The following statement is from Ramona Ripston, executive director of the ACLU of Southern California:
The Pasadena Police Department today released the report of the Los Angeles Office of Independent Review examining the shooting of Leroy Barnes by two officers of the Pasadena Police Department on February 19, 2009.
The ACLU of Southern California and its Pasadena/Foothills Chapter had called for an independent review of the PPD’s own investigation of the Barnes shooting, and we believe the OIR’s final report proves the value of this additional inquiry. We applaud PPD Chief Bernard Melekian for his recognition of the importance of this review in providing both policy recommendations to the department and reassurance to the community of an outside review, and we urge Pasadena City Council to adopt it.
The report by the OIR gives the PPD positive marks in many aspects of its handling of the investigation, including, importantly, the overall effort to provide transparency to the community about the shooting and subsequent investigation. However, the OIR also identifies serious concerns about some aspects of the PPD’s conduct, including the tactics used by officers in approaching the car that Barnes was in; the use of leading questions by investigators questioning the officers involved; and the lack of attention by the department’s investigators to prior shooting incidents involving the same officers. Addressing these and other concerns raised in the OIR’s report will improve PPD tactics and also the safety of officers, suspects and members of the community.
We are gratified that Chief Melekian has said that his department accepts these recommendations, and that he will provide the City Council’s public safety committee with specific steps that the department will undertake to address them. Chief Melekian has also indicated that the department and the Pasadena city manager will recommend to the council that an analysis be conducted by the Office of Independent Review in all future officer-involved shootings resulting in injury or death. The ACLU/SC continues to likewise recommend such a policy.