The City Council on Monday is scheduled to hear presentations from applicants vying for three police oversight commissioners from community-based organizations.
Alpha Kappa Alpha’s Patrice Marshall McKenzie, Alexis Abernathy of the Links Altadena/Pasadena chapter, Mikala Rhan on Learning Works, Florence Annang of the NAACP, and Juliana Serrano of All Saints Church will each have two minutes to make their case for a seat on the commission.
If the council approves three commissioners they would join Esprit Jones and Raul Ibanez, who have been appointed by Tyron Hampton and Jessica Rivas, who respectively represent District 1 and District 5.
The remaining City Council members and Mayor Victor Gordo are scheduled to announce their selections at next week’s meeting.
But Monday’s choices could be tough. All of the applicants have served the community.
“I have worked with Learning Works and know what a powerful and positive force it is for the marginalized youth in our community,” said Peggy Stewart in support of Rahn.
Community members have shown support for all of the applicants.
“It is critical that authentic community voices that have the most ties to the people most directly affected by police violence are on this commission to truly make a difference and drive the change that is needed to successfully and safely police everyone in the community,” wrote David Beard in support of McKenzie.
“Based on her commitment to our youth, community service and her dedication to the Pasadena community, we highly recommend Dr. Abernathy for a community-based organization seat on the Pasadena Community Police Oversight Commission,” said L. Charmayne Mills Ealy, president of the Links.
In an email blast, the NAACP called on residents to support Annang.
“We need to demand that the community-based seats on the oversight commission are filled with people of color with crucial lived experience on issues of policing, organizations that have been doing the work of police reform publicly and in the community [and] organization that are based in Pasadena,” the email states.
Serrano is the lone Latina being interviewed on Monday, Annang, McKenzie and Abernathy are Black. Rahn, a former member of the Pasadena Board of Education, is white.
“We must face the harsh reality that policing is not experienced the same way by all the people in Pasadena,” Serrano said when she made a presentation to the Public Safety Committee two weeks ago.
Last week, the council opted to hear from the five candidates despite an earlier vote by its Public Safety Committee unanimously recommending Annang and Serrano. That recommendation called on the council to hear presentations from Abernathy, Rahn and McKenzie.
However, Councilmembers Felicia Williams, Gene Masuda, Hampton and Andy Wilson said they wanted to hear from all five applicants.
This is the first council discussion on oversight since a jury in Minnesota convicted former police officer Derek Chauvin in the murder of George Floyd.
That incident, which sparked protests in cities across the country, including Pasadena, inspired the council to move toward forming an police oversight commission after years of resistance to that idea.