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Public Safety Committee to Interview Seven Community Organization Candidates for Police Oversight Commission Next Week

Published on Wednesday, April 7, 2021 | 7:54 pm

[UPDATED] The Public Safety Committee on Wednesday selected six applicants from the community based applications to come back for interviews next week.

Patrice Marshall McKenzie, Mikala Rahn, Juliana Serrano, Florence Annang, Shoghig Yeprmian, Kenneth Rotter and Alexis Abernathy will make short presentations to the Public Safety Committee publicly sometime next week.

All of the candidates except Rotter are women.

McKenzie, Abernathy and Annang are African American.

Serrano is Latina, and Rahn and Rotter are white.

The City Council is seeking to establish a commission that is 50 percent women.

After presentations next week, three candidates will be recommended to the City Council although the PSC could decide to send more.

“This is a matter of tremendous importance. This is the real first step in the appointment process,” said Mayor Victor Gordo.

Originally the committee was scheduled to make selections based on the applications and send the candidates to the City Council, but Tyron Hampton asked for interviews with the nominations before they were sent to council.

Mayor Gordo and Councilmember Steve Madison agreed with the idea.

“We are looking for fairness and people with a willingness to look at all sides of the issue,” Gordo said. “I think it’s fair to ask questions of the candidates and get a response.”

Local residents have called for citizen oversight of the police department since the early 1990s. After the commission is in place, Pasadena will have more oversight and advisory bodies related to its Police Department than most other departments –

members of local community organizations for the city’s Police Oversight Commission.

City Clerk Mark Jomsky’s office received 31 letters and four public speaker cards.

Marshall McKenzie and Serrano received the majority of the support from that correspondence.

The City Council approved the commission, along with an auditor in October after voting down an alternate version that would have granted the commission subpoena power.

The council moved to provide more civilian oversight in the wake of George Floyd’s death at the hands of a former Minneapolis police Officer Derek Chauvin on May 25, as well as a number of officer-involved deaths in Pasadena over the past several years.

Following Floyd’s death, cities around the country, including Pasadena, erupted in highly emotional protests, marches, and occasional acts of violence.

Chauvin, who was fired following the incident, is presently on trial for Floyd’s murder.

The purpose of the commission, according to the city’s website, “is to enhance, develop, and strengthen community-police relations, and review and make recommendations regarding the ongoing operations of the police department to the chief of police, city manager, and/or city council.”

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