“No to secrecy” in Pasadena Police Chief selection process

I’m going to reprint the Star-news editorial from this morning here, because it’s an appropriate call for open government in a process that has  so far been a perversion of California open public records law:

WE applaud Pasadena City Manager Michael Beck for convening a second, more inclusive and open police chief selection advisory panel.

Criticized by many in the community, including ourselves, for keeping his initial panel shrouded in secrecy, Beck apparently now sees the real need for openness in city government.

Perhaps the city manager had to scramble a bit to finally understand the reasons such openness is important. And we do strongly wish that the names of those on the original committee had been made public, the same as every other commission and committee in City Hall, before its members met, not after. But Beck can’t unring that bell. It would seem that he has heard the criticism, and responded in an appropriate manner.

One of the most telling things to come out of the after-the-fact naming of those who did serve on the panel was the panel’s clear lack of economic and geographical diversity among its members – a front-loading of insiders and bureaucrats with not even a sprinkling of regular folks.

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iPod Touch taken in Pasadena street robbery

This kind of stuff makes you wonder if the kids should be carrying around expensive phones:

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PASADENA – Police believe robbers in an SUV robbed a man of his wallet and $110, then tried to rob another man less than an hour later.

At about 8:45 p.m. Tuesday, a passenger in the SUV robbed a 38-year-old Pasadena man at Fillmore Street and Los Robles Avenue, taking $110.

At about 9:12 p.m., a person in an SUV tried to rob a 33-year-old man walking on Fillmore near Oakland Avenue, said police Lt. Rodney D. Wallace.

“The victim turns out his pockets to show he didn’t have a wallet,” Wallace said, and the robber then got back into the vehicle and left.

In an earlier, unrelated incident, a man with a knife approached a teenage on Wright Avenue and Mountain Street at about 7:52 p.m. Tuesday and demanded money. Police said the robber took the teen’s iPod Touch and $20.

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Up-scale prostitution ring broken up in Pasadena

PASADENA – Authorities have broken up what they’re calling a “high-end,” multi-million dollar prostitution ring that used expensive apartments in Pasadena and Irvine and employed numerous female prostitutes, officials announced Wednesday.

Pasadena police’s Special Investigations Unit and U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement agents worked for two years investigating the alleged ring, arresting six people and seizing cash, automobiles, jewelry and other property, officials said in a news release.

Police identified two of the main suspects as Li Chen, a 32-year-old female of Temple City, and Thanh Ly, a 35-year-old male from Temple City.

They were described as leaders of the ring. Both were booked on suspicion of pimping and pandering. Each was being held on $2 million bail.

An anonymous call left on a tip line led to the discovery of the ring.

“Prostitution is not a victimless crime, as some would argue,” Interim Chief of Police Christopher Vicino said in a news release. “It negatively impacts the quality of life and the very fabric of the community. The neighborhoods and apartments where these crimes were committed will ultimately be safer for the families that live in them.” 

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Attorney protests Sirhan move

This from the AP. Sirhan lived in Pasadena. His brother Munir maintains the family home near Muir High School:


LOS ANGELES – An attorney for the man who assassinated Robert F. Kennedy said Monday his client was transferred from a prison that houses high-risk offenders to a new facility where his life could be in danger.

Attorney William F. Pepper said Sirhan Sirhan opposed the move from the state prison in Corcoran, which houses high-risk prisoners such as Charles Manson, to Pleasant Valley State Prison in Coalinga.

“Our main concern is for his safety,” said Laurie Dusek, an associate of Pepper. “We are not sure that Pleasant Valley has the ability to protect him. He is a target.”

Pepper said he has new evidence and wants to reopen Sirhan’s case.

Oscar Hidalgo, a spokesman for the Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation, said Sirhan, 65, had requested the transfer and wants to stay in Pleasant Valley.

“After discussing his hesitation with prison officials at Pleasant Valley, Sirhan Sirhan indicated he wanted to stay at the new facility after all,” Hidalgo said. “He can indicate if he feels unsafe at any point and the department will respond appropriately.”

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Pasadena cops get a pass from DA in Barnes’ shooting

From reporter Dan Abendschein:

The two police officers who shot and killed 38-year-old Pasadena resident Leroy Barnes in February will not face any criminal charges from the county, officials said Wednesday.

The Los Angeles County District Attorney’s Office concluded its investigation Wednesday and notified the Pasadena Police Department of that finding, writing that the officers acted in “lawful self-defense.”

“This analysis must also allow for the fact that officers are often forced to make split-second judgments, about the amount of force that is necessary, in circumstances that are tense, uncertain, and rapidly evolving,” said the report’s conclusion.
Barnes, a parolee, was shot 11 times, including seven times in the back, after officers pulled over a car driven by Emeka Edwards on Mentone Avenue on Feb. 19. Barnes was a passenger.

