Community Calling for Independent Investigation of SPPD

(SOURCE: Tiger Newspaper)

November 18, 2020

Sent via email: Please read this comment aloud at the City Council meeting on November 18, 2020

Dear Mayor Joe and Councilmembers: 

The signatories of this letter are writing today to express our deep concern for the pattern of behavior that has been observed of the South Pasadena Police Department in response to intolerant, violent, and egregious acts toward community members advocating for Black lives and other causes that question our city government’s relationships with citizens belonging to marginalized communities. We are demanding that the City Council enlist an unbiased third party to launch a formal investigation into allegations of bias present in the city’s Police Department. This is the second request of a similar nature, the first of which was submitted on October 2, 2020 by Care First South Pasadena with 21 other local organizations as signatories. 

This demand is being restated after yet more inaction in response to a protest instigated by mostly non-community members that escalated to violence. On Sunday, November 1, a crowd of roughly 350 people wielding Trump/Pence flags, hats, and maskless faces gathered on the corner of Fair Oaks and Mission. The gathering, in violation of several COVID-19 safety guidelines issued by federal, state, and local officials, was accompanied by a table selling merchandise for which there was no permit issued.

South Pasadena has heralded itself as a town of diversity, inclusivity, and acceptance, so in response to these individuals (most of whom were not members of the South Pasadena community) many members of the community came together to demonstrate their denouncement of the hatred, bigotry, and authoritarianism for which the crowd was demonstrating their support. In response, the pro-Trump crowd employed insults, xenophobic rhetoric, and physical violence against members of our community. 

A 16-year-old was assaulted by the pro-Trump protesters. According to her testimony, the violence was instigated by the individuals illegally selling merchandise on the public sidewalk. The disgusting and horrific act of violence was met by inaction on the part of the South Pasadena police officers present. This inaction is documented by the first person accounts of several counter protesters who were present. Police officers were present at the scene of the assault and saw the escalation of events, and at no point did they step in to deescalate the situation. In fact, police officers were seen helping guide traffic around the pro-Trump protesters and giving high fives to protesters. If the police were there to facilitate a peaceful environment for protest, why was there no intervention when violence broke out? 

This incident, as concerning as it is in its own right, is a pattern of behavior by the South Pasadena Police Department. There have been several incidents at which the Police Department has been present and has not taken action against perpetrators of violence or incidents in which the police have been the perpetrators of bigotry themselves:

  • The assaults (plural!) of Black Lives Matter protesters Fahren James and Victoria Patterson in July of this year
  • The assault of a protester by a couple which resulted in destruction of property and physical harm
  • The threatening and illegal action of driving onto the curb at Fair Oaks and Mission to instigate debate with Black Lives Matter protesters
  • The police sponsored publicity of a prayer event on city property held by a white supremecist, anti-LGBTQIA+ group 

This repeated inaction, delay of action, and lack of genuine, complete, transparent responses to justify said inaction warrants the need for a third party, unbiased investigation into the operations of the South Pasadena Police Department. The signatories of this letter demand this action by the City Council so that we can actualize a police department that properly protects all of the residents of this city. 

Sources:

Ben Tansey & Eric Fabbro, “Trump Rally Goers Pay a Visit to South Pasadena | Assault Charges Follow.” The South Pasadenan, November 2, 2020. https://southpasadenan.com/trump-rally-goers-pay-a-visit-to-south-pasadena-assault-charges-follow/

“Resolution of Diversity: South Pasadena City Resolution No. 7491,” City of South Pasadena, December 21, 2016. https://www.southpasadenaca.gov/government/departments/city-clerk/resolution-of-diversity

Alejandra Reyes-Velarde, “Teenager says Trump supporter assaulted her in South Pasadena.” Los Angeles Times, November 6, 2020. https://www.latimes.com/california/story/2020-11-06/girl-and-trump-supporters-press-charges-against-each-other

Tansey & Fabbro; Ava Dunville, “Letter to the Editor | ‘Concerns About City Response to Trump Rally,’” The South Pasadenan, November 3, 2020. https://southpasadenan.com/letter-to-the-editor-concerns-about-city-response-to-trump-rally/ 

Victoria Patterson, “Letter to the Editor | ‘I Speak as an Ally,’” The South Pasadenan, August 17, 2020. 

