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Pasadena NAACP Calls for Investigation into Fire Chief Washington’s Reassignment

Published on Thursday, February 20, 2020 | 4:19 pm

On Thursday, the NAACP called for an investigation into the reassignment of Bertral Washington to City Manager Steve Mermell’s office.

Chief Washington was reassigned to the City Manager’s office last Thursday to perform work on the city’s Wireless Emergency Alert (WEA) program.

Some residents claim Washington was moved to the City Manager’s office after allegedly being placed on administrative leave in January.

The city has not confirmed Washington was placed on administrative leave and cannot discuss the issue due to state laws that prohibit the public discussion of personnel records.

“On Monday, February 10th, it was made known on record that Pasadena’s City Manager Steve Mermell suspiciously reassigned Chief Bertral Washington without notifying portions of City Council members and/or Public Safety committee members before taking such aggressive actions,” said NAACP President Allen Edson in a statement. “It has also been reported to the NAACP by local sources of workplace harassment of Chief Washington by the Pasadena Firefighters Association.”

According to Edson, “The Pasadena NAACP membership is extremely disappointed with the lack of transparency and the lack of empathy for all of the community of Pasadena. Mermell’s decision-making on public safety has come [in]to question.”

Edson called on Mermell to reinstate Washington until an investigation shows cause for removal.

According to Edson, the NAACP will continue to call-to-rally members and community allies to attend Pasadena City Council’s meetings to stress their concerns and contact their local, state, and federal representatives on a regular basis until a fair and unbiased investigation has taken action.

“If Mermell did not consult with or was advised by the Public Safety committee, who did he consult with?” asked the NAACP membership.

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