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Vice Mayor Changes Position, Calls for Civilian Advisory Board for Police

Published on Tuesday, December 17, 2013 | 5:26 am

[Updated Tuesday, Dec. 17, 2013 | 10:45 a.m.]  After hitting only resistance for months with his fellow Council members, Councilmember John Kennedy heard Vice Mayor Jacque Robinson echo his position in advocating for consideration of a citizen advisory body to monitor the Pasadena Police Department at Monday’s Public Safety Committee meeting.

In previous comments, Robinson had said the Public Safety Committee suffices as an oversight board and she did not believe there was an “appetite” to consider Kennedy’s request for the study of a citizen oversight board.

However, on Monday Robinson reversed course and asked that a similar item be placed on a future agenda.

Without request by Kennedy or members of the public present who had previously requested public oversight, Robinson suggested considering a regular citizen body to review police activities at the end of the committee meeting.

“I do think there is a place for a citizen advisory commission, for lack of a better term, but I do think we should consider some type of ongoing citizen advisory group that works together with the chief or the Public Safety Committee on an ongoing basis, not just in response to community crisis. I’ve had a brief discussion with you, Chief [Sanchez], about that and hopefully that’s something we can consider in the coming months,” Robinson said.

Kennedy backed Robinson in later comments by stating that the Public Safety Committee may not be providing sufficient police oversight as they have several other public safety issues to look after in their one-hour monthly meetings.
At Monday’s meeting the committee had asked Police Chief Phillip Sanchez to give a presentation about the process of reviewing officer involved shootings.
Several members of the public along with Councilmembers questioned Chief Sanchez about the need for an independent review of the most recent officer involved shooting of Paris Holloway. The officer involved shooting prior to Holloway resulted in the death of Kendrec McDade and was independently reviewed by two bodies.
“Without an Office of Independent Review of the Holloway incident, we are left to take the judgment of Chief Sanchez, and its not warranted. The Police department overseeing itself doesn’t build community trust,” Kris Ockershauser of the ACLU said.
The Chief divulged that the Holloway shooting had not resulted in a death and he therefore did not submit a request to the Office of Independent Review.
“The McDade matter and the Holloway matter are apples and oranges,” Sanchez said.
Kennedy asked to continue the discussion at the next Public Safety Committee meeting that the issue not be put off too long.
“These are serious issues, this is a serious matter we are discussing tonight we need to allocate the proper amount of time to have the discussion with our police chief and we don’t need to put that off. The community has questions,” Kennedy said.

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