Friday, August 7, 2009

Officer Amos Returns To Duty

" A police officer who shot and wounded a man sleeping in the back of a stolen SUV in January has returned to full-time duty, Police Chief Marilyn Diaz said Wednesday." PSN 8/05/09

So here's a story that has been simmering at pretty much the rumor level for quite some time. It deals with Sierra Madre Police Officer Henry Amos and the shooting of what apparently was a napping unarmed civilian. And now, after an SMPD investigation of the incident, the Officer has been returned to duty.

Now if you go to Google News and type in "Henry Amos + Sierra Madre," exactly one story emerges, and that one ran in the then Mountain Views "Observer" on January 31 of this year. This is what the article had to say:

"The man, a 46 year old whose name has not been disclosed, was shot in the upper torso. At press time he was in stable condition. The name of the officer was also being withheld."

That was just about all the press had to offer on this matter, at least until yesterday. And now more than six months later the rest of the story can apparently be told. The Pasadena Star News ran an article yesterday entitled "Officer involved in Sierra Madre shooting incident is back on duty." And this is how they broke down the shooting:

The incident began about 3:30 a.m. Jan 30, when an officer discovered a Nissan Murano within the city that had been reported as stolen from Pacifica, sheriff's officials originally reported ... The officer had the Nissan towed back to a police garage at the police station in the 200 block of west Sierra Madre Avenue ... But when police officers opened up the hatchback of the SUV, they were surprised to find the suspect in the vehicle's cargo area, where he had been sleeping under a blanket ... The man, 46-year-old Jason Jensen, had been living in the car, which had been reported as stolen as a result of a civil dispute ... (Officer) Amos shot Jensen, striking him in the upper torso. He was taken to an area hospital, where he recovered. No charges were filed against Jensen in the incident.

Apparently an "internal administrative investigation" has been held, and the decision was made to return Amos to duty. But this article also goes on to state that the Los Angeles County Sheriff's Department's Homicide Bureau is still conducting an investigation of their own, and if their findings indicate that this officer had not conducted himself in an appropriate way, "criminal charges will be filed against Amos."

Which does beg the following questions. If a police officer is being investigated by the L.A. County Sheriff's Homicide Bureau for shooting an unarmed civilian, and could be facing criminal arrest, should he have been allowed to return to duty? Before the far more significant investigation has been completed?

And exactly how will it look if Officer Amos is arrested by the L.A. County Sheriff's Department for this shooting after our Police Department had both cleared him and sent him back out onto our streets?

And what if, before the L.A. County Sheriff's investigation is concluded, something else happens involving this officer? Where exactly would that leave Sierra Madre?


  1. Is this the same officer who responded to a tree down on Sturtevant Dr the other night and got on his blow horn and said "Stay in your houses or you will die" granted their were live wires down along with the tree...but I do believe that most folks know what "live" wires are...seriously, if this is him, Houston, we have a problem

  2. Looks like we're rolling the dice, with snakes eyes being a big old law suit. And what an embarrassment if this guy, after being reinstated by SMPD, is arrested by the LASD. I don't know what the behind the scenes thinking on this was, or the politics, but I don't see the logic.

  3. Sierra Madre's finest???????????

  4. Where does this leave Sierra Madre, you ask? Exactly where it has been for many years - with a police force unwilling to censure its own, regardless of the severity of the offense. If the LACSD arrests this man on criminal charges, that should be proof enough to the residents of Sierra Madre that our current police staff is wholly incapable and negligent (although I need no proof of this, personally). The SMPD needs to either be fully revamped or eliminated altogether, and this is just one more incident begging that question.

  5. Was this officer Amos being paid while on "leave"?

  6. He was probably getting over time also.

  7. The SMPD is very secretive, and much of what you hear about the department comes from that lack of information. In this article Chief Diaz didn't answer any questions about discipline or retraining for Amos, things people should know about. This was a serious occurence, and to hear this guy is back on the street with no information regarding exactly how his problem was dealt with is not good. Talk about a political tin ear.

  8. Check out the article about SMPD in today's Pasadena Star News. It says that some of the officers are planning MORE LAWSUITS against Sierra Madre courtesy of your favorite law firm Dameur (Sp?) and Lackie (Sp?). I am so sick of this.

  9. More lawsuits? After we voted ourselves a 100% tax hike so they could get a raise? Time for them to go. Everyone I talk to agrees. They are bad news.

