just the facts

Council to take action on civilian police panel 

By André Coleman 09/18/2013

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Although three of four members of the Pasadena City Council’s Public Safety Committee oppose a feasibility study on the creation of a citizen oversight committee to monitor the Police Department, the matter will still be referred to the council for a final decision.

Committee Chair Jacque Robinson made the decision to forward the discussion on Monday after newly elected Councilman John Kennedy, a committee member, made a presentation calling for the study. After Kennedy’s presentation, Committee members Steve Madison, Gene Masuda and Robinson voted against conducting the study.

“I was disappointed that there did not seem to be the kind of interest that the community has voiced in terms of producing a comprehensive study on this subject,” Kennedy told the Pasadena Weekly. “I think the community deserves at least to know what the facts are. I am hoping the City Council will place it on the agenda as an action item. The first thing you have to do is present the facts and the community does not have the facts.”

Robinson told the Weekly the item would be an action item when it comes before the council. A date to decide the issue has not yet been set.
The latest calls for oversight come on the heels of investigations by the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department and the Pasadena Police Department that cleared Officer Kevin Okamoto and Detectives Keith Gomez and William Broghamer of claims that they either individually or together attempted to influence witness testimony, inappropriately used an informant and failed to provide a copy of a search warrant when asked. Other claims against the officers included harassment, unlawful arrest, submission of a misleading police report and inappropriate recording a jailhouse conversation.

The department is also waiting for the results of an independent probe being conducted by the Office of Independent Review, which is investigating the officer-involved shooting death of Kendrec McDade, 19, who was shot and killed by police officers Matthew Griffin and Jeffrey Newlen.

Despite the committee’s opposition, community members, including former NAACP Pasadena Branch president Joe Brown, spoke out in favor of the study.

“Why shorten the ‘transparency’ and continue to leave the PPD out?” Brown said. “[While] many have trust in our Pasadena Police Department, others believe that transparency is not displayed in all cases. The public needs to have that level of assurance, subject to some restraints, to participate in this vital level of accountability.”

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