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Los Angeles Attorney Files Wrongful Death Claim Against City

March 23rd, 2009 by Temple City Tribune

Attorney Says Pasadena City Cops “Executed” Leroy Barnes

Edi Faal, a Los Angeles attorney, has filed a wrongful death claim against the city of Pasadena regarding the police shooting death of Leroy Barnes on February 19. Faal told the Pasadena Independent Wednesday morning that he is seeking an unspecified amount of damages on behalf of the family of the victim who he claims was executed by two Pasadena police officers.

The case is still under investigation and no documents have been released to the press or attorney(s) despite numerous requests for what many perceive to be public information about this case. Included is the request for a copy of the videotape that a police cruiser dashboard camera took of the incident that left a father of three dead, and a community outraged at the police for what many believe is simply, a murder.

The controversy surrounding the case deepened after the Pasadena police changed their story of exactly how the events unfolded that afternoon. Initially the official story was that Barnes pointed a weapon and fired at officers after the traffic stop. The next day, Chief Bernard Melekian stated this was not the case but that there was a weapon recovered.

The Police dept. handed out a photo to the press of the gun they allegedly recovered from the traffic stop that afternoon when Barnes was killed.

Citing ongoing investigation, the city has refused to hand over any documents/tapes regarding the shooting.

The Independent received this letter regarding the shooting:

From: Mayor Bill Bogaard, City Councilman Chris Holden, City Councilwoman Jacque Robinson

We have heard and understand community concerns arising from the Feb. 19 officer-involved shooting that resulted in the death of Leroy Barnes, and we take seriously any questions regarding the conduct of Pasadena police officers.

A series of internal and independent investigations is underway to review what occurred and to fully evaluate all evidence, witness statements and reports. These well-established processes, which are standard for any officer-involved shooting in our city, are moving forward with a sense of urgency.

It is important for our Police Department, and for all of those touched by this incident, that we let these investigations be completed before passing judgment or drawing conclusions about the department and its dedicated officers.

The internal investigation by Pasadena police will determine whether the actions of the two officers involved in the shooting of an armed suspect complied with all department policies, procedures and training.

Some residents have requested a separate, independent investigation into the shooting. An independent investigation has already been initiated by the Los Angeles County District Attorney’s Office to determine whether the officers’ actions were within state laws.

In addition, Police Chief Bernard Melekian recently requested an independent review by the U.S. Department of Justice through the Federal Bureau of Investigation to determine whether the officers acted in compliance with federal civil rights laws. The call for additional independent review should wait until the above investigations are completed and the findings are made public.

We have been briefed on the investigation and have confidence in the ability of these agencies to seek and examine all available evidence and provide a comprehensive accounting of the tragic event.

Attorney Edi Faal has responded to this letter: The Following is Mr. Faal’s reply:

March 12, 2009

Honorable Bill Bogaard

Mayor, City of Pasadena

100 N. Garfield Avenue

Pasadena, CA 91109

Re: Police Shooting of Leroy Barnes

Dear Mayor Bogaard:

Please be informed that I have been retained by the family of Mr. Leroy Barnes to represent the interests of his daughters, Mayleisha and Anari. I thank you for taking the time to explain to the Community the fact that there is an on-going internal investigation, and that Police Chief Bernard Melekian has requested an independent review by the U.S. Department of Justice.

You correctly stated in your March 6, 2009 memo that all those touched by the incident should “let these investigations be completed before passing judgment or drawing conclusions about the department and its dedicated officers.” Unfortunately, you violated your own advice by describing the shooting victim as an “armed suspect.” Eyewitnesses have stated that Mr. Barnes was not holding any weapon at the time of the shooting. The Police Department has also retracted its initial story that Mr. Barnes exited the car and shot at the officers. Given these factual discrepancies, it is totally inappropriate for you to prejudge or preempt the investigation by stating that Mr. Leroy Barnes was “armed.” We assume your good faith and assume that your error is the result of inadvertence or an innocent mistake. However, to avoid the perception or appearance that you are attempting to influence a key aspect of the investigation, we respectfully request that you withdraw the statement that Mr. Barnes was an “armed suspect.” The matters under investigation include questions as to whether Mr. Barnes was “armed” and whether he was a “suspect.” Mr. Barnes was not the driver of the vehicle. Therefore, one wonders how he could have been the suspect of a traffic violation.

We await your prompt response.

Very truly yours,

Edi M.O. Faal

EMOF/gt

cc: Ms. Detrick Bright

Ms. Mayleisha Barnes

Mr. Nicholas Whitaker

By Terry Miller

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