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Pasadena police facing several complaints, the latest alleges violence

Pasadena Police Chief Phillip Sanchez, April 6, 2012.
Erika Aguilar/KPCC
Pasadena Police Chief Phillip Sanchez on April 6, 2012.

Another complaint against Pasadena police officers has been turned over to the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department for investigation.

Last week, defense attorney Micheal Kraut filed a complaint accusing three Pasadena detectives of forcing Jeremi Carr, 24, against his will to go to the police station, where they handcuffed and roughed him up during an interview about a 2007 murder case. The incident happened four years ago.

Detective Kevin Okamoto, William Broghamer, and Keith Gomez are named in the complaint.

“Detective Okamoto, according to Mr. Carr, gave him information about a homicide and wanted him to tell another detective on the record that statement so that it appeared to be coming from a witness,” Kraut said.

The complaint states Carr refused to do so and asked to contact a lawyer, but was not allowed. Carr was then handcuffed and Broghamer “slammed him to ground on his chest, neck and face” and put a knee to Carr’s back. Carr was then released.

The next morning, Carr checked himself into Huntington Hospital where he was treated for injuries to his body.

The Pasadena Police Department tells a different story. Spokeswoman Lt. Phulante Riddle said Carr was arrested that night for an attempted murder. She said a sergeant working at the office, but not in the interview room, said he didn’t hear any type of loud voices or altercation. Riddle said Carr made a complaint about the beating, but never met with police about it.

“He did not return any of the calls. The detective sergeant did speak with his mother whom stated that ‘Yes, I’ve given him the messages,’” she said.

She said a letter was sent to him October 2008 with no response. Riddle said since the complaint has been submitted again this month, the case is now reopened.

Kraut said Carr came to him with the story and after interviewing Carr, turned it over to the police department. Kraut has filed a several complaints this year against the Pasadena police officers. It all began in April after Kraut learned Okamoto had withheld evidence and threatened his client, Edward Damas, who faces criminal charges for a 2009 restaurant fight in Pasadena.

Kraut said after several newspaper stories about Pasadena police misconduct, he got a call from a man named David Miranda who retired from the department after 24 years as a crime scene investigator and also worked with Okamoto.

“He informed me that Detective Okamoto had told him in a case to hide evidence in a case and he felt very uncomfortable about it,” Kraut said.

Okamoto is on paid administrative leave right now. A judge as ordered him to hand over evidence to Kraut in the Edward Damas case. That case is due back in court in September.

This is one of a number of cases against the department.

Another attorney has filed a civil lawsuit on behalf of Damas claiming civil rights violations. That same attorney filed another lawsuit against the PPD on behalf of another man, Matthew Deuel who says he was assaulted and falsely arrested by an officer.

Finally, Pasadena resident Jamaul Harvey has also filed a complaint against Cpl. Keith Gomez for allegedly threatening to kill him during an interview.

Gomez is one of the Pasadena police officers named in the wrongful death lawsuit filed by the family of Kendrec McDade, 19, who was shot and killed in March by police.

This story has been corrected. The original story stated Michael Kraut is Jeremi Carr's attorney. He is not.