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Rapid Response Alert - Pasadena, CA

MOBB United for Social Change Demands Reforms of the Pasadena, CA Police Department Based on a History of Deadly Force


On November 9, 2017, Christopher Ballew, a 21 year-old male, was violently assaulted by two police officers in Pasadena, CA. The November incident was the fifth incident of police brutality in Pasadena in as many years. Clearly, the Pasadena police department has a pattern and practice of use of excessive force that has resulted in death and serious bodily injury; it is in dire need of reform.

Pasadena police officers claim they were pulling Mr. Ballew over for numerous traffic violations. Mr. Ballew claims he was pulling into a gas station parking lot, unaware that the officers were directing him to pull over. A bystander at the gas station recorded the incident on a cell phone. The video shows a struggle between Mr. Ballew and a police officer over a police baton. A second officer then strikes Mr. Ballew with his fist and continues punching even after Mr. Ballew is knocked to ground. As he covers his head, prone on the ground, the first officer repeatedly strikes his leg with a baton. Mr. Ballew’s leg was broken during the encounter.

Mr. Ballew’s case is reprehensible but it is only the most recent incident of the Pasadena police department using excessive force. College student Kendrec McDade was killed by police officers in 2012 followed by the shooting of Paris Holloway in 2013. In 2016, police officers killed Reginald Thomas, a father of 8 who struggled with Bipolar Disorder and was well known to law enforcement as facing mental health challenges. Mr. Thomas called for help but instead was tased twice, restrained and died while being restrained. Mr. Thomas’ family are still seeking justice for his unjust killing.Then, in 2017, prior to the incident with Mr. Ballew, officers shot Matthew Hurtado.

After the killing of Mr. Thomas, the Pasadena police department opened an administrative investigation but given the history of incidents and now the brutal beating of Mr. Ballew, such an investigation is simply too little, too late. While we commend the Pasadena City Manager, Steve Mermell, for stating his intention to publicly release any video from the body and vehicle cameras, the city of Pasadena must immediately address this disturbing pattern of violence and reform its police department.


Call To Action

#ProtectThem by demanding reforms of the Pasadena Police Department.

Contact the city officials below and state the following:

  • Request the immediate firing of the two officers involved in the beating of Mr. Ballew
  • Insist the LA County DA bring charges against Law Enforcement Officers (LEO), particularly the identified LEO who was responsible for Mr. Thomas' death in 2016
  • Demand installation of a permanent, independent auditor for the Pasadena police department
  • Call for review and reforms of the Pasadena police department’s policies on use of force, use of investigatory stops,use of racial profiling and request the initiation of implicit bias and de-escalation training for all officers
  • Institute a new policy requiring the city seek an outside, independent investigation of uses of force by officers whenever those incidents result in injury or death

Steve Mermell, Pasadena City Manager
[email protected]

Phillip Sanchez, Pasadena Police Chief



M.O.B.B. United for Social Change, Inc. is a nationwide coalition of moms who are dedicated to making the world a safer place for Black boys and men by eradicating harassment, brutality and unwarranted use of deadly force by law enforcement against our sons. The group was born out of frustration over the deaths of Alton Sterling, Philando Castile in Minnesota and numerous other innocent Black boys and men killed by police before and after them. It has grown into a mobilized force of moms determined to make a difference. We aim to influence both policy and perception that impact how Black boys and men are treated by law enforcement.