Story by Sofia Alva
Photo by Oscar Walsh
Local activist groups Care First South Pasadena, Black Lives Matter (BLM) South Pasadena, the Anti Racism Committee, and the South Pasadena Tenants Union are calling on the City Council to commission a third-party investigation into the SPPD due to alleged bias against women, people of color, young people, the LGBTQ+ community, and BLM activists.
Tensions between community members and the SPPD have heightened following its ineffective responses to Joe Richcreek, who spat and threw a rock at two BLM protestors. SPPD’s failure to arrest or reprimand resident Richard Cheney, who drove onto the sidewalk at Fair Oaks Avenue and Mission Street right near BLM protestors, and Trump supporters, who assaulted a minor on Sunday, Nov. 1 during a pro-Trump rally, have also led to community backlash. Residents also voiced outrage about SPPD Police Chief Joe Ortiz’s invitation to the community to attend a prayer event sponsored by the American Society for the Defense of Tradition Family and Property, an anti-LGBTQ+ and racist hate group.
Ortiz released a statement apologizing for the planned event, and it never happened. The SPPD did not respond to Tiger‘s request for comment.
The demand for the City Council to investigate the SPPD has also gained support from SPHS students.
“On the corner of Fair Oaks and Mission alone, there have been numerous attacks and assaults just in a matter of months,” junior Ava Dunville said. “This investigation [into the SPPD] needs to happen to show that our city does value accountability across all departments. The SPPD should have nothing to fear if they’ve been upholding and defending the mission statement and core values of their department.”
Those who wish to add their name to the joint public comment should contact Will Hoadley-Brill at email@example.com by Nov. 18 at noon.