Assembly members Sebastian Ridley-Thomas, Bonnie Lowenthal and Reginald Jones-Sawyer convene at Assembly Select Committee on Mental and Behavior Health in response to the July 1 CHP beating of pedestrian Marlene Pinnock. (Kenneth D. Miller Photo)
Assembly members Sebastian Ridley-Thomas and Reginald Jones-Sawyer Respond to Marlene Pinnock CHP Freeway Beating
In response to Brotherhood Crusade Chairman, Los Angeles Sentinel and L.A Watts Times Executive Publisher, Danny J. Bakewell Sr.’s and other community leaders’ demand for an independent hearing into the beating of Marlene Pinnock by a California Highway Patrol officer was held on July 20 at Southern Missionary Baptist Church in West Los Angeles.
Bakewell held a press conference on July 10 requesting that an independent investigation into the July 1 beating that happened on the Santa Monica Freeway.
In response to that request, assembly members Sebastian Ridley-Thomas and Reginald Jones-Sawyer heard public testimony from behavioral and mental health experts and law enforcement officials examining police procedures for interactions with mentally ill people.
“We are trying to make sure that folks are clear [that] their government is responsive to the needs of those who are concerned about safety,” Ridley-Thomas said.
He explained that the community advocacy piece is the reason why the hearing was being held.
“If it wasn’t for community groups of strong and engaged guidance such as Mr. Danny Bakewell in particular, then we would not be having this conversation,” he said.
Three panels of experts testified to the Assembly Joint Hearing and the Assembly Select Committee on mental & behavioral health chaired by Ridley-Thomas. Plus, Assembly Select Committee on Justice Reinvestment co-chaired by Jones-Sawyer. The meeting was held at Southern Missionary Baptist Church in Southwest Los Angeles.
“What brings us here today is the July 1st beating of a woman who may have been suffering from a mental health episode or crisis and the series of events that led her to have a violent interaction with a California Highway Patrolman. Our purpose today is to examine the entirety of the systems and structures in place within California to find the point where levels of law enforcement, persons with mental illnesses, and providers of mental health services intersect,” Ridley-Thomas said.
Jones-Sawyer, co-chair of the Assembly Select Committee on Justice Reinvestment and chair of the Assembly Budget Subcommittee on Public Safety said, “We’ve spent the last two years trying to correct two generations of public policy that criminalized persons suffering from mental illness. It’s time for California to get smart about crime prevention, mental health intervention, and behavioral health rehabilitation.”