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

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

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A Pasadena police-oversight activist unapologetically told a Court of Appeal 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 Kendrec McDade three 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 nine 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 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 attempt to 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 five 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 push 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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