 “Arrest Made in Attack on Protester on Sunday,” The South Pasadenan, August 31, 2020. https://southpasadenan.com/arrest-made-in-attack-on-protester-on-sunday/

Eric Fabbro, “Man Drives Truck onto Sidewalk ‘Dangerously Close’ to Black Lives Matter Protestors & Starbucks Customers on Fair Oaks,” The South Pasadenan, October 9, 2020. https://southpasadenan.com/man-drives-truck-onto-sidewalk-dangerously-close-to-black-lives-matter-protestors-starbucks-customers/

 Ben Tansey, “Police Chief Ortiz Takes More Heat Over Cancelled Prayer Event,” The South Pasadenan, October 8, 2020. https://southpasadenan.com/police-chief-ortiz-takes-more-heat-over-prayer-event/

Will Hoadley-Brill, “The Unintended Harm of Chief Ortiz’s ‘Error in Judgement,’” Anti-Racism Committee of South Pasadena, September 26, 2020. https://arcsouthpasadena.org/2020/09/26/the-unintended-harm-of-chief-ortizs-error-in-judgment/

Signed, 

  1. Will Hoadley-Brill 
  2. Victoria Patterson 
  3. Gretchen Schulz 
  4. Caitlin Lainoff
  5. Aliza Rood
  6. Phung Huynh
  7. David Beadle
  8. Nichole Dunville
  9. Chris Smith
  10. Jacinta Lincke
  11. Linda Krausen
  12. Julia Moreno Perri
  13. Minerva Garcia 
  14. Becky Rios
  15. Stefani Williams 
  16. Ava Dunville
  17. Noah Kuhn 
  18. Ava Feldman
  19. Ellis Cho
  20. Ayaka Nakaji
  21. Atticus Blatt
  22. Finlay Allardice 
  23. Sadie Metcalfe
  24. Travis Dunville
  25. Melissa Payne
  26. Alex Payne
  27. William Payne
  28. Coleen Santos
  29. Dominic Frescura
  30. Laura Parada
  31. Ryan McWilliams 
  32. Ian Marshall
  33. Jan Marshall
  34. Richard Marshall
  35. Dan Parada 
  36. Krissy Parada 
  37. Ella Hushagen
  38. Janelle Li
  39. Jacqueline Li
  40. Gabrielle Beauvais 
  41. Hector Ornelas 
  42. Charlotte Cohen
  43. Amy Betts 
  44. Ken Betts
  45. Charlie Betts 
  46. Jillian Goldstein 
  47. Brenda Blatt
  48. Deborah English
  49. Danielle Ashton 
  50. Jade Gomez
  51. Ruby Mullen 
  52. Robin Becker
  53. Chris Becker
  54. Jeremy Becker 
  55. Alexandra Ramirez
  56. Jennifer Parker-Stanton
  57. Sanders Stanton
  58. Robert Parker 
  59. Richard LaBrie
  60. Carol LaBrie
  61. Logan Bishop
  62. Mitch Loflin 
  63. David Melford
  64. Audrey Biggar
  65. Fahren James
  66. London Lang
  67. Helga Kuhn
  68. Elana Mann
  69. Veronica Carrizales
  70. Anne Bagasao
  71. Grace Dennis
  72. Thom Rivera
  73. Johnavaolos Rios
  74. Tony Butka 
  75. Dr. Paula Bagasao-Butka 
  76. Ciena Valenzuela-Petersen 
  77. Oliver Wang
  78. Karin Saric
  79. Bella Evans
  80. Rose McCullough
  81. Anna McCurdy
  82. Steve Zikman
  83. Jacqueline Heinze 
  84. Carly Curiel
  85. Kamren Curiel
  86. Josh Bernal
  87. Priscilla Curiel 
  88. Rachael Noji
  89. Shawna Noji
  90. Linik Noji
  91. Calvin Noji
  92. Max Yueh
  93. Leo Barrera
  94. Danzy Senna 
  95. Percival Everett
  96. Fanny Howe
  97. Marjorie Menza
  98. Chris Patterson
  99. Ry Patterson
  100. Cole Patterson
  101. Esteban Vara
  102. James Tulin
  103. Max Garcia 
  104. Holly Cardone
  105. Trudy Penland
  106. David D’Andrade 
  107. Drew Tager
  108. Care First South Pasadena
  109. Robyn Nedelcu
  110. Anthony LeBeau
  111. Melinda LaBrie
  112. Jonathan Oyaga
  113. William Kelly 
  114. Lauren Flemming
  115. Vanessa Flores
  116. Silvia Flores
  117. David Flores
  118. Francisco Flores
  119. Alise Gutierrez
  120. Robert Kelly
  121. Kelley Foster
  122. Owen Ellickson 
  123. Caroline Quinn
  124. Pocha Pena
  125. James DeSimone
  126. Amy Davis Jones
  127. Chris Vasquez
  128. Hailey Bugg
  129. Aaron Salines
  130. Joseph Haynes
  131. Ben Carlton
  132. Shauna Williams
  133. James Decker
  134. Bob Davis
  135. Tommy Works
  136. Olivia Kim
  137. Jim DiSimone Esq. 
  138. Jessica Bradford 
  139. Ixchel Carrizales De Lara
  140. Jayden Kemanian
  141. Jackson Baughm
  142. Jung Hee Choi 
  143. John Kim
  144. Joey Williams
  145. Anh Hoang
  146. Juan De Lara

The ARC Community Board is meant to be a collaborative community space. If you are interested in having something posted here, please email arc.southpasadena@gmail.com.

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