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Pasadena’s Motion to Dismiss Chris Ballew’s Claims Denied by District Judge

Chris Ballew. – File photo by Terry Miller / Beacon Media News

By Terry Miller

Originally posted April 3 at 10:39 a.m. / Updated April 9 at 11:29 a.m. to reflect correction

In last week’s story regarding  Chris Ballew, this newspaper inadvertently attributed the following quote from Dale Gronemeir, civil rights attorney, to District Court Judge Fernando M. Olguin. Without malice or forethought, Pasadena Independent made an editing error for which we earnestly express regret. The following was a direct quote from an email attorney Dale Gronemeir sent to this newspaper and NOT from Judge Olguin:

“The judge went out of his way to admonish the city’s attorneys for unprofessional conduct in misrepresenting case authorities by deleting critical qualifying language from a decision, by misrepresenting cases, and by failing to accurately represent what Ballew pleaded – even going so far as to say that ‘[s]uch misrepresentations only undermine the credibility of counsel and of any and all papers counsel submits to the court.’ 

“In 40 years of practice, I have rarely seen such a strong rebuke of counsel by a court; the city’s outside counsel are proving to be an embarrassment to the city and should be fired for their unprofessionalism.”

We apologize for the error and have subsequently removed the quote from our websites and social media accordingly.


In a 22-page U.S. District Court filing on March 29, 2019 Judge F.M. Olguin rebuked the City of Pasadena’s attorneys for unprofessional conduct in the civil rights violation case regarding the Christopher Ballew incident that occurred Nov. 9, 2017, in Altadena.

Ballew filed actions against two Pasadena police officers and then Police Chief Sanchez on a second amendment complaint in April 2018. Ballew was beaten, suffered serious physical injury at the hands of the officers and garnered massive public outcry after a cell phone video of the incident was posted on social media.

Public pressure and outrage over what some called “Pasadena’s Rodney King moment” netted the police department to release body camera footage of the incident from several different angles.

Pasadena’s external attorneys had struggled to get Chris Ballew’s claims thrown out on a motion to dismiss; with one exception (“denial of medical care”), all of Ballew’s claims remain active. The city was unsuccessful in getting itself, former Chief Sanchez, or Lieutenant Bundy out of the case. However, City Manager Steve Mermell’s name has been removed from the filing.

April 3, 2019

About Author

tmiller Terry Miller has been in the newspaper business for 35 plus years, following in the footsteps of his father who was a Foreign Correspondent for the London Daily Telegraph when the family emigrated to New York from London abroad the Queen Mary. When not shooting pictures or chasing a breaking news story, Miller spends entirely too much time and effort with Little British Sports Cars...more like an addiction, his wife of 20 years says.


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