Residents from two of the city’s minority-dominant City Council districts turned in the fewest applications for the city’s Police Oversight Commission.
Just nine residents in District 3 and 10 residents in District 1 applied for the 11-member body, both districts that have high Black and Latino populations.
Minority populations report more negative interactions with the police.
One of the council’s stated goals is to seat a commission made up of communities most impacted by encounters with the police.
In total, the city received 87 applications.
District 6 had the most applications, as 24 people living in the affluent West Pasadena district, which is represented by Steve Madison, turned in papers, including former PCC Trustee Geoff Baum, freelance reporter Justin Chapman and attorney Tamerlin Godley, who unsuccessfully ran against Madison in the last election.
In District 4, represented by Gene Masuda, 18 people applied for the commission, including local activist Patrice Marshall McKenzie.
Fifteen people living in District 5, a largely Latino district, also applied. Councilmember Jessica Rivas held online interviews in March and has requested feedback from local residents on the applicants.
13 people applied in District 2, and 11 in District 7, including Jon Fuhrman and Juliana Serrano.
The lack of applicants in minority communities does not necessarily mean the commission will not be diverse.
In that pool. six of the 13 applicants are Black women, one is a Latina, one is a Black man and one is an Armenian American woman.
Three applicants are white men and one white woman has applied.
Esprit Loren Jones has been seated on the commission in District 1, which is represented by Tyron Hampton.
The Council’s Public Safety Committee is due to select commissioners from three community organizations at 4 p.m., today. Hampton and Kennedy both sit on the City Council’s Public Safety Committee.
Councilmember John Kennedy has pushed for oversight since he was first elected in 2013, but was unable to garner enough support until the officer-involved death of Black Minnesota motorist George Floyd.
“The pool of commission applicants we have to choose from represents a wealth of knowledge, diversity, and a level of engagement that is exciting to me,” Hampton said.
“It excites me because we have an opportunity to make positive strides that reflect the beliefs and values of our local community.”
The selections will be recommended to the City Council and a final decision will be made on April 19.
The selections come on the heels of an announcement by Police Chief John Perez that two police officers that left an Altadena motorist with a broken leg during a violent encounter would remain with the department.
Christopher Ballew was arrested at a gas station in Altadena on Nov. 9, 2017, by officers Zachary Lujan and Lerry Esparza for allegedly resisting arrest and assaulting a police officer after being stopped for driving without a front license plate and excessive window tint on his late-model Mercedes sedan.
In the course of the altercation, Ballew was struck on the head several times with fists and on the legs with a metal baton. His head was also rammed into the asphalt. He suffered a broken leg bone and multiple contusions during the arrest, a portion of which was captured by a passerby on a cell phone and later posted to Facebook.
After the incident had become public, Pasadena City Manager Steve Mermell released footage captured by the body cameras worn by the officers.
Ballew was released on $50,000 bail. However, the LA County District Attorney’s Office later declined to charge Ballew with any crimes. No charges were filed against the officers.
“Do I think that we have a great police department? I do,” Hampton said. “I believe our police department does a great job based on their training. I also believe that we need a fresh approach and that we need to look at training differently.”
Hampton referenced Ballew and the officer-involved deaths of JR Thomas and Anthony McClain.
“I think PPD needs to put more emphasis on de-escalating situations. I believe all city employees, including police officers, should be held accountable for any wrongdoing. No one being held accountable for the beating of a person in restraints which led to a death is unacceptable. The breaking of a person’s leg while claiming they were resisting, but knowing as a human being, it is hard not to flinch when experiencing physical pain cannot be tolerated.”
“Shooting a fleeing person in the back twice is not ok. These are all examples of acts that have occurred in the recent past. City employees that work for our police department in these acts that are out of policy and are unacceptable to me. The community is asking for accountability. Authentic and meaningful accountability. It’s simple, and it’s clear. This is what the community is requesting. If all employees are truly held accountable, including those in our police department, I believe there will be fewer of these incidents.”
“If PPD holds community members accountable for adhering to policies and laws, they too, like any city employees should be held to the same standard.”
“I realize the road to consistent and authentic accountability won’t be an easy one to travel. But with more eyes on the situation, I’m hopeful and excited about the change that will come.”
Here is a complete list of the applicants, including residents that filed through a community organization.
Pattyl Aposhian Kasparian
Derric J. Johnson
Esprit Loren Jones
Donald R. Matthews
Mikala L. Rahn, Ph.D. – Public Works/Learning Works
Alexis Abernethy, Ph.D. – The Links, Pasadena-Altadena Chapter
James J. Aragon
Phillip J. Argento
Leslie Anne Caldwell
John W. Hazlet, Jr.
Steven M. Olivas
Kenneth Rotter – San Gabriel Valley LGBTQ Center
Paul T. Stephenson
A. Diane Askew, Ph.D.
Nicholas Caleb Benson
Elona C. Jackson-Hinton
Gloria O. Oduyoye, Esq. – District OR Org Seat – Oduyoye Institute for Fair Police Reporting
Jasmine Richards – Black Lives Matter Pasadena
Julia Nancy Bailey, Ph.D.
Vincent De Stefano
John H. Doyle II
Patrice Marshall McKenzie – Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority, Inc. Eta Lambda Omega Chapter
Jamie Wright, Esq.
Shoghig Yepremian – Armenian National Committee of America
Florence Annang – NAACP/Pasadena Branch
Gabriel Ceja, Sr., Esq.
Joshua D. Cowing – Salvation Army
Melissa Jean Garcia
Laura H. Hackney
Cynthia Marie Kirby – Union Station Homeless Services Beatriz Martinez Sanchez
Valerie A. Marz
Gloria G. Medel
Robert M. Nelson, Ph.D.
Cheryl L. Taplin
Michael W. Warner
Juan Pablo Alban, Esq.
Velton Ray Bunch
Richard Cole, M.D.
Avram Dean Gold
Alfred John Grantham
Brandon Kruhm – Westridge School
Linda M. Lasley
Scott H. Richland
Daniel P. Ryan
Curtis R. Silvers, Jr. – Brotherhood Crusade
Paula Verrette, M.D.
Mario A. Fernandez
John A. Latta
Michele C. Nielsen, Esq.
Juliana Serrano – All Saints Church