If you ever just listen to the Pasadena Police talk about the Pasadena Police and their relationship with the Northwest section of the city, three things will always come up. Gangs, guns, and the 1980s. The Pasadena Police Department still views the area the exact same way it did in the 1980s. A time when cocaine had become the main factor in the streets and young Black men were making police officer's monthly salary in a day. Young men were lined up in every parking lot in the King's Manors selling rock cocaine and people were scared to drive down Summit Ave, north or south of Washington Blvd.
Pasadena today is nothing like the 1980s. In the 1980s there were known drug houses in the neighborhood. People were pulling up, jumping out, and going to buy drugs. You could ride down Sunset St or Raymond Ave and see that there was gang activity going on. Young Black men from Pasadena were killing young Black men from Pasadena.
in the 1980s, Pasadena police officers would hop out and run you down. If they couldn't catch you, they would wait until they saw you again and get you. There were a lot more guns on the street. There was a lot more money in the community. There was much more crime on the streets, yet and still, there wasn't a worry of the police killing you. They might beat you for making them chase you, but killing wasn't part of the game. The police were respected as police and the police respected the streets enough not to shoot you in the back because you were getting away.
Pasadena today is nothing like the 1980s. Today Black men fear the police because the police roam Northwest like there are drug houses and gang-bangers on the streets. You can drive down any street in Northwest Pasadena and you won't see anyone hanging out on any street looking like gang members or flagging their colors. If you are from Northwest you know what the kids claim, but the streets don't reflect that. La Pintoresca Park doesn't reflect that.
In the 1980s you wouldn't see a white or Mexican person in La Pintoresca Park. Now the park reflects a community of diversity. Some of the people who go to that park have been utilizing it for decades. The police don't know that because they don't police in the community, they police the community. They ride by and smirk at the park-goers like they are in the movie Colors.
In the 1980s the police had reasons to fear the men in the streets because Black on Black crime was an everyday episode on the news. I lost a dozen friends through drugs and gang violence in the 1980s and 90s. Not to say that those crimes don't still happen, but right now that's not what you see in Pasadena too often.
The officers need proper training that will be conducive to this community during this time. The vision of Anthony McClain on the ground bleeding out is sickening when I know that could have been avoided when Anthony McClain exited the car, had there been proper police tactics during the entire incident for a vehicle code violation.
Anthony McClain would be alive today if the Pasadena Police Department had better training. Reginald Thomas would be alive today if the Pasadena Police Department had better training. Kendrec McDade would be alive today if the Pasadena Police Department had better training. So many more would be alive today if the Pasadena Police Department had better training.
These modern officers don't understand the community when they get here and what they are taught is that Northwest is where most of the guns, drugs, and crime occurs, but Pasadena Police Officer Vasken Kourdikian had over 100 illegal guns at his East Pasadena home.
The Pasadena Police Department needs to be reconstructed. Chief John Perez is a good man, be he isn't the man for this job and Steve Mermell is a spineless city manager who is totally disconnected from the city he manages. He can't possibly care about Pasadena when he doesn't live in the city he controls. Yes, he controls it all, not the mayor. He doesn't care if police are killing Black men in Pasadena when he lives 30 miles away in a neighborhood with very little diversity. He won't even release the name of the officer who killed Anthony McClain. He has never done anything to appease the people in Northwest. It's obvious that he views Northwest through the same lens as the police department. He can fire the murderous officer today without talking to anyone about it, just like he hired Chief Perez by himself.
They cannot police a community through an archaic lens that dates back almost 40 years. Pasadena has changed and maybe it's time that the police department changed with the times.