Thursday’s column (bring the Sheriff’s Department into Pasadena)

Certainties exist in life.

Pasadena officials would have us believe one of those certainties played out at the corner of Washington Boulevard and Mentone Avenue last week: Pull a gun on a cop, expect to be shot.

If that’s what Leroy Barnes did, he deserved to pay with his life.

If that’s what happened.

In public life certainties exist as well. Misrepresentations will cost agencies their reputations.

The Pasadena police department’s reputation is on the line because of misrepresentations.

Did Pasadena police officers involved in the shooting mislead police spokeswoman Janet Pope-Givens and subsequently Chief Barney Melekian?

Or, did Pope-Givens and Melekian mislead the public with their initial statements at the scene?

After the shooting of

Barnes, 37, a parolee with a state prison record that included a conviction for firing at an officer in 1993, Pope-Givens and Melekian both spoke to the media.

Pope-Givens said Barnes was in a car that had been pulled over. She said Barnes got out of the car. She said Barnes fired on officers who shot back and killed him.

A few hours later Melekian said, “It appears from all accounts the officers’ version is correct.” He said the department would release a video of the incident within days.

The next day, the stories changed.

It turns out Barnes did not get out of the car. And he did not fire on officers. As for the video, Melekian said there is a legal challenge that prevents its release.

Which raises other questions:

What should we believe now?

Why hasn’t the Sheriff’s Department been called in to independently investigate?

Certainly the Bulldogs in the Homicide Bureau have the trust of many other communities.

Instead, the Pasadena will handle the investigation on its own and turn over those results to the Los Angeles County District Attorney’s Office and the FBI.

Adding insult to injury, the Police Department ordered a streetside memorial to Barnes dismantled, because it was blocking the sidewalk.

The Pasadena Police Department has lost some of its stature and much of its credibility.

Lacking credibility, what leadership can Melekian offer that would bridge the gap between Pasadena’s hard-working police officers and the community they serve?

What’s to say he won’t be misled again?

It’s time to bring in competent and experienced detectives from the Sheriff’s Department to repair any credibility gap that may have formed.

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  • Joe Citizen

    Typical Star-Rag suspect the cops first mentality that has been the standard at the paper for 30 years. One sentence saying the guy “might” have got what he deserved, the rest playing the “what if” card as usual. I don’t care at all that any miscommunication took place, a gun was found, wasn’t the first time Barnes tried going at it with cops and all you seem to care about is the idiot that died.

    You’ve become a disgrace like the rest of your liberal rag Girardot. If you’re not bitching about cops not giving you enough info you’re bitching about what they do, must be doing a lot of lunches with Wilson.

  • john muir

    The community has every reason to mistrust the PPD. But, the community needs to allow all the facts to made public before a rush to judgment. I live in the NW and want our streets safe from criminals and rouge police officers alike.

    However, it saddens me to see that the only time our community rises up, is when one of us has been cut (shot) down. Where is the same concern and intensity when the acts of violence are black on black, brown on brown or brown on black ect?

    Every man is presumed innocent until proven guilty right? My questions are: What really happened? Why was the car stopped? Why did the police change their statement? And, lastly was Mr. Barnes or the driver in possession of a gun? The latter question is the one that needs to be answered. We often talk about our youth and gun violence. But these were two adults. Mr. Barnes was a father, a son, a brother and a friend too many.

    I say to Mr. Brown and the NAACP to continue pressing the police department for the truth. But, also to Mr. Brown and others after the facts have been deliberated. Dont forget to press our community to change is behavior and mentality. Just up one block from the Pasadena NAACP office you can find several young black men aimlessly hanging out. Mr. Brown how are you going to protect those young men from the idleness of their ways?


    30year old +
    NW Pasadena Black Man

  • NW Older Female

    Not for one minute do I believe that any investigation will show any of the Pasadena Police Department members did anything wrong or out of line. I do know, straight from the mouth of one of those members that, “Sometimes we have to lie to make our case”. I think that says it all. So if they have to lie to make their case, what makes anyone think that this will not also result in a lie to protect law enforcement members. When our average citizen finally gets involved and gets a good look at how things are done, may-be, just may-be, the police will be forced to change the way they do business, but until the average citizen has that personal experience, this is how it is done.