Press Release

NAACP Condemns Brutal Use of Force by Pasadena, California Police

December 21, 2017

BALTIMORE (December 21, 2017)—The NAACP issued the following statement regarding the brutal use of force against a Pasadena man by the Pasadena, California Police Department.

According to a report from the LA Times and video footage available online, Mr. Christopher Ballew, an assistant director at a marketing firm, who drove an expensive car, was detained and met with repeated blows from fists and batons and left bloodied with a broken leg. Christopher Ballew repeatedly asked for the commanding officer but instead was forced to the ground and brutally attacked.

“We can see enough from the video to demand that these that these officers face charges for assault. It’s unconscionable that the mere fact of driving an expensive car while Black becomes a legitimate cause for harassing and detaining African Americans in the 21st Century,” said NAACP President and CEO Derrick Johnson.

The NAACP remains disturbed by the fact that it was only public pressure that forced police to release the video footage a month after the event happened. Last year police killing of Reginald Thomas, a young African American man led to Pasadena police agreeing to wear body cameras for the first time.

Last year a city commissioned report showed that African-Americans in Pasadena make up around 11 percent of the population and often felt “under siege in their neighborhoods and alienated from the Pasadena Police Department.”

The full Report can be found here:

The NAACP will continue to work with its California State Conference President Alice Huffman and the Pasadena Branch President Delano Yarbrough to fully investigate this issue and push for changes in the way police departments in the state and nationally engage communities of color.

The NAACP is scheduled to hold its 49th Annual Image Awards in Pasadena for the 5th year in a row, but for the first time on January 15, 2018, the federal holiday honoring the birthday of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.

“This is not the first instance of police violence against African Americans by the police force in Pasadena and we have a responsibility to our membership and communities of color as a whole to ensure that the locations we choose to visit or support economically with our dollars are not only transparent in their application of the law and justice but also value both our presence and the lives of people of color,” added President Johnson.