Police Chief, City Manager Expected at Discussion of Investigative Technology Deployed by Pasadena Police

Published : Thursday, November 2, 2017 | 5:51 AM

Pasadena’s Progressive Discussion Group will meet this Friday, November 3 to discuss the issue of the Pasadena Police Department partnering with “people search” company Spokeo in the use of a new investigative online search tool for use by law enforcement agencies.

The discussion will also touch on the early implementation of the data gathering requirement under the Racial Profiling and Identity Act of 2015.

Pasadena Police Chief Phillip Sanchez will be at the meeting, along with Attorney Mohammed Tajsar of the American Civil Liberties Union and Pasadena City Manager Steve Mermell.

Recently, the ACLU wrote the Pasadena Police Department urging it to “end its relationship” with Spokeo and asked it not to use aggregated social media data collected from Pasadena residents.

In the letter dated October 17, Tajsar wrote that the law doesn’t allow the police to keep files including “Facebook posts, tweets, Instagram postings, real estate records, and voter registration information,” on Pasadena residents.

He also believes the police “shouldn’t access the same comprehensive and sensitive information through a private company. The city’s use of Spokeo for Law Enforcement raises serious risks of privacy and civil rights violations by the Pasadena Police Department, especially for the city’s over-policed communities of color.”

The police department has not directly responded publicly to Tajsar’s letter, but City Public Information Officer William Boyer has acknowledged the city has “a working relationship with Spokeo.

Friday’s discussion is expected to touch upon Assembly Bill 953, the Racial and Identity Profiling Act of 2015, which requires California police departments to collect data on racial or other identity attributes (gender, perceived sexual orientation, language, disabled status, students) of the civilians with whom police have contacts. It also requires police departments to detail the outcomes of the contacts (e.g., searches, arrests, citations, types of physical contact, etc.). The data gathered will allow analysis of the extent to which outcomes from police contacts with civilians occur evenly between racial groups or whether the outcomes are biased against minorities.

Friday’s Progressive Discussion Group meeting will be from 9 to 10 a.m. in the back room of Du-Par’s Restaurant and Bakery, located at 214 S Lake Avenue in Pasadena.

The Progressive Discussion Group is a Pasadena-based political thought incubator that meets the first and third Fridays of every month to discuss a designated topic. Meetings are open to anyone wanting to attend.

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