'Fear of the facts'

'Fear of the facts'

Councilman renews calls for civilian oversight of police following officer-involved shooting  

By André Coleman 10/17/2013

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Weeks after the Pasadena City Council overwhelmingly decided against conducting a study of civilian oversight of the Police Department, the issue resurfaced in the wake of another officer-involved shooting.
On Friday, a Pasadena police officer wounded Paris Holloway, 23, in the arm and leg after Holloway allegedly fled to the Kings Villages housing complex after an encounter on Hammond Street and Sunset Avenue. 

According to police, Holloway is on parole for felony assault, which allows police to question him at any time. According to Pasadena Police spokeswoman Lt. Tracey Ibarra, Holloway “produced” a weapon at the end of the pursuit. According to police, a loaded handgun was recovered at the scene.
The shooting came just two weeks after the council opted not to support a motion to discuss funding a study that would have examined citizen oversight of police departments. The Pasadena Police Department and the council’s Public Safety Committee have been against civilian oversight, but Councilman John Kennedy — who has been pushing for more oversight — told the Weekly that the latest shooting incident provides the chance for another conversation on the matter.

“Certainly this provides the City Council an opportunity to find out what the facts are regarding oversight,” Kennedy told the Weekly. “There seems to be fear about finding out the facts. Facts are what we need to make a decision up or down. The facts on police oversight have never been objectively or intelligently presented to the City Council.”

Holloway was rushed to Huntington Hospital, where doctors operated to repair a collapsed lung. According to Pasadena Unified School District Board of Education member Mikala Rahn, who taught Holloway at Learning Works, a continuation school which attempts to bring students back into the school district, Holloway was on a breathing tube. A bullet particle is lodged in his spine, she said.

“It has been difficult for the family,” Rahn told the Weekly. “He has a tube down his throat and cannot speak, but he is stable and is expected to survive. He was moving before they did the operation to correct the lung, so they don’t think he is paralyzed. Right now the neurosurgeon is not going to try and remove the bullet from his spine.”

Rahn told the Weekly she agreed with Kennedy’s call for more police oversight.

“I don’t really understand,” she said. “That is not an odd request. It seems to be a natural request that Mr. Kennedy is making. The police do a fine job working with Learning Works, but what’s wrong with oversight?”

The family was allowed to visit Holloway shortly after the incident, but he is in police custody, even though he is in the hospital.

Almost immediately after the shooting, local residents living in Kings Villages began questioning Holloway’s treatment after he was shot.
“Why did they have to handcuff him after he was shot? Where were the paramedics?” asked one woman who did not wish to be named. “They just stood there while he was on the ground in handcuffs.”

Ibarra did confirm the suspect was handcuffed after the shooting, and added that police officers have to make sure that a suspect cannot reach his initial weapon or a secondary firearm. According to Pasadena Fire Department spokesperson Lisa Derderian, dispatch received the initial call at 9:59 a.m. Units arrived on scene two minutes and 13 seconds later, at 10:01 a.m. Holloway was en route to Huntington Hospital at 10:16 a.m. 17 minutes after the initial call went out. 

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Kennedy is right. Another young, Black man was shot by white officers. Sanchez and his officers need oversight.

posted by Paul G on 10/17/13 @ 10:49 p.m.


I don't see where in the article it says that he was shot by white officers. Stop turning this into a race issue.

Furthermore, he pulled out a gun. What do you expect the officers to do when someone pulls out a gun?

A civilian oversight board won't do any good unless all of the civilians that are a part of that board go through the same use of force training that police officers go through, including trips to the shooting range, defensive tactics, force simulators, and legal education about current law regarding the use of force. Maybe they should also watch police videos showing officers being killed when the hesitate in dangerous situations. If members of a civilian oversight board don't have such an education about the use of force, how can they objectively and fairly review use of force incidents?

Once again it comes down to one simple point: if he had not ran and/or not pulled out the gun, we wouldn't be sitting here reading about it right now.

posted by Bab Mulan on 10/18/13 @ 01:55 p.m.

I do not know if it would be good to have an oversight board or not. I do know that it would be nice to have city council take an impartial and studied look at a tough issue like this one, debate it, and then vote on the merits. Staff tends to prepare reports that protect the status quo and their positions.

posted by Vivavilla on 10/18/13 @ 08:02 p.m.

Bob, you're correct. Let 's just keep things as they are since there working so well. Idiot.

The law allows force to be used from the stand point of reasonableness. Such reasonableness is judged by "the man on the street", not the expert in the blue uniform. This makes citizen oversight perfectly capable you moron. Do a little research before you pop off.

posted by Paul G on 10/19/13 @ 07:24 a.m.

Actually, Paul, why don't you do some research before you pop off.

Graham v. Connor (490 U.S. 386) is the relevant case law that is used to determine the reasonableness of the use of force by police agencies. According to Graham v, Connor, the use of force must be reviewed by what a reasonable OFFICER at the scene finds reasonable. This is because police officers have training and experience making such split second decisions in life or death situations.

Regular citizens, and especially the ones pushing for this oversight committee, do NOT have this kind of training. And I'd be willing to bet that those pushing for the creation of this oversight board already have have bias and assume that the police automatically act wrong if they shoot someone. How is shooting someone who pulls a gun on you wrong?

posted by Bab Mulan on 10/21/13 @ 01:01 p.m.

Tell me BabM, do you believe that ONLY LEOs have the para-military training and professionally developed talent to assess whether other LEOs have acted in accordance with the law? Don't you think that -- just maybe -- former military members (especially those who have served as combat or occupation troopers) also may have the practiced ability to determine the reasonableness of a local LEO-accomplished, use of force circumstance?

How about firefighters? They train just as fervently at their version of public service and often perform their duties along side of the LEO crowd (actually, firemen are -- to an officially defined degree -- also enforcers of the law).

If Pasadena were to have a civilian review board, it would not only be wise, but perhaps, even be made mandatory that a certain number of these civilian reviewers also be former (with a mandatory focus on the word "former," at least for the LEO class) law enforcers/military members who've actually been there and done that.

In the meantime, not having ever performed as a professional police trooper should not, by default, automatically disqualify any person as a use of force assessor regarding the conduct of law enforcers. Indeed, REASONABLENESS is not the sole venue only of law enforcement agencies, but instead, is also (we hope) a common trait possessed by any person who has dealt with the more dynamic circumstances involving most any confrontational assessment of human culture.

Properly staffed with a qualifying cross section of activists*, a civilian review board would only be a first step (in a kind of anti-whitewash way) of initially identifying whenever Pasadena's local LEOs may (will ...) transgress beyond the Constitutional pale of community service.


*By definition, anyone performing as a volunteer overseer/supervisor of the public trust -- in any capacity -- IS in fact, an activist.

posted by DanD on 10/21/13 @ 09:38 p.m.
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