Man sues Pasadena police, calls for firing of 2 officers who beat him 5 years ago

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Thursday, December 22, 2022
Man calls for firing of 2 Pasadena officers who beat him 5 years ago
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A man is suing the Pasadena Police Department and demanding the firing of two officers who beat him five years ago during a traffic stop in an encounter captured on video.

PASADENA, Calif. (KABC) -- A man is suing the Pasadena Police Department and demanding the firing of two officers who beat him five years ago during a traffic stop in an encounter that was captured on video.

In November 2017, Chris Ballew was pulled over for tinted windows by officers Lerry Esparza and Zachary Lujan.

"The moment that a light was shine on me, and I knew that I was being targeted because they could see who I was," Ballew said Wednesday at a press conference.

The incident escalated, and Ballew says he was beaten by police for no reason. He suffered a broken leg and facial injuries.

Video showed as the officers punched and used a baton to hit Ballew, then 21, while he was on the ground.

Police claimed they felt threatened.

Ballew is now suing the Pasadena Police Department.

"His conduct was innocuous, and he never posed any threat to the officers," Ballew's attorney John Burton said.

A judge said there is evidence the stop could be considered racially motivated. He says that out of 197 documented traffic stops, 44% were Black and 55% Latino.

Ballew's attorney says the two officers are still working.

"After 3 1/2 years of so-called internal investigation, they were 100% exonerated by the Pasadena Police Department," Burton said.

Ballew's family says this case is about accountability.

"Every officer is not a bad apple or bad, but there are some that are bad and for those who are bad, they need to be punished," Ballew's mother Sonya Ballew said. "They're not above the law."

The city of Pasadena says it can't comment because of the pending lawsuit. The case is scheduled to go to trial on April 25.

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