  10. What is clear to me is how unclear it all is.
    I don't know what has really gone on, so it's hard to form an opinion, but like 10:22, I also am heartily sick of the law suits.
    If they bankrupt us, what will be left for them to protect?
    Same thing with the hillsides developers. They sue us into bankruptcy, to have the mcmansion owners drive through a bankrupt town and live in hazardous conditions without civic protections.

  11. Let's Be Careful CitizensAugust 7, 2009 at 10:48 AM

    Yes ED @9:40 YOU ARE RIGHT! Secrecy leads to gossips which leads to the wrong information being spread, which often is not true.

    I think we need more information before we can judge anyone. We are waaaaay tooo ready to jump on alll the police. Can we slow down. First, do we really know all the details of exactly what happen when Amos opened the trunk.....a lot can happen between the time a hatch is open and a live human is found....can you imagine Amos' utter shock? did Jensen pull a gun, rifle, knife???? Does anyone ever tell us that????

    My neighbor has asked me to come over two times for domestic spats with her husbands and while waiting outside with her tiny children it was Amos who pulled up. His professional demeanor was calm, protective, and he helped her file a report while another SMPOfficer took care of the
    husband inside. Amos followed through helping her get out of the situation feeling safe. I have seen him on the street often in his calm and caring demeanor.

    I am not sure we need to rush in and crucify him just because he has been gone and assume he was guilty. We need more evidence. And, can we always rely on PSN???? Don't they twist the facts to fit their own ego. I want the truth. You always find that Sir Eric. And lets not fry Amos, many of us thought he was one of the more social and more thorough cops.

  12. 10:48 - while I agree with much of what you say, he did shoot a guy. That does change the equation some. But yes, the SMPD does owe the city an explanation. There is no call here for military style security. We pay the bills in this town, we deserve to know what is going on.
    And the lawsuits sicken me. I must be honest with you.

  13. You convinced me LBBC at 10:48
    I will reserve my opinion/judgement until all the facts are known.

  14. 10:48, thanks for posting. I have always supported law enforcement, and know very well that there are a lot of issues around the use of deadly force. I have to know more about what happened, before I criticize Officer Amos.

    However, the constant whining followed by law suits have determined my support for bringing in the sheriff, and closing the SMPD down.

  15. I totally support all of our police officers. They are a fine bunch of men and women who are currently being led by an incompetent police chief, and captain, who incidentally are both micro-managers, just waiting for an officer to make a mistake, and then of course you'll be fired.

    We always see Diaz in the paper when she wants to promote herself, and suddenly when the chips are down, well lets just say it appears she runs to hide. As far as her captain goes, well who knows, where is he, whats his name, I guess he's Harvey the rabbit with captain bars.

    Lets not be so fast to judge the officers until we hear the real story.

  16. But 12:12, the officers you like are the ones trying to bankrupt the city.
    Do their law suits hit your pocket as well as mine?
    And I carried a petition for them.

  17. Not a happy camperAugust 7, 2009 at 12:48 PM

    To me the law suits mean that they're just looking for a settlement check so they can get out. And the suits are over petty nonsense. We voted ourselves a tax hike to give the cops a raise, and that they should treat us like this is the worst kind of ingratitude. Sierra Madre is not a gutless city, and if pushed we will react. I hope these guys think about that before they try and sue us.

  18. Am I too cynical to think that many of the slings and arrows aimed toward Chief Diaz come from supporters of former SMPD Abernethy? She's a good copy battling her way through many issues faced by the department for years. What would be helpful is if she got some support from the City, its citizens, and her subordinates. Wouldn't it be great if she could focus on doing her job?

  19. Dear Tattler readers, you're bein' awfull critical of Mr. Amos. Why I myself almost parted Opies hair once with my service revolver and I'm a SUPER law enforcement officer. We solved the problem by keeping my bullets in Ang's pocket.
    Sincerely, Bernard P. Fife

  20. There is a problem with the police and their union.That being said;this concerns an incident between Amos and a homeless guy in a stolen car.There were no witnesses ,I understand.Let us not forget there are some hazards in being a cop.Hold the judgement.

  21. You're right Molly. Just not here. Being a cop here is like being the gardener at Foto-Mat.

  22. I'm a little puzzled by all the police sympathy. It was
    not the cop that got shot, it was the guy sleeping in
    the back of a car. Please remember the person shot
    wasnever charged with any crime. Rather he was sent
    to the hospital with a bullet in his chest. I'm sure cops
    have tough lives and face danger, but we're talking
    about Sierra Madre here.

  23. Who is paying the medical bills of the man who was shot? Has the city been served with another lawsuit for the shooting as they should be??

