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Police Oversight Commission to Hold its First Meeting on Tuesday

Published on Thursday, October 21, 2021 | 2:11 pm

The city’s Police Oversight Commission will hold its first meeting via Zoom at 6 p.m. Tuesday.

The first meeting of the 11-member commission will include remarks by City Manager Steve Mermell and Mayor Victor Gordo.

The meeting will also include presentations regarding general meeting process from Independent Police Auditor Brian Maxey. Maxey will also serve as a best-practices adviser to the commission. City Attorney Michele Beal Bagneris will also make a presentation.

The commission will also take up general organizational matters such as selecting a chair and a vice-chair and setting the regular meeting day and time.

The commission cannot take up cases that are being investigated by the city or the Police Department.

Also, the commission will be required to obey all personnel laws.

Last month, commission members said it is still unclear what role the citizen board will play and how it will operate.

Calls for a civilian police oversight commission date back to the early 1990s after the acquittal of the four LAPD officers who beat up Altadena’s Rodney King in 1992 sparked the LA riots.

After the riots, local residents Meta McCullough and Karen Hooks Roon led the calls for a civilian oversight commission, but those calls fell on deaf ears at City Hall.

One year later, the officer-involved death of popular local barber Michael Bryant, who was killed following a police pursuit, reignited the debate.

The issue returned after the officer-involved deaths of Maurice Clark and LaMont Robinson, who died 10 days apart in officer-involved incidents in 2004.

The issue came back for debate in 2012 following the officer-involved shooting death of 19-year-old Kendrec McDade.

Ironically, an incident outside of Pasadena proved to be a watershed moment.

Like the police beating of Rodney King, the death of Minnesota motorist George Floyd forced many white residents to acknowledge police enforcement issues existed around the country and finally moved the Pasadena City Council to approve a police oversight commission and an independent police auditor.

The Pasadena council unanimously voted to create the Commission by ordinance in October 2020. The purpose of the commission is to “enhance, develop, and strengthen community-police relations and review and make recommendations regarding the ongoing operations of the police department.”

The agenda for the meeting was expected to be posted on Thursday.

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