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Pasadena Police Respond to Claims That Constitutional Rights Were Violated

Body worn camera footage released by the PPD of the incident. – Courtesy screenshot

The City of Pasadena received two claims from an attorney asserting that the Constitutional rights of two people were violated by Pasadena Police officers when they searched an apartment after responding to a call. The Pasadena Police Department (PPD) is releasing officer body worn camera and a 911 recording of the incident. The recordings detail what transpired on July 22, 2019 when the Police Department’s Communications Center received a call from a despondent male, threatening suicide after losing a large sum of money to an apparent scam. The recordings can be accessed on the city website.

Pasadena Police Chief John E. Perez has issued the following statement:

“Law enforcement has a duty and obligation to protect the public and serve those in need. These duties often require immediate action for the preservation of life and it is my responsibility to assure the community that I hold myself and the members of the Pasadena Police Department, accountable for our performance and behavior.

“In conjunction with the current demands for reform of police agencies, it is important the Pasadena Police Department share with the public as much information as legally possible regarding police performance. In releasing information, it is imperative the public have a complete view of critical incidents to understand the dynamics in their entirety, rather than a limited view. Change is never easy, but as we continue to work towards better policing practices, the benefit to all will be significant.

“As has been the practice, the released recordings assisted in determining if there was reason to initiate a personnel investigation into the actions of any of the officers involved. Had I or any member of his Command Staff found such reason, an investigation would have commenced.”

The incident was ultimately determined to be a hoax call involving a male caller who detailed how he had lost a significant amount of money and intended to commit suicide. While talking with the department’s emergency dispatcher, the caller went into great detail as to how he was going to complete the act. Officers responded and when they arrived, they forced entry into the residence to render aid, in an effort to preserve the suicidal subjects’ life; no one was located inside the residence.

As the investigation progressed, officers sought available evidence inside to determine if the name of the suicidal subject matched the name of the resident(s) and attempted to locate a responsible party so that the residence could be secured. After a limited search, documents were located inside that indicated the names were different. The department maintains that the officers’ actions were consistent with departments’ policies and procedures for the purpose of preserving life.

However, according to reporting from Pasadena Now, claimants Keith Anderson and Lorena McCaigue, who are seeking $10 million in damages, paint a different picture. “The claimants allege that after officers determined there was no emergency, they continued searching drawers and other storage areas, which was captured on home surveillance camera footage.”

Additionally, the claim indicates an officer and the supervisor “manipulated their Body Worn Cameras (BWC)” during the search of the residence. According to PPD, the supervisor and officer did turn off their BWC’s, as required by department policy, while discussing sensitive information, so as to prevent the recording of potentially private information related to the incident.

Finally, a claim was filed with the city by the homeowner to reimburse the costs associated with the repair of the door damaged by officers when they forced entry into the residence. This claim has already been paid by the city.

Anyone with information about this case is encouraged to call Pasadena Police at (626)- 744-4241 or you may report information anonymously by calling “Crime Stoppers” by dialing (800) 222-TIPS (8477), use your smartphone by downloading the “P3 Tips” mobile app on Google Play or the Apple App Store or by using the website lacrimestoppers.org.

July 7, 2020

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ONE COMMENT ON THIS POST To “Pasadena Police Respond to Claims That Constitutional Rights Were Violated”

  1. Concerned Citizen says:

    The officers actions violated Fourth Amendment and Pasadena Police policy.

    406.5 SEARCHES
    Officers arriving at crime or disaster scenes are often faced with the immediate need to search for
    and render aid to victims, and to determine if suspects are present and continue to pose a threat.
    Once officers are satisfied that no additional suspects are present and/or there are no injured
    persons to be treated, those exigent circumstances will likely no longer exist. Officers should
    thereafter secure the scene and conduct no further search until additional or alternate authority
    for the search is obtained, such as consent or a search warrant

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