Taisyn Crutchfield (LinkedIn)

Pasadena community leaders are calling upon Pasadena Police Chief Eugene Harris to do the right thing and embrace the work of rookie officer Taisyn Crutchfield for standing up and doing what is right rather than penalize the young officer for calling into question the actions of her fellow officers.

Pasadena Police released body camera footage of an encounter between Pasadena Police and the family of an Altadena man killed by sheriff’s deputies that has led to a lawsuit being filed against the Pasadena Police Chief Eugene Harris (Harris is African American) and the City of Pasadena.

The incident occurred on February 20, 2023.  During the incident, Pasadena police detained and handcuffed Carlos Towns, his mother Barsha Knox and a minor identified as CT2 on Walnut Street and Marengo Avenue, near the Pasadena police station.

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The lawsuit, which was filed on behalf of the family, against the City of Pasadena alleges civil rights violations, including excessive force. It was filed last Friday in U.S. District Court in Los Angeles on behalf of Towns, Barsha Knox and a minor identified as “CT2.”

Community leaders including members of the Pasadena NAACP, members of the Pasadena clergy and civic officials are defending Officer Crutchfield for her actions in trying to de-escalate the situation.  The lawsuit infers a conspiracy by police to silence the young officer, who was at the scene of the incident.

The lawsuit alleges that the rookie police officer Taisyn Crutchfield intervened when Officer Ralph Palacios began approaching Knox. Palacios then pushed Crutchfield and told her not to “f**king touch” him, the lawsuit states.

Two other officers are also on scene with Knox. Crutchfield, who arrived on the scene later in the video, appears to attempt to move Palacios away from Knox.   Palacios tells Crutchfield several times not to “do that.” A supervisor tells them to move away from each other and orders both back to police headquarters.

The lawsuit claims a conspiracy is now in the works to fire Crutchfield because of her intervention and her race (Crutchfield is Black). The lawsuit alleges that Crutchfield was later placed on administrative leave and is facing termination for her actions.

Police departments do not discuss personnel matters.  Crutchfield is not a plaintiff in the lawsuit but has retained legal representation.  It is not known if Palacios is on leave.

Community leaders are preparing a letter to be sent to the police chief, mayor and members of the city council asking for a meeting and encouraging the police to support Crutchfield for “standing up for what is right and trying to de-escalate the situation between the police and the Towns family.

“This is the kind of community policing that we need and should support, and we should not see a young officer penalized for trying to do what’s right in trying to de-escalate an already hostile situation,” stated Jacques Bolton, a local pastor and resident of Pasadena.