California has a reputation for some of the worst police departments in the country. California Pasadena Police has a history of corruption, abuse of power and fraud.
Misconduct complaints filed by the Pasadena-branch NAACP and lawyer Michael Kraut – who is widely known for prosecuting corrupt cops from the Los Angeles Police Department’s Rampart Division – prompted two investigations in recent weeks.
Pasadena Police Detective Keith Gomez allegedly threatened to kill a suspect in a 2007 murder investigation. The suspect, Jamaul Harvey, was ultimately acquitted of murder. In a signed declaration, an alternate juror who heard Gomez testify said she was convinced the detective manufactured evidence against Harvey.
The Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department Internal Affairs Bureau has taken over an investigation of Gomez’s former partner Pasadena Police Officer Kevin Okamoto, a probe started by the Pasadena Police Department in early April.
On Wednesday, Okamoto was ordered by a judge to hand over 45 audio recordings and notes from interviews that he failed to provide to attorneys in the criminal battery trial of Edward Damas.
Pasadena-branch NAACP President Joe Brown said the Police Department’s lack of transparency following the shooting death of McDade has left him with concerns about any internal probe.
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PASADENA PD ON BRINK OF SUBURBAN RAMPART SCANDAL? COPS ALLEGEDLY BEAT BLACK TEEN JEREMI CARR
Just a few months after unarmed black teen Kendrec McDade was shot to death by Pasadena police officers — we called him “the next Trayvon Martin” — the Pasadena Police Department finds itself in familiar waters.
An ongoing probe into the investigative tactics of Detective Kevin Okamoto and Detective Keith Gomez has uncovered new allegations that the out-of-control cops beat young black man Jeremi Carr, now 24…
… “to coerce him into making false statements” about a 2007 homicide, reports the Pasadena Star-News. (A third cop, Detective William Broghamer, is also named in the alleged beating.)
The victim’s declaration in Pasadena Superior Court is part of a growing pool of accusations against Detectives Okamoto and Gomez.
Pasadena attorney Michael Kraut — who happens to be the same man who ripped the lid off the LAPD’s Rampart Scandal circa 1997, and has since moved on to sniff out dirty cops in suburbia — became suspicious when Detective Okamoto refused to turn over key evidence in a criminal case against his client, Edward Damas.
MORE NEW DIRTY ON THIS CORRUPT DEPARTMENT
In 20 years, Pasadena has overcome much of its gang-infested image to become one of the premier cities of California. As Pasadena has become known for its cultural and architectural landmarks, as well as its renowned Tournament of Roses Parade, local crime rates are at its lowest since a police-enforced crackdown on gangs and crime in the 90s.
But has the drop in street crime only masked the corruption lurking within the city’s own police department? According to a report in the LA Daily Press, Pasadena Police is facing allegations that members of its own force have engaged in kidnapping, threats, withholding of evidence in trials, and other abuses while going after gang members and other criminals.
Recent allegations were spurred by the shooting death of Kendrec McDade in March of 2012. Two Pasadena officers gunned down 19-year-old McDade as he reached for his pants waistband, even though the teen was unarmed, according a City News Service report. A public outcry claimed the shooting of the black McDade was racially motivated and suspicions have been raised since no charges have been filed against the officers in McDade’s death.
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