Mod: It looks like the inevitable has now occurred, and in the end the only people that are going to be punished in the Rotten Rose's latest lurid police brutality scandal are taxpayers. Folks who are going to be forced to make good on what will likely be an immense settlement. Everybody gets off, including the cops, politicians and city officials responsible. This is how corruption works, and why such things continue. All the usual asses are now covered. Kudos to Pasadena Now for staying with this story.
The lawsuit, filed January 26 in U.S. District Court, names the City of Pasadena, the Pasadena Police Department, Mayor Terry Tornek, City Manager Steve Mermell, Chief Of Police Phillip A. [sic] Sanchez, and Pasadena Police Officers Zachary Lujan and Lerry Esparza among the defendants, and charges violations of the California Civil Code, including battery, false arrest and imprisonment.
Burton is seeking a jury trial for the case.
Ballew’s original December, 2017 claim against the City, a legal step necessary before filing Superior Court lawsuits but not federal ones, was rejected by the City on Jan 5.
City of Pasadena spokesperson William Boyer confirmed late Tuesday that the City had been served with the lawsuit on Monday, and was in possession of it. However, since the case is now pending litigation, Boyer said he was unable to comment further.
Cellphone video of the arrest of Ballew, 21, swept across news media in December and ultimately was seen millions of times around the globe. The graphic images of what some activists have described as a Rodney King-like beating of the young black Altadenan galvanized protests at City meetings.
The City responded to declare that an active investigation into the incident is underway, and the two officers remain on duty.
|Video link here.|
Mod: The rest of this article is available at the link. Pasadena Now also posted an opinion piece by Skip Hickambottom and Dale Gronemeier, both of whom are Pasadena based civil rights attorneys. They question Pasadena's internal review policy, something that apparently only protects the guilty parties. What follows below is a truncated version of their observations. For the entire opinion piece follow the link.
|The Hat cannot comment at this time.|
Ballew’s baton beating follows on the heels of black eyes for the Pasadena PD from its killing three other young Black men – LeRoy Barnes, Kendrec McDade, and Reginald Thomas. In each of those prior instances, the City hired independent reviewers to participate in the internal review. The recommendations of the OIR Group (Office of Independent Review) in the Barnes case was largely accepted and implemented. However, the OIR Group’s participation in the internal review of the McDade case was prevented by the police administration.
While the City hired independent reviewers who evaluated the Department’s conduct in the Barnes, McDade, and Thomas cases, it has not done so for the Ballew beating – despite the fact that the PD’s misconduct in the Ballew case has resulted in universal condemnation from a far larger audience. When the coalition of Pasadena and Altadena organizations protesting the Ballew beating have called for an independent reviewer, the police administration has responded by saying it is being internally reviewed and by ignoring their demand for outside review.
We submit that the public cannot rely on the integrity of a solely-internal review and that the police administration is shooting itself in the foot by refusing to recognize its problems with a solely-internal review.
Liability limitation and reputation protection – the inherent conflicts for a solely internal investigation
An internal investigation of the Ballew beating is essential, but it is not enough. The PD, like any organization, cannot be a learning organization that avoids repetition of prior mistakes unless it investigates itself. The problem is that the PD’s institutional imperative to honestly review its conduct conflicts with its imperatives to limit its liability and to protect its reputation.
Police brutality cases can get high-dollar awards for victims or survivors; the police administration’s imperative to investigate itself gets watered down by its tendency to deny wrong-doing that might lead to higher awards. Police administrators and unions want to protect police reputations; honest self-criticism that gets into the public domain is often hostilely viewed as self-damage to their reputation.
|What, me worry?|
The record of public statements by the Pasadena police administration – City Manager Steve Mermell, Chief Sanchez who reports to him, and the PD command staff – inspires no confidence that it will engage in honest self-criticism rather than acting dishonestly to limit liability and protect the Pasadena PD’s reputation. Rather, the police administration has put out an inaccurate account and tried to justify the officers’ misconduct.
Presumably, the PD command staff reviewed the PD’s car-cam video and Lujan’s bodycam video of the beating before Lt. William Grisafe made the statement that Pasadena Now reported the day after the beating that “Ballew refused to comply with their orders and during a scuffle with police, he was able to get the baton of one of the officers. A fight ensued, and he ran.”
The PD’s videos show that the statement is inaccurate in asserting that Ballew ran and that he refused to follow the officers’ orders. The account relayed by Grisafe is misleading by failing to acknowledge that Ballew got the baton only in self-defense after the officers began beating him without justification.
The police administration’s insistence on solely internal review will be a self-inflicted wound
A solely-internal investigation of the Ballew beating is not only bad institutional policy but is also likely to be counter-productive for the police administration. The genie is out of the bottle on the Ballew baton beating because of the widespread revulsion of an enormous public that has viewed the videos.
The police administration’s track record to date ensures that their internal investigation will be viewed with jaundiced eyes. The police administration is on track for withering doubt about their investigation and are painting themselves into a no-win situation. External reviewers like the OIR Group are experienced former prosecutors or former police administrators whose expertise lead them to give credit where credit is due and blame where blame is due.
Further justifications for the officers’ conduct by the police administration will be eaten alive by the worm of doubt and will be seen as self-serving. In the long run, the institution will be better served and the police administration will get less blame if it hires an external reviewer to complement the internal review.