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PCC assault reported

This from the PCC Courier:



A female student was assaulted Tuesday night on Tennis Hill Drive between 8:40 and 8:50 p.m. 

According to PCC Chief of Police Peter Michael, the woman was walking down Tennis Hill Drive when she thought she heard footsteps from behind her. When she turned around she saw a man she described as about 5 feet 6 inches, between 160 and 200 pounds and wearing a hooded sweatshirt, police said.

The woman described the attacker as having a dark complexion with a goatee and with his hood on. The man allegedly grabbed the woman and pushed her against a wall. While holding the victim, the attacker pulled out a box cutter, which he held to her neck and told her not to yell, police said.

The man ran his hand down her side onto her buttocks. The woman then pushed the man away at which point a struggle ensued, said police.

During the struggle, the woman’s face hit the concrete wall and she sustained a scrape on her cheek, said police. Also during the struggle, the man cut the woman with the box cutter on the left side of her chest, between the chest and shoulder area.

The woman managed to free herself and ran eastbound towards the center of campus. Campus police were contacted and a report of the incident was taken. 
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Governor issues statement on Melekian resignation

Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger today issued the following statement congratulating Barney Melekian after he was appointed director of the Office of Community Oriented Policing Services (COPS) by U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder:

 

“With years of experience, Barney Melekian possesses the essential knowledge needed to serve in this new role as director of COPS. As chief of the Pasadena Police Department, Barney has worked day and night to protect his community and I am confident that he will continue to do the same on the national level. On behalf of all Californians, Maria and I congratulate Barney on this tremendous accomplishment.”

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Busy day in the SGV

Deputies shoot a burg suspect in Azusa;

Shooting in Rosemead leaves six injured; one gravely;
Dead woman turns up in Morris Dam; Sheriff’s dive team headed up Highway 39 to search for second car
Housekeeper accused of burg string that extends over a decade;
Monrovia man arrested in connection with San Bernardino County homicide;
Suspected “Baby Boomer” Bandit caught in Pasadena.
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Torture charge leveled in death of Pasadena toddler

The District Attorney’s office will charge a Pasadena couple with murder, torture and methamphetamine possession after a two-year-old was found dead in their home, officials said Thursday.


Maria Palaez, 29, and her boyfriend Gabriel Diaz, 32, both of Pasadena, are being held in lieu of $2 million bail and will be arraigned today on charges of murder and torture., Los Angeles County District Attorney’s Office spokeswoman Sandi Gibbons said.

Here’s the DA’s complaint:

The undersigned is informed and believes that: 

COUNT 1

On or about August 18, 2009, in the County of Los Angeles, the crime of MURDER, in violation of PENAL CODE SECTION 187(a), a Felony, was committed by GABRIEL DIAZ and MARIA JESUS PELAEZ, who did unlawfully, and with malice aforethought murder RENE T., a human being.
“NOTICE: The above offense is a serious felony within the meaning of Penal Code Section 1192.7(c) and a violent felony within the meaning of Penal Code Section 667.5(c).”

* * * * *

COUNT 2

On or between July 18, 2009 and August 18, 2009, in the County of Los Angeles, the crime of TORTURE, in violation of PENAL CODE SECTION 206, a Felony, was committed by GABRIEL DIAZ and MARIA JESUS PELAEZ, who did unlawfully and with the intent to cause cruel and extreme pain and suffering for the purpose of revenge, extortion, persuasion and for a sadistic purpose, inflict great bodily injury, as defined in Penal Code section 12022.7, upon RENE T..

It is further alleged within the meaning of Penal Code 12022.7(d), that defendant personally inflicted great bodily injury on RENE T. who was under the age of five years.
* * * * *

NOTICE: Conviction of this offense will require the defendant to provide DNA samples and print impressions pursuant to Penal Code sections 296 and 296.1. Willful refusal to provide the samples and impressions is a crime.

NOTICE: The People of the State of California intend to present evidence and seek jury findings regarding all applicable circumstances in aggravation, pursuant to Penal Code section 1170(b) and Cunningham v. California 2007 U.S. LEXIS 1324.

I DECLARE UNDER PENALTY OF PERJURY THAT THE FOREGOING IS TRUE AND CORRECT AND THAT THIS COMPLAINT, CASE NUMBER GA077659, CONSISTS OF 2 COUNT(S).

Executed at PASADENA, County of Los Angeles, on August 20, 2009.

_____________________________________
G. CURRY
DECLARANT AND COMPLAINANT


STEVE COOLEY, DISTRICT ATTORNEY

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