Will More Dominoes Fall in the Pasadena Police Department?
With a history of alleged and confirmed misconduct, the Pasadena Police Department witnessed one of its own get taken into custody by federal agents after an investigation lasting over a year. Vasken Kenneth Gourdikian, a Lieutenant and Former Spokesman for PPD, was finally arrested on Friday morning, March 2nd, 2018. on counts which include falsifying ATF documents, selling guns illegally, and having possession of an unregistered Sig Sauer model MPX 9mm short-barreled rifle, as reported by CBS Local News.
It is reproted that Gourdikian engaged in the unlicensed sale of 107 weapons and could face up to 35 years in federal prison. In February of 2017, approximately 60 guns were recovered in a raid on Gourdikian’s Sierra Madre home. Since then, he has been on paid administrative leave from the Pasadena Police Department. With a federal indictment, the former lieutenant now faces trial and is expected to be released on $100,000 bail.
Feds say investigation such as this are commonly sparked by guns confiscated in crimes so soon after their last official purchase. This could implicate that many of the guns Gourdikian allegedly sold illegally, ended up in the hands of other criminals. I guess the real question is, "Who else did he sell all those guns to?".
As if the Pasadena Police Department aren't making the news enough, all of this comes just months after a video of PPD officers Lujan and Esparza caught beating an innocent Black man at a gas station, goes viral. In late 2017, the two Pasadena Police officers confront a young man at a Mobile gas station over not having a front license plate. Within seconds, the officers end up beating the man and breaking his leg with a baton. Despite the outcry from many locals and activists, the officers involved in the incident remain on duty and are still assigned to patrol predominately Black neighborhoods and events. When Chief of Police, Phil Sanchez, was asked about the insensitivity of his choice of deployment, he ironically responded by stating the officers had the right to "due process".
With a community still in fear and disgust over the recent deaths of Reggie Thomas, Kendrick McDade, and Leroy Barnes at the hands of Pasadena Police, it is now even harder to imagine anything less than complete reform of the department to bring back public trust.
"Out of all the gangs in the area, the Pasadena Police are the most deadly.", said a resident of Pasadena's Northwest neighborhoods.