Man Whose Leg Was Broken During Pasadena Police Arrest Still Not Charged by Prosecutors, Almost a Month Later

Published : Thursday, December 7, 2017 | 6:51 AM

Whether the man who suffered a broken leg during his arrest by two Pasadena police officers on November 9 will be charged with any crimes arising from that arrest and incident remained unclear early Thursday morning nearly a month after the traffic stop at a Mobile gas station on Woodbury Road and Fair Oaks Avenue.

A short video of the arrest which emerged on social media has sparked controversy over the police officers use of force. The Pasadena Branch of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP) issued a statement calling the officers’ actions “reprehensible.”

Chris Ballew

Christopher Ballew, via Facebook

In the cellphone video, Christopher Ballew, 21, of Altadena — who was reportedly followed into the gas station by the police officers after they observed him committing “multiple traffic violations” — is seen wrestling with the two as yet unnamed officers for control of a police baton, and then being forced to the ground, punched and struck with the baton, while simultaneously shouting at the officers to stop, as they overpower him and begin to handcuff him on the ground.

According to Ballew, his leg was broken by one or both of the baton strikes to his right leg.

In comments made the following morning, police alleged that Ballew refused to comply with the orders of the officers.

City of Pasadena spokesperson William Boyer said that the City is aware of the incident and it is under review by the police department. Boyer also said that the City is aware of the video, and that too is under review.

“The City and its Police Department take very seriously any allegations of inappropriate conduct by our sworn officers,” Boyer said.

As of Wednesday night, Ballew, who was booked for several misdemeanors and a felony suspicion of assault on a peace officer, has yet to be charged by prosecutors on any counts.

Ballew’s felony case was referred to the Los Angeles County District Attorney’s office, which did not file charges in time for a December 5 arraignment hearing but instead returned the file to the Pasadena City Attorney’s office, likely for consideration of the misdemeanor charges.

A City spokesperson explained Wednesday that it was then discovered the arrest had occurred technically in Altadena and outside of the City of Pasadena, necessitating the return of the case to the L.A. County District Attorney’s office, which manages the charging and prosecuting of all cases which occur in the County.

Wednesday afternoon, Los Angeles County District Attorney’s Office spokesperson Greg Risling confirmed the case is back with County and “is under review.”


Also See: Social Media Video Reportedly Shows Pasadena Police Forceful Arrest in Which Suspect’s Leg was Broken

At City Council’s Monday night meeting, a statement by NAACP Pasadena Branch President Delano Yarborough was read in which he said “the video shows some inhuman treatment of another human being by two Pasadena Police officers.”

“We are here tonight not to go into details of the incident but to share our concern that such treatment continues to be repeated on people of color especially Black males,” Yarborough said. “The NAACP has some questions we want answered by the City of Pasadena and Pasadena Police Chief Phillip Sanchez.”

“The Chief and I are asking for time so that we can review this situation,” City Manager Steve Mermell responded.

Among the questions Yarborough asked was if the NAACP and the public could have access to the video presumably shot by the officers’ Body Worn Cameras.

As of yet, neither the City nor the Pasadena Police Department has made any statements acknowledging the existence or release of footage from the Body Worn Cameras (BWC) on the officers on the night of the incident.

According to Pasadena Police Department policy, Section 450.6, “Not all situations will clearly start out necessitating documentation by the BWC nor will all recorded events have a clear ending for when the BWC is no longer required.”

The policy continues, “The BWC should be activated in all enforcement and investigative contacts, including but not limited to Calls for service,Traffic stops, Pedestrian stops (including member – initiated consensual encounters); Field interviews;Witness and victim interviews (except as noted below in Section 450.8); Detentions, Arrests (including Miranda advisements); Searches (service of warrants, warrantless or consensual searches); Crowd management and control, Canine deployments, Use of force investigations, or any other contact that becomes adversarial after the initial contact in a situation that would not otherwise require recording.”

Earlier this week, Vice-Mayor and Public Safety Committee Chair John Kennedy said he hopes “the City is in a position to release to the public whatever video it may have to advance the policy objective of providing as much transparency as legally possible.”

City officials also have not yet clarified if Ballew was transported to a local hospital for treatment of the broken leg by Pasadena Fire Department paramedics, or by the officers in their patrol car. Ballew will not say, responding that he has hired a lawyer and won’t discuss that issue.

Ballew would not reveal the attorney’s name and said he was instructed not to make any further statements. He asked that any questions regarding the incident be sent to him via email. He has not yet responded to the e-mailed questions.

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