  24. The City of Sierra Madre paid the medical bill in full, rightfully so and it was not cheap!

    By the way, Jensen has been approached by several "high dollar" attorneys to take the case. Yes, he is going to want a lot of money to go away.

  25. Why all the sympathy for the guy in the car?Amos may well have been justified.What do you and I know?I have only read and heard about the incident from hearsay from media and gossip.Indeed,lets not begin with the tar and feathers yet!

  26. 4:18 - ah, another case where the SMPD costs us a lot of dough.

    Can we take an insurance policy out on these dudes?

  27. I guess my comment will be about as welcome as a skunk at a picnic, but all I can say is, Hold on a minute. We will never get both sides of the story because although there is a very public interest in the performance of the police, there is a very strong policy in protecting the city from litigation, whether rightly or wrongly brought. That means, in simple terms we will never hear Officer Amos' side of the story. I learned long long ago that you cannot accurately begin to judge a situation until you've heard both sides of the story. There could very well be a very strong reason why a gun was discharged and it is not being mentioned because of the intense interest in demonizing the police, arousing public fear and generally making the whole thing seem completely wrong. And so, while the public wants to know that their officers aren't shooting maniacs, there just is no mechanism to satisfy that concern under the current rubric. So, while we can express our concerns, please remember, we do not have the whole story and it is likely never to be made public. At least not as part of this discussion. I'm not saying we shouldn't be concerned about this, but I am saying that we have to accept that this discussion is always going to be one-sided and will therefore be inconclusive as well.

  28. The stolen car is found on the street in the early a.m. and, after being searched, is towed to the city yard (i.e. police station). A second survey of the impoiunded vehicle is underway - and bam, the occupant, a 'sleeping' individual, well hidden inside, lurches out at the officer. Ask yourself this question, how deep do you 'sleep' in a car you probably stole while it is being moved and you are alert enough (or are you?) to sense that the car is moving? I am pretty sure I did not ever consider police work for a very good reason. As far as the vote of no confidence for the police chief--was it unanimous? I'll bet not. By rearranging the work schedule of the officers so they would not put together a 5 day work week in four days of 10-12 hours per day, with the extra hours logged in as over-time at the expense of the city budget, it seems to me that the chief wanted to make changes for some fiscally important reasons. Mixing hometown policing of the cosy kind with the needs of 21st century horrors of criminal life is a strange balancing act indeed. Last month I was in the police lobby two different times where once I overheard the desk officer take a phone call where the caller wanted driving instructions to Bellflower and the other time a couple of ladies were bringing by tomatoes.

  29. I can understand the need to defend the PD, and I'm not completely sold on getting rid of it and bringing in the LACSD. But what we're talking about here is a cop that shot a guy who was later set free by the authorities with no charges filed. He broke no law, and yet he was plugged. It is troubling. And now this officer is back on our streets. I'm sorry, but I am not comfortable with that.

  30. Curly, I've never disagreed with you before, but I'm going with Dr.S "gotta hear both sides" on this one. We truly cannot get all the facts, so reason dictates neutrality.

  31. AA at 10:01

    I agree with you.

    Doctor Staccato:
    Thanks for your input on this.

  32. Also Anon: And you really think we will hear the side of the guy who was shot? At least before his lawyers drag this city to Court? I see that as being pretty prominent in Dr. S's post.

  33. if this story wasn't true it'd be funny but what's not funny is that we've got cops with guns who aren't qualifed to work at legit police departments, for heaven's sakes, our PD promoted a "dispatcher" to street level and she packs heat now!

    I'm curious how Amos was able to get the bullet out of his pocket as the victim allegedly "lunged" at him, sounds like bs to me by Amos

    let's not forget SMPD officers pulled weapons on 10 year olds at the Skilled Nursing Facility and had Sierra Madre children lay prone on sidewalks with guns drawn on defenseless children, just for having toy guns (with legal orange tips on them) in possession and at the time, those toy guns were legal in the city - the cops were totally nuts

    sure, Amos is going to have a "version" but still, the fact is that he shot at point blank range, an unarmed person and why didn't Amos shine a light into the back of the Murano to check, he makes numerous incompetent mistakes and then guns down a defenseless person? please

    incompetence and more incompetence reeks at the PD and there are obvious reasons why probably 90% of the SMPD can't or won't get hired by other police depts

    come on people, our Chief has to hire a PR consultant who suggests that she walk the city on Saturday mornings to meet the citizens? how lame brain is that?

    the Council should insist that the background of all cops be public information, we have a right to know who is carrying loaded weapons on our streets and if they have a screw lose

    me, I think the guy who was shot has a perfect right and I sort of hope he crucifies our PD and finally the Council will be forced to shop out our services to a qualifed and professional service like County, Arcadia or Pasadena

    most of our cops are good for are writing tickets and traffic control for movie productions, I've always respected Ruben who knows the people and seems to care and was glad to see Abernathy go, it was scary to know that dude had a weapon on him

    can we rehire Chief Bailey?

