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Home / Neighborhood / San Gabriel Valley / Pasadena Independent / Former President of Local ACLU Leaked Document Court was Allegedly Hiding re: McDade Shooting

Former President of Local ACLU Leaked Document Court was Allegedly Hiding re: McDade Shooting

by Terry Miller
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A Pasadena police-oversight activist unapologetically told a Court of Appeal
this morning that she leaked the document that the Court is trying to keep secret.
In a declaration filed with Division 1 of the Second District of the California
Court of Appeals, Pasadena resident Michelle White – a former President of the
local chapter of the ACLU, a Board Member of the local League of Women Voters,
and a 10-year activist in seeking increased civilian oversight of the Pasadena
Police Department – told the Court that she was the person who leaked to the
Pasadena Star-News a brief filed by attorneys for Pasadena Police Officers
Matthew Griffin and Jeffery Newlen – the Officers who shot and killed the
unarmed African-American youth Kendric McDade 3 years ago. The Officers’
have filed the lawsuit trying to keep secret a Report by outside reviewers of the
McDade shooting. Yet the Officers’ brief quoted verbatim 10 excerpts criticizing
the Officers’ conduct that were made in the McDade Shooting Report –
paradoxically disclosing the very criticisms the Officers were trying to keep secret!
After the Officers’ brief was publicly available for 9 days in the Court files,
the Officers’ attorneys claimed they had “inadvertently” disclosed the excerpts
from the Report they are trying to suppress. Last week, the Court granted the
Officers’ motion to seal the brief and require the parties to return the briefs.
Last Friday, the Pasadena Star-News ran a front-page story stating that it
had received the Officers’ brief; the story printed verbatim some of the 10 excerpts
from the brief and summarized the others. The Officers’ attorneys later in the day
filed a brief accusing the Los Angeles Times – which intervened in the lawsuit
trying to make the Report public – of leaking the Officers’ brief to the Star News.
White’s Declaration filed with the Court this morning rebutted the false
accusation that the LA Times leaked the Officers’ brief; White acknowledged that
she sent it to the Star News and other media outlets. White did not apologize for
doing so, noting that she was not a party to the lawsuit, that she had not been
served with the Court’s order, and that the Court therefore had no jurisdiction
over her to prevent her from distributing the brief. White’s declaration said that
she received the Officers’ brief from civil rights attorney Dale Gronemeier before
the Court issued its sealing order. Gronemeier filed a declaration with the Court
Friday saying he had sent the Officers’ brief to at least 20 people before the
Court’s sealing order. (Gronemeier represents McDade’s mother and Pasadena
organizations in the lawsuit, but the LA Times is represented by other counsel. )
Last week, the LA Times and the Gronemeier’s clients filed opposition to
the sealing order , citing authorities that the order is an unconstitutional prior
restrain that violates the First Amendment to the U.S. Constitution and the free
press protections of the California constitution. They were supported by an
Amicus letter from the New York Times, Washington Post, Wall Street Journal,
Associated Press, San Francisco Chronicle, Sacramento Bee, the chain that owns
the Star-News, and a host of free press organizations.
Gronemeier, who obtained the declaration from White and filed it with the
Court, said “Every distribution of the Officers’ Reply was lawful. While there was
no sealing order, I properly sent it to my 5 clients and to about 15 others who have
been following the case, including Michelle White. Because White is not a party
to the lawsuit, she could lawfully distribute it to the press. Officers Griffin and
Newlen are futilely trying to pub back in the bottle the genie they let out. Michelle
White and the Star News have rendered the Court’s order irrelevant – except
that, ironically, the LA Times is now the only newspaper at risk for printing the
criticisms because it is a party to the lawsuit.”

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