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Locals Bike for Police Oversight

Participants visit sites of five violent police encounters

Published on Monday, August 24, 2020 | 3:00 am

More than 50 people biked about 10 miles on Saturday to demand police oversight.

Cyclists visited the sites of five incidents that have forced local activists to continue to rally for police oversight, including the locations of fatal encounters involving Anthony McClain, Kendrec McDade, and Reginald Thomas, and those of nonfatal incidents involving Christopher Ballew and Margarita Perez.

“Saturday’s bike rally was a sign of unity in our community,” said Brandon Lamar of the NAACP. “Even though we all come from different ethnic backgrounds, we all want to see accountability in our Police Department.

“We went to five stops around the city where people have either been killed or beaten by the Police Department. Going back to these places brings out a lot of emotions, but we have to take those emotions, anger, and feelings and fight for what we need. It was a sign that we still have a lot of work to do. We need police oversight and an independent auditor that brings accountability and transparency to our community,” said Lamar. 

The Pasadena City Council is expected to vote on police oversight on Monday.

The vote and the rally come in the aftermath of the Aug. 15  officer-involved shooting death of 32-year-old McClain.

McClain fled during a traffic stop which prompted a police officer to fire multiple rounds from his weapon.

Police claim McClain pulled a weapon from his waistband as he fled and shifted his body toward police running behind him, prompting the shooting.

Perez said the Police Department is waiting for DNA results and fingerprint evidence on the gun.

McClain and a friend were stopped by police on North Raymond Avenue near La Pintoresca Park just before 8 p.m. on Saturday after police noticed the vehicle did not have a front license plate, police said.

“The bike caravan was a beautiful display of love for black lives and against police aggression,” said local activist Pablo Alvarado. “It was as diverse as our city. We remembered the killings of Kendrec McDade, JR Thomas, Anthony McClain, and the torture of Chris Ballew. and Margarita Perez. We are committed to fight so these abuses do not happen again.”

The council will deliberate at a special meeting Monday on a plan that would allow for the formation of a city commission to oversee local police operations and the hiring of a police auditor.

Critics of the plan claim it has no teeth, and want an independent commission with subpoena power and an independent auditor that does not answer to the city manager.  

“The demand is very clear: a police auditor and a police commission with [unfettered] subpoena powers and the adoption of the community bill of rights,”  Alvarado said. “Our community is united around the demand. There are no fractures of any kind. Now the political class must demonstrate that they can work together to advance racial justice in our city. I hope they are capable of doing the right thing instead of positioning themselves to ensure a political future.”

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