Pasadena police officials on Tuesday said there has been an increasing number of calls for service at a park and a nearby memorial dedicated to a man shot and killed by an officer.
According to police, officers have been called to La Pintoresca Park and a nearby memorial for Anthony McClain 40 times since McClain was fatally shot during a traffic stop on Aug. 15, including one incident on Sept. 5 in which a woman was pistol-whipped by an unknown assailant.
Pasadena Police Lt. William Grisafe said the park will close at 10 p.m. and police will enforce laws at the location and in the surrounding areas.
The 10 p.m. closing time is not a curfew, but the closing time of all city parks. According to Grisafe, there are currently no plans to increase patrols in the area.
“We support the memorial and we want to allow the friends and family members who wish to remember Mr. McClain,” said Police Chief John Perez. “But as the police chief, I have an obligation to enforce any criminal behavior associated with the memorial to protect those residents who are negatively impacted. The Police Department’s efforts this week will be to separate the criminal activity and our support for the memorial.”
According to Grisafe, last weekend police received additional calls about a large group that had gathered and were being disruptive. After police arrived, the crowd became agitated and berated the police. No arrests were made.
According to local Pastor Kerwin Manning, the police are singling out the area.
“There has been an increase in crime around our city as a whole. To name La Pintoresca Park without naming the other areas is exactly why there is a serious disconnect between the city, PPD, and the community,” Manning said. “I know firsthand that there has been no violence at the Anthony McClain memorial. It’s an incomplete statement at the least and a dishonest narrative that the lieutenant and others are promoting in an attempt to minimize their failure to connect with the community at the park. Several other churches and I have done that by bringing the church to the community.
“I camped out for two weeks straight from 5 p.m. to 11 p.m. to connect and provide a ministry of presence and support to a grieving, traumatized community. I would suggest that those city officials charged with the responsibility of engagement and connecting with our residents do so.”
According to Grisafe, police are not singling out the area and are responding to calls for service from residents in the area.
Police said the majority of the calls have included issues with large groups congregating, cars parked in the middle of the street, drinking, smoking marijuana, the loud playing of music, loud talking, physical fights, reports of gunfire, and other quality of life issues late at night that are disturbing the peace of local residents.
“Since the memorial is directly across from the park, it is difficult to separate which are specific to the memorial as the calls overlap with each other,” Grisafe said.
A police officer fatally shot McClain on Aug. 15 after the 32-year-old Pasadena resident fled on foot during a traffic stop soon after stepping out of the passenger side of the vehicle he was riding in.
Police say McClain had a weapon which prompted the officer to open fire. McClain’s DNA was later found on a gun found at the scene.
Some local activists have claimed McClain was unarmed. So far, family members have filed three separate claims against the city and the department regarding the shooting,
Almost immediately after the shooting, a crowd in La Pintoresca Park confronted the officers who Perez said were there to protect the nearby incident scene on North Raymond Avenue.
The tense situation took a turn for the worse when several people began approaching and threatening officers.
In video footage released by the city, one man can be seen walking up to police officers and pounding his fist into his open palm.
After he appeared to approach an officer and allegedly threatened to knock him out, a nearby sergeant deployed his Taser weapon and shot the man with two electrically charged darts, knocking him to the ground. Police then arrested the man, identified as Tryon Glover, 27.
After Glover collapsed to the ground, the crowd surged forward and police officers used pepper spray to keep people at a distance.
The night after the shooting, a large group once again gathered at the park to hold a vigil following a demonstration earlier that day. Police declared the protest an unlawful assembly around midnight, but shortly before midnight tensions escalated and several people hurled rocks and bottles at officers.
Police declared the assembly illegal. One man, identified only as Kevin Senelus, was arrested on suspicion of making criminal threats. One officer was injured but did not need medical attention.