'Fear of the facts'
Councilman renews calls for civilian oversight of police following officer-involved shooting
By André Coleman 10/17/2013
Weeks after the Pasadena City Council overwhelmingly decided against conducting a study of civilian oversight of the Police Department, the issue resurfaced in the wake of another officer-involved shooting.
On Friday, a Pasadena police officer wounded Paris Holloway, 23, in the arm and leg after Holloway allegedly fled to the Kings Villages housing complex after an encounter on Hammond Street and Sunset Avenue.
According to police, Holloway is on parole for felony assault, which allows police to question him at any time. According to Pasadena Police spokeswoman Lt. Tracey Ibarra, Holloway “produced” a weapon at the end of the pursuit. According to police, a loaded handgun was recovered at the scene.
The shooting came just two weeks after the council opted not to support a motion to discuss funding a study that would have examined citizen oversight of police departments. The Pasadena Police Department and the council’s Public Safety Committee have been against civilian oversight, but Councilman John Kennedy — who has been pushing for more oversight — told the Weekly that the latest shooting incident provides the chance for another conversation on the matter.
“Certainly this provides the City Council an opportunity to find out what the facts are regarding oversight,” Kennedy told the Weekly. “There seems to be fear about finding out the facts. Facts are what we need to make a decision up or down. The facts on police oversight have never been objectively or intelligently presented to the City Council.”
Holloway was rushed to Huntington Hospital, where doctors operated to repair a collapsed lung. According to Pasadena Unified School District Board of Education member Mikala Rahn, who taught Holloway at Learning Works, a continuation school which attempts to bring students back into the school district, Holloway was on a breathing tube. A bullet particle is lodged in his spine, she said.
“It has been difficult for the family,” Rahn told the Weekly. “He has a tube down his throat and cannot speak, but he is stable and is expected to survive. He was moving before they did the operation to correct the lung, so they don’t think he is paralyzed. Right now the neurosurgeon is not going to try and remove the bullet from his spine.”
Rahn told the Weekly she agreed with Kennedy’s call for more police oversight.
“I don’t really understand,” she said. “That is not an odd request. It seems to be a natural request that Mr. Kennedy is making. The police do a fine job working with Learning Works, but what’s wrong with oversight?”
The family was allowed to visit Holloway shortly after the incident, but he is in police custody, even though he is in the hospital.
Almost immediately after the shooting, local residents living in Kings Villages began questioning Holloway’s treatment after he was shot.
“Why did they have to handcuff him after he was shot? Where were the paramedics?” asked one woman who did not wish to be named. “They just stood there while he was on the ground in handcuffs.”
Ibarra did confirm the suspect was handcuffed after the shooting, and added that police officers have to make sure that a suspect cannot reach his initial weapon or a secondary firearm. According to Pasadena Fire Department spokesperson Lisa Derderian, dispatch received the initial call at 9:59 a.m. Units arrived on scene two minutes and 13 seconds later, at 10:01 a.m. Holloway was en route to Huntington Hospital at 10:16 a.m. 17 minutes after the initial call went out.