Vote of confidence
Bogaard denies questioning police chief’s leadership
Pasadena Mayor Bill Bogaard told the Weekly he has confidence in Pasadena Police Chief Phil Sanchez, contrary to a report in Tuesday’s edition of the Pasadena Star-News.
Under the headline “Claim: Cop asked for bribe,” the story focuses on Officer Kevin Okamoto allegedly soliciting a bribe from a suspect in a stabbing in the Rose Bowl parking lot the day of the UCLA-USC game in 2010. Okamoto, who is among a number of Pasadena officers accused of corruption and is currently under investigation by the Sheriff’s Department, allegedly told the suspect’s lawyers that he could avoid being arrested in exchange for tickets to Hawaii.
Sanchez said the claim was investigated by the department and proved to be unfounded. That claim is part of a number of similar claims filed against the city alleging misconduct and corruption on the part of Okamoto and a number of other officers, which the daily paper has been covering closely.
In the Star-News story, the mayor allegedly “wondered whether Sanchez has been too busy socializing while his department has seemingly grown out of control.” Reporter Brian Charles used a paraphrase, not a direct quote, from the mayor expressing these concerns.
“I don’t have a recollection of touching on anything regarding the chief’s leadership,” Bogaard told the Weekly of his interview Monday with the paper. “I have lots of confidence in Phil Sanchez. I think he deserves the credibility the City Council has given him regarding the allegations that have been made and the questions raised regarding the Pasadena Police Department.”
Star-News editor Frank Girardot explained to the Weekly on Tuesday that the paper’s editorial board held a meeting with Bogaard in late June. “I overheard Brian’s conversation with the mayor Monday. The mayor’s unequivocal statement regarding Chief Phillip Sanchez in that June meeting was referenced and reiterated. We stand by our story,” Girardot wrote in an email.
“It’s disappointing when someone tells a reporter something on the record and then says they didn’t say it,” said Girardot, adding that the mayor made the June remarks in his presence.