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Party-Goer's Side of the Story

October 28, 1990

I have just returned from the court where the charges against me were never filed by the district attorney. Why? Because there were no complaining parties. The police tried to file the charges on four separate occasions, including trying to file downtown after failing to file in Pasadena!! Why? Because they had to cover themselves.

They knew that they had no cause for arrest, the DA proved that. Then you must ask, why were we arrested? The citizen that called the police did not want anyone arrested, even after the police called here at 2 a.m. when they realized that they had no cause to enter the property! The police say that we were disturbing the peace. A direct quote from the district attorney's letter says, "An officer from the South Pasadena Police Department initially went to the neighborhood but left when he could not find a disturbance." He could not find a disturbance!

Your professionals, the police, gave the police report and citizen complaints to the Los Angeles Times (Oct. 4), in violation of confidentiality. If the report was accurate I wouldn't care. For example, the report says that we were intoxicated! How would they know? They did not take field tests nor did they take any tests in the station! Why were we not arrested for intoxication? Is it simply that they saw beer and therefore we were intoxicated! What is going on? They knew we were all adults.

Why did the police feel it was necessary to enter private property? This was a gathering of young adults, all over 21, no minors, to wish a friend well who was going off to college. What was our crime? Everyone at the gathering was South Pasadena born and raised. The police knew all of us. Why was it necessary to force the color of authority on us? Is it because we were not wearing tuxedos or suits or because of our age?

How would you react if the police responded to your house where you are having a gathering for your birthday or promotion or graduation or just drinking beer in your back yard watching television and ordered you to send everyone home including those who were spending the night at your house? Maybe that's OK and the police will not do anything because you are over 40 or 50 or just over 25. Double standard? When does a party become a party? We are all adults, not the typical teen-age party. When I was told to go home, I did. The police report shows that I was arrested on the next block! Why? I was going home like I was told to!

Quoting from the district attorney's office letter, "In addition, subsequent investigation has shown the noise generated by this party was not of a general disturbance to the immediate neighborhood." Not of a general disturbance! Again from the letter, "Therefore, insufficient evidence exists to prosecute the suspects. . . . " Insufficient evidence! In case you were wondering, let me further quote from the letter, "At no time did the suspects challenge the officers to fight." No challenge to fight!

There is so much more that I could get into, like excessive force and why do the police who are sworn to protect us, turn over to the press information that they know is confidential? Are they fighting because they are afraid they will be exposed to a civil rights lawsuit? Now add libel and slander to that list. Perhaps they are just trying to strike fear into the hearts of anyone trying to file a complaint against them. When a report was being filed, the person was threatened with arrest! Others wanted to file complaints but they were afraid to! Think about that!

Suffice to say, please don't judge us until you have all of the facts. I am an adult responsible for my own actions. If I were not the son of the city manager, would the police still be this interested in me?

I felt that someone had to witness the outrageous physical and mental abuse given to us by the police. Someone had to witness it, but the police would not allow us a phone call!

I had no intentions of taking the issue any further. After the fiasco circus that the police association and their attorney put on at the City Council meeting Wednesday night, I have to wonder. The president of the police association was present at the scene. Why is he so afraid of an investigation?

I, as a resident of this community, am the target of attack by our own police. Why, because I filed a complaint against them? I did absolutely nothing wrong. No charges! If I did not believe in what I was doing, I would not have filed. Now I must pay the price. Am I afraid? Yes!

JOHN BERNARDI JR.

South Pasadena

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