After a year and half, a damning report on the Pasadena Police Department’s detectives, the City released yesterday a 74-page executive summary of the outside civilian review.
The report makes 58 recommendations for reform of the Pasadena PD’s detective operations.
Elbie J. Hickambottom, Jr., and Dale Gronemeier – the civil rights attorneys who successfully litigated in the trial court the release of 80% of the City’s independent civilian review of the Kendric McDade shooting — hailed the belated release of the report by Veritas Assurance Group as “proving the need for an Independent Police Auditor and for reopening the investigation of the Joseph Jones murder.”
Hickambottom said “Veritas functioned as the equivalent of an Independent Police Auditor because it reviewed the Pasadena PD’s detective operations and, contemporaneously as it audited, it informed the PD of its deficiencies. That’s exactly what the proposal for an Independent Police Auditor reporting to the Public Safety Committee would be doing – but across-the-board for all of the PD operations and not stopping its auditing at an arbitrary moment.
It would cost Pasadena less for a full time Independent Police Auditor than farming audits out to outside agencies and doing limited audits. Pasadena relies upon part-time councilmembers to provide legislative oversight of the PD; the Veritas report documenting detective misconduct dramatically illustrates that – despite all the good things about the PD – there remain serious problems that require meaningful civilian oversight. That oversight can be done more systematically and cheaper with an Independent Police Auditor.”
Gronemeier said that “the Veritas Report scathingly condemns the investigation techniques used by Pasadena PD homicide detectives – improper suggestive techniques contaminating photo identifications, inaccurate photo ID reporting, improperly coercive interrogation techniques, inconsistent interview recording, faulty investigative documentation, etc.
The Veritas audit was prepared before the murder of Joseph Jones, but it reads like a catalogue of the misconduct that led the jury last summer to quickly acquit Rashad McCoy. There’s been a core group of homicide detectives who believe the end justifies the means who have not been held accountable. Sadly, the jury in the Jones murder trial recognized that those detectives went after the wrong man, but the Department is in denial.
Chief Sanchez responded to my inquiry as to whether the Department had reopened the murder investigation after McCoy was acquitted by saying the PD still believes McCoy was guilty. The Pasadena PD needs to reopen the Jones murder case and prosecute the real killer rather than hiding its head in the sand about these officers’ misconduct.“The full report is available at Pasadena City website: publicaffairs/agendas/pubSafety.pdf