A Pasadena teenager who brawled with police officers in 2004 and then later shocked the community when he spoke favorably about law enforcement, even while fighting with authorities in court, will do no jail time provided he complete an anger management course and community service.
The Weekly has learned that Carlton Crayton, 19, pled no contest in December to disturbing the peace and resisting arrest.
Authorities originally charged Crayton with three felony charges of assault on a peace officer, battery on a peace officer and resisting an officer. He was also charged with an additional misdemeanor count of battery on a peace officer for his part in a brawl between Pasadena Police Officers and Crayton and his then teenage foster brothers, Michael Miller and James Patton.
The boys were hanging out on El Sereno Avenue in Northwest Pasadena and, according to police reports, fled when they saw officers approaching.
The teens and police brawled on Fair Oaks Avenue, and each side claiming they were the victim of the attack.
According to a report filed by police officers, the soft spoken, lanky teenager straddled the chest of one of the officers and repeatedly punched him in the head before another officer came to his rescue and pushed Crayton off of him.
Many neighbors in the area agreed that the teens were mistreated. However, when the time came time to testify, many of those same people were cautious about appearing in court and did not testify on their behalf.
“Out of 25 people, only three witnesses were willing to testify,” said Crayton.
“They offered me a deal of 12 weeks anger management, no jail time and 30 days of Caltrans. It was better than all the rest of the deals they offered me. They were trying to put me in jail.”
Patton was exonerated and Miller was found guilty of lesser charges. Crayton has completed the anger management portion of his sentence and has almost completed his Caltrans service. There is a chance that his record will be expunged.
Crayton said the experience taught him a lesson.
“I learned to try and be occupied and watch your surroundings and limit the people that you kick it with,” he said. “Large groups are not cool. You need to have something positive to do, and don’t just get up every day and hang out at the park. If you are going to do that, volunteer at the park. I wasn’t really doing anything with my life. I was just hanging on the corner every day.
“I don’t feel angry about what happened or what I went through. It happened for a reason. Everything that happens, happens for a reason,” he said.
In May, Crayton showed up unexpectedly at a Day of Reconciliation meeting at All Saints Church. At that meeting, Pasadena Police Chief Bernard Melekian opened the meeting with an apology to the community for past indiscretions by the department toward African Americans, shocking many in the audience.
Crayton, who was an uninvited guest, supported Melekian’s efforts at reconciliation and stressed that residents needed to be aware that they can sometimes create problems when it comes to dealing with police officers.
Crayton was asked to submit an application to the department for a youth spokesperson position. He filled out the application and has yet to hear back.
In the meantime, Crayton said he was enjoying his current job of doing electrical repair work. He plans to return to Pasadena City College this summer to study veterinary medicine.