October 15, 2020
On Saturday, October 3, 2020 at approximately 1:40 pm, a white male South Pasadena resident, Richard Cheney drove his Ram 1800 truck across opposing traffic and onto the sidewalk on the southwest corner of Fair Oaks and Mission. His dangerous maneuver crossed three lanes of opposing traffic, with his vehicle coming to rest, just short of a foot away from the metal barrier in front of Starbucks, nearly hitting Black Lives Matter protestors. Fortunately, the protestors and nearby pedestrians were not hurt. Cheney was also heard yelling from his open window, “So, you’re gonna keep putting those signs up?” Police were called by several witness. The watch commander who never came to the scene and the supervisor on duty who arrived after witnesses were interviewed, both came to the conclusion that they would not arrest or cite Cheney without providing any logical explanation or report number. Despite eyewitness accounts and videos documenting what happened, no arrests were made, and no citations were given. The South Pasadena Police Department has since issued a statement on October 3, 2020 that “[t]he case will be presented to the District Attorney for filing considerations.” No police report has been made available as of 10/15/20.
Concerned residents and community members of South Pasadena condemn this violent and dangerous act. There has been repeated inaction and lack of accountability of the South Pasadena Police Department to protect and serve the community, particularly for marginalized community members that include Black and Latinx residents. During a time when protesters rightfully exercise their First Amendment right to free speech and peaceful assembly to support Black lives, across the country we have witnessed horrible incidents of counter-protestors who retaliate by driving their vehicles through crowds to intentionally harm Black Lives Matter supporters. What happened on the afternoon of October 3, echoes the intent of these egregious acts, and what is not acceptable is that there were no consequences whatsoever for Richard Cheney, before he was escorted to his vehicle to leave.
More importantly, the incident involving Richard Cheney is by no means an isolated incident. Fahren James, one of the founders of the Black Lives Matter movement in South Pasadena, has already been assaulted while protesting at Fair Oaks and Mission. This past July, Joe Richcreek, a career criminal who has been arrested over 30 times and prosecuted 20 times, yelled and spat on her and on the face of another protestor while holding a rock in one hand and a double-sided sharpened drummer’s stick under his arm. On August 30, 2020, Zane Crumley, a Black Lives Matter protestor was attacked by Michael Plough, a 41 year-old white
male resident of South Pasadena, and his wife Jane Mi, a 42 year-old female Asian resident of South Pasadena on the 110 block of El Centro Street. The couple accused Crumley of disturbing the peace while he played music in support of the Black Lives Matter movement, and they assaulted him, breaking his laptop and his tooth. We believe that Fahren James and Black Lives Matter protestors have become a target for local vigilantes and is an example of how systemic racism has impeded justice. We are deeply concerned for the safety of Fahren James and Black Lives Matter protestors and support their right to peaceful protest, as this now marks the fourth incident. It is absolutely crucial that community members are not endangered and have their right to free speech protected.
On December 21, 2016, South Pasadena adopted Resolution 7491, a resolution of the City Council of the city of South Pasadena, California, affirming the city of South Pasadena’s commitment to diversity and to safeguarding the civil rights, safety and dignity of all of our residents. South Pasadena community members want to see a real demonstration to exercise this resolution now and an investigation of Police Chief Ortiz and police practices in the department.
A press conference will be held on Wednesday, October 21 at 11:00 am in front of the South Pasadena Police Department on 1422 Mission Street, South Pasadena, CA 91030
The following community organizations support Black Lives Matter protestors and the press conference:
Anti Racism Committee (South Pasadena)
Black Lives Matter South Pasadena (@BlackLivesMatterSouthPasadena )
Care First Group (South Pasadena)
South Pasadena Youth for Police Reform
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