  34. Don't Shoot Me - I'm Just SleepingAugust 8, 2009 at 3:34 PM

    whoever "searched" the car....and didn't find a sleeping person in the rear...should be fired

    only in Sierra Madre

  35. Maybe that's why they shot him.

    Didn't want any witnesses.

  36. Chief Bailey would be great! However, I'm sorry to say those days are gone. The next best thing to do would contract with the Arcadia Police as they seem to have the same values as ol' Sierra Madra.

    Chief Sanderson is a wonderful Police Chief, and he has a great staff.

  37. GET RID OF THE POLICE! Problem solved...Contract with Arcadia, Pasadean, or God forbid the LA county Sheriffs department. ANYTHING is better that all of the BS that our current police are causing and creating. Good God I am sick of it!

  38. Let's Be Careful said "I think we need more information before we can judge anyone. We are waaaaay tooo ready to jump on alll the police. Can we slow down. First, do we really know all the details of exactly what happen when Amos opened the trunk.....a lot can happen between the time a hatch is open and a live human is found....can you imagine Amos' utter shock? did Jensen pull a gun, rifle, knife???? Does anyone ever tell us that????"


    I'd disagree. A Murano is an SUV with full windows in the rear. Amos is totally incompetent if he didn't shine a light into the windows and there isn't a "trunk" in a Murano. When you open the rear door it opens up and with plenty of room.

    And you'd think that the papers or SMPD would report very publically if the suspect had a "gun or knife".

    The most telling aspect is that "no charges were filed" against Mr. Jensen. No weapon or drug charges.

    None of the hype that Let's Be Careful proclaims. No charges at all.

    SMPD won't be able to spin or hide the truth from this incident and it's going to cost the city dearly, maybe even push the city into bankruptcy.

    And our Chief is pandering down enough to the Union reinstate this guy.


  39. Hey Anon August 9, 09 @ 1245pm, If I read this right, the chief and her infamous captain kangaroo will not be able to "willy-nilly" their way out of this one.

    And by the way, it will not be the police association that bankrupts the city, it will be diaz and all of her lawsuits. Good luck

  40. yes, but it was still Amos who pulled the trigger and shot a unarmed person

    this is bigger than SMPD and they can't bully or bluster their way out of this one

  41. Yes, you are correct. In the early morning of 1-30-09 @ 3:30am, Officer Amos did in fact shoot someone in the rear of a stolen SUV.

    However, I wasn't there and I would bet neither were you. With that said, Officer Amos is a fine man and a "good" police officer. Yes, as stated in the California Vehicle Code the stolen vehicle should have been searched & inventoried at the scene, and NOT in the police department parking lot.

    Personally, I would like to know who authorized the stolen vehicle to be moved / towed from the initial crime scene to the police department? That would be the one I would be questioning. Afterall, Officer Amos was just following directions. Would it have made a differnce? I couldn't tell ya, I wasn't there. Until then, my opinion supports Officer Amos.

  42. sure 7:16, I'm glad I wasn't there because we'd have bullet holes in me. Being a "fine" man has nothing to do with gunning down an unarmed person.

    I was speaking with an LAPD officer who heard about the situation and said Amos was out of his mind and broke standard police procedure not to even casually check the back of a "stolen" vehicle.

    What you are saying is that according to the Vehicle Code, Amos and the SMPD can't follow simple Vehicle Code directions. It makes sense to tow the car, but not to even make an attempt to visually check the interior is incredible.

    Would it had made a difference?

    Are you kidding me?

    Had Amos made a simple attempt to shine a flashlight into the windows he'd seen a person sleeping.

    I don't know whose direction Amos was following when he pulled out his gun and at point blank range shot a unarmed person.

    The gunshot victim wasn't charged with anything and a inch higher or lower, the guy might be dead and Amos might be facing manslaughter charges.

  43. I agree. Maybe Chief Diaz has some explaining to do, when she finds time for us residents. Afterall, she's pretty busy with the P.R. firm she hired, and recent pics of herself in the Weekly. Sierra Madra is busy ya know!

  44. The Chief's tight britches don't leave a whole lot to the imagination ...

  45. 4:30 I could have done without that's almost dinner time

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