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An Empowering Perspective

African American news from Pasadena - Commentary - Turner's Two Cents on empowering young black malesAlthough I am a devoted parent, I cannot fully imagine the agony that Kendrec McDade's mom and dad have lived with every day since their 19-year-old son was fatally shot by Pasadena Police officers a year-and-a-half ago. Validating and understanding that pain was the opportunity afforded by having Kendrec's father, Kenneth McDade, speak during panel discussions at the Young African-American Male's Conference (YAAMC) last Saturday (September 22) at Pasadena City College.

But as we seek to create pathways of safety and success for African-American boys and men, we must give our youth perspective on their community. Claims of a pattern (or, worse yet, an "epidemic") of police violence in Pasadena do not line up with the facts. As Pasadena Police Chief Phillip Sanchez explained to the Public Safety Committee last month, PPD officers have made 2,931 arrests so far this year. Less than one percent of those arrests involved force. None of the 18 use of force incidents in the first half of 2013 involved a handgun.

We should also remind our young men that leaders in the Police Department and at City Hall have demonstrated their commitment to transparent and independent investigation of complaints. Chief Sanchez called for multiple external investigations into the Kendrec McDade tragedy (including a probe by the FBI). Sanchez also took part in a series of community meetings to publicly discuss the shooting and to explain the department's use of force policies and tactics.

Pasadena Vice-Mayor Jacque Robinson, who chairs our city's Public Safety Committee, recently told the Star News, "The Public Safety Committee and the City Council will continue to hold our chief and the Pasadena police employees to the highest standards of professionalism. The Police Department has demoAfrican American news from Pasadena - News - Romal Tune at Young Black Male's Conference nstrated that citizen complaints will be investigated in a timely manner and that employees will be held accountable."

Including facts such as these in conversations with our young men will give them a clearer picture of their surroundings that will help encourage and empower them. Thanks for listening. I'm Cameron Turner and that's my two cents.

[Contact Cameron Turner at This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it .]




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