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Friday, February 23, 2018

Altadena Town Council Sends Letter to Pasadena Officials Requesting Restrictions on Pasadena Police Within Their Town Limits


In a Feb. 10 letter to top Pasadena officials, Altadena Town Council Chair Okorie Ezieme requested that two Pasadena police officers involved in the violent arrest of an Altadena man during a traffic stop not be allowed to patrol that unincorporated part of Los Angeles County.

“In an effort to uphold the safety and quality of life of each and every one of our Altadena residents, [Altadena residents] have voiced the following requests of the Pasadena Police Department. That Officers Larry [sic] Esparza and Zachary Lujan be restricted from conducting any police business within Altadena [town] limits. Pasadena Police Officers continued presence in Altadena has resulted in at least one additional harassment incident since the incident on November 9, and poses a continued safety concern to all residents of Altadena,” the letter reads.

Read the entire letter here

21-year-old Christopher Ballew suffered a broken fibula and head wounds during an encounter with the two Pasadena officers last Nov. 9. He was booked for resisting arrest. The Los Angeles County District Attorney declined to file charges against Ballew.

During that incident, Esparza and Lujan struck Ballew with a police baton multiple times and punched him during a “scuffle” in which Ballew grabbed ahold of the baton.

Pasadena officials have said an investigation into the officers’ action is underway.

Pasadena City Manager Steve Mermell later ordered body worn camera footage of the incident released.

The letter said that Altadena residents have expressed deep concern over the incident and about feeling unsafe with regards to interactions with Pasadena police officers inside Altadena.

Okorie’s letter was addressed to Mayor Terry Tornek and Police Chief Phillip Sanchez. Copies were sent to Mermell, Los Angeles County Supervisor Kathryn Barger and Altadena Station Captain Vicki L. Stuckey,.

The letter also claims the incident exhibits a lack of training by the officers and demands that officers “should have less heavy handed practices” when they are in Altadena.

The Town Council holds no decision-making power over the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department deputies who patrol Altadena, or the Pasadena Police Department and legally cannot prohibit Pasadena police officers from patrolling the town.

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