Pasadena police chief resigns after video showing officer breaking Black man’s leg goes viral
On Monday, Chief Phillip Sanchez of the Pasadena Police announced his retirement amidst a storm of controversy, according to the LA Times.
Most recently, Sanchez has been under fire since civil rights groups and local residents became aware of police body cam and bystander cell phone footage that showed Pasadena police beating a Black motorist and slamming his head into the pavement.
Sanchez wrote in a statement that his resignation will be effective April 18, and it took “much deliberation and careful thought.”
“Putting on the Pasadena police uniform every day has truly been a humbling experience,” Phillip Sanchez wrote. “I am proud of the progress we have made as an agency during my tenure.”
Sanchez noted the department’s new Body Worn Camera program, community outreach and diversity hires and training as proud moments throughout his past eight years as the city’s lead officer.
“My wife, Deborah, and I are blessed to have a large family and after a 38-year-career in law enforcement, I look forward to spending time with all of them in the years ahead,” he continued.
Sanchez’s note did not mention the controversy that sparked his resignation, nor any of the other offenses that have caused many to call for his termination.
The brutal video
Pasadena Police initially claimed that things became violent when motorist Christopher Ballew, 21, refused to cooperate with police and attempted to grab a baton from an officer.
But witness accounts and cellphone video immediately told a different story.
Ballew reportedly drew attention from police when they noticed that he had no front license plate and that he had illegally tinted windows, according to City of Pasadena Spokesman William Boyer.
In the video, two unnamed officers attempted to subdue Christopher Ballew, 21, at a gas station after witnessing him commit “multiple traffic violations,” Pasadena Now reported.
The video also shows one officer hitting Ballew’s right leg, while the other officer hits Ballew repeatedly and violently slams his head into the pavement.
Ballew was taken to the hospital, and was arrested for assault on a police officer as well as several unspecified misdemeanors.
Ballew claims that he suffered a broken leg because of his treatment at the hands of Pasadena police. He has filed a claim for damages against the city of Pasadena, the Police Department, Chief Phillip Sanchez, and the two officers who have yet to be publicly identified.