|Pasadena branch NAACP president Joe Brown, left, and Pasadena Police Chief Phillip Sanchez, right, listen to concerned resident Pastor Jean Burch during informational meeting about recent racist graffiti.|
Sanchez said the graffiti from the second incident might have been marked on the planter as far back as a week before it was reported to police.He asked the community for help in solving the crime.
“I know there are some folks out there that have tagged and disgraced our community,” Sanchez said.“I believe there are people in the community that might have seen something,” he added.
While the meeting was called to give the community some insight into the investigation
|Long Time Resident Penny Grant|
of the recent hate crimes in Pasadena, much of the time was spent promoting Pasadena youth programs. The YWCA, Day One, the Police Athletic League and Outward Bound Adventures were among the nonprofit groups who touted their roles in the community. The presentation of the nonprofit groups came after Sanchez’s update on the investigation, but before those gathered were allowed to ask the police chief questions. “The reason for this was we wanted the community to know that there are organizations that are doing things with children,” said Joe Brown, Pasadena-branch NAACP president and one of the main organizers of Saturday’s event. “But we want people to know that we stayed here until the last question was asked so the community was able to get all the information available from the chief. (The NAACP) believes this was a very successful event.”Among the questions asked by audience members were two inquiries into the exact racial slurs used in the graffiti.
Seeking not to offend, Sanchez shared that information with the resident in private.
But as community members gathered to dig into the reasons behind the racist graffiti, those working closely with Pasadena youth worried about the response to the vandalism.
Since the Aug. 8 graffiti incident, young men in Northwest Pasadena have taken to patrolling their own neighborhoods, said Ricky Pickens, director of prevention and intervention services at the Flintridge Center. The issue didn’t come up during Saturday’s meeting.
Pickens has pleaded with young men for an end to the “patrols.”
“Leave it up to the Police Department, Pickens said. “It’s too soon to react, it’s too soon to rush to judgment.” Pickens worries that the patrols could lead to violence and intensify tensions in Northwest Pasadena, where many black and Latino residents – especially gang members – have historically been rivals. Sanchez echoed Pickens concerns.
“When people take matters in their own hands they can make things worse,” Sanchez said.
And these patrols and the racists graffiti comes as sources in Northwest Pasadena point to increased gang tagging by both the Pasadena Denver Lanes and the Villa Parke Boys, according to several sources in the community.
Northwest Pasadena community members said the tensions on the street are coming to a boil.
And while residents in Northwest Pasadena worry that flaring gang tensions could lead to a rash of violence, Pasadena businessman and former City Council candidate Robin Salzer said the gangs themselves have a role in solving the problem. “You need an ongoing vehicle of dialogue that encompasses teens and community leaders from every ethnic group,” Salzer said. “Community meetings are great, but sometimes they don’t accomplish their goal.” A sit down between city leaders and the gangs is the best solution for the tagging issue, Salzer said.
|Businesswoman Debera Penman|
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