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Police Auditor Says Police Adhered to Policy in Shooting But Says Administrative Review Took Too Long

Published on Tuesday, February 20, 2024 | 3:43 pm

The City’s police auditor said police acted in concert with policy during a 2019 officer-involved shooting of a heavily armed man wearing body armor was shot and killed in 2019.

But he took the Police Department to task over the length of time it took to complete an administrative review of the matter.

The incident began shortly after 6:30 p.m. on May 17, 2019, after police responded to calls of a man with a gun on Glen Avenue near Howard Street.

When police arrived, Daniel Warren, 36, yelled at the officers and pointed a rifle at them.

Police opened fire, and Warren retreated behind a house where he was later found dead from a gunshot wound. Law enforcement officials were at first unsure if Warren was killed by police gunfire or committed suicide. Several days later, coroner officials determined Warren was fatally shot by police.

Investigators recovered a rifle with a large capacity drum-style magazine and a handgun nearby. According to sheriff’s deputies, Warren fired at least one round before retreating.

Then-Police Chief John Perez released the body-worn camera footage of the incident.

But a full four years passed before the officers were cleared of wrongdoing.

The District Attorney announced that the involved officers would not face any criminal charges on May 25, 2023, just a few days after the four-year anniversary of the incident.

While appearing before the City Council in 2022, Interim Police Chief Cheryl Moody said that according to city policy, local detectives respond to the scene immediately after an officer-involved shooting and begin a criminal investigation and notify the District Attorney’s office. Investigators from the District Attorney’s office may arrive at the scene. Once the detectives’ case is completed, it is submitted to the District Attorney for a determination on the legality of the shooting.

The city’s administrative investigation is deferred until the District Attorney’s investigation is completed and all civil litigation matters resolved.

“While I concur that the shooting of Mr. Warren does appear to have been within policy and justified based on both criminal and administrative standards, and while I also applaud the Department for conducting a comprehensive review of the incident, I have identified several issues and concerns relating to the investigation and administrative review of this incident,” wrote Pasadena Independent Police Auditor Richard Rosenthal in a memo to Police Chief Eugene Harris.

According to Rosenthal, the delay in the administrative investigation and review of the incident negatively impacted the Police Department’s ability to learn from the incident and provide critical feedback to the involved employees.

“This case highlights the need for the Department to conduct timely administrative investigations of all officer-involved critical incidents.”

Warren was arrested twice by Pasadena police before the fatal encounter.

On March 23, 2019, after holding officers at bay for more than two hours in the city’s Playhouse District when he refused to come out of his car. In that incident, police were called to Oak Knoll Avenue at East Colorado Boulevard at 10:09 a.m. after a caller reported a man littered and urinated on the property, according to Pasadena Now.

After officers arrived, they found Warren and a woman sitting in a car inside the parking structure at an apartment complex.

Things intensified after police discovered there was a warrant for Warren’s arrest for an assault charge. An armored vehicle was called to the scene, and Warren was taken into custody without incident.

He was scheduled to appear in court this Thursday, May 23, on assault by means likely to produce great bodily injury and battery causing serious bodily injury, according to court records.

Warren was arrested again by Pasadena police on May 9 on suspicion of committing battery on a peace officer. He was scheduled to be arraigned in that case on June 3.

“In this case, the District Attorney did not issue his conclusion that the involved officers would not face any criminal charges until May 25, 2023, just a few days after the four-year anniversary of the incident,” Rosenthal said. “Although the Police Department immediately initiated its administrative investigation of the incident upon receipt of that decision, the amount of time that had passed led to an ultimate untimely adjudication of the case.”

“We thank Dr. Rosenthal for his review of this incident. The Pasadena Police Department is committed to continuous improvement in all aspects of policing,” said Chief Harris. “Dr. Rosenthal’s reports are an integral part of our ongoing efforts to implement best practices for the community we serve.”

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