In solidarity with the community groups and members that organized and fought for the Community Police Oversight Committee (CPOC), we call on the Public Safety Committee to ensure that the process for selecting the CPOC members is transparent. The members should be selected according to the following:
All three seats go to people of color as Black and Latinx residents have historically and continue to be the target of racially motivated field IDs, searches, and brutality.
That all three seats be representative of organizations and community groups that are based in Pasadena and are accountable to the community.
That all three seats go to those who have been fighting for greater accountability from law enforcement and for community-based public safety.
The Pasadena City Council and Public Safety Committee are failing to meet the moment and blatantly disregarding the fact that the vote to create the CPOC was passed only after the murder of Anthony McClain, a father, son, friend, former PUSD student, and Pasadena community member. Many community organizations and community members have long been calling for accountability of the Pasadena Police, City Council, and all local government officials. This failure is symptomatic of not having community control of public safety. Meeting these basic selection requirements for the three community-based organization representatives should be the baseline if the community is to be convinced that the CPOC will actually be able to hold PPD accountable.
While it remains to be seen, the CPOC has the potential to bring accountability for community members who have been the targets of police violence though beatings, surveillance, and death. We also understand that it is not a means to an end and that the real work will come from the community. Public safety means being protected from the police as well and this power should not reside with the police, but with the people, thus a deeper critical analysis is needed. Police and the prison systems are inherently racist and anti-Black institutions that uphold white supremacy. They are presented as “solutions” to the complex social problems that are created by generations of inequality, land theft, warfare, and exploitation. Ultimately the work for us in Pasadena and beyond is to abolish these systems by reimagining public safety and building community power to ensure everyone can live and thrive with dignity.
Jose Madera is a member of the Collective of the Roses, a local group of people made up of people who grew up and/or live in Pasadena that have been doing solidarity work with various organizations and groups.