Longtime custodian detained at Pasadena school, stirring outrage

Posted on

A longtime custodian at a Pasadena elementary school was handcuffed and detained by the Pasadena Police Department on Sunday following reports of a possible burglary, stirring outrage from school officials and prompting an investigation into how law enforcement handled the matter.

Police responded to a call of a suspected burglar at San Rafael Elementary School around 8:30 a.m., said Marcia Taglioretti, acting commander and public information officer for the Pasadena Police Department.

In a recording of the 911 call shared with The Times by Lisa Derderian, public information officer for Pasadena, a caller phoned in reports of “somebody scaling a fence” at the back of the school and carrying what looked like a backpack and a bag. The caller described the person as being possibly a “tall female” or a male, adding that it was “hard to tell,” and told the operator the person “looked white” and in their 20s or 30s.

“I don’t know if there’s anything to it, but I just thought I would report it,” the caller said initially, and soon added that “it doesn’t look good.” Before hanging up, the caller said that “it could be very innocent.”

When officers arrived, they found the back door of the school open, Taglioretti said. They came across a male who identified himself as the custodian. Because officers were responding to calls of a suspected burglar, they handcuffed and detained the man, who told officers to call the school’s principal to confirm his identity, Taglioretti said. According to KCBS-TV Channel 2, which first reported the story, the man had been working at the school for 14 years and was wearing his uniform at the time of the incident.

Police confirmed the custodian’s identity in a call with the school principal, Rudy Ramirez, who said that the custodian was working overtime. The custodian was released, and police performed a final sweep of the premises before leaving at around 9:10 a.m., Taglioretti said.

The custodian’s name is being withheld at this time, said Hilda Ramirez Horvath, a spokesperson for the Pasadena Unified School District. Ramirez Horvath declined to give any details about the custodian’s ethnicity.

A security official from the California Metro Patrol, a firm contracted by the school district, was also on the scene. According to a report filed by the officer and provided to The Times by the Pasadena city manager’s office, Ramirez eventually arrived on campus visibly upset and expressed harsh criticisms of how the situation unfolded, suggesting that race was a factor.

The report quotes Ramirez as saying, “I bet if he was white he wouldn’t have been treated like that” and used an expletive to dismiss the “nosy … white neighbors.” The report also says that Ramirez described that when “white kids” trespassed onto and vandalized school property, no one called.

San Rafael Elementary is located in a predominantly white and affluent area, according to Census Reporter, an independent organization that collects and simplifies data from the U.S. Census Bureau.

In a statement, Brian McDonald, superintendent of Pasadena Unified, called the incident “deeply concerning,” and said that the Pasadena Police Department and Cynthia J. Kurtz, Pasadena’s interim city manager, are investigating.

“I have concerns about the manner in which the PUSD employee was apprehended and the way he was treated,” McDonald said in the statement. “I also have questions about misstatements possibly made by the individual who called the police.”

Derderian said officials are expediting the review process to determine whether responding officers followed proper protocol, and that body camera footage worn by the responding officers could be released as early as Tuesday.

“Our intent is to release a video to show exactly how it unfolded, and we would hope that people wait to see the actual video before speculating about this incident,” Derderian said.

Police confirmed that the body camera footage is being reviewed, and said they were not sure whether there was surveillance footage from the school that could support the initial 911 call.

Ramirez Horvath, the district spokesperson, did not immediately provide additional comment Tuesday.

Jasaseosmm.com Smm Panel is the best and cheapest smm reseller panel Buy Tiktok Verification for instant Instagram likes and followers, Buy Verification Badge, Youtube views and subscribers, TikTok followers, telegram services, and many other smm services. telegram, and many other smm services.