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Chief orders review of all cases handled by two Pasadena cops

February 27, 2013 | 10:53 am

 Pasadena police station.

Pasadena Police Chief Phillip Sanchez has ordered an independent review of cases involving two officers whose conduct during a murder investigation resulted in a mistrial declaration.

Los Angeles County Superior Court Judge Larry Fidler ruled Feb. 7 that officers Kevin Okamoto and William Broghamer made “egregious errors” during their investigation of a 2007 drive-by shooting and failed to turn over evidence that favored a suspect put on trial for murder.

The probe will include an audit of all detective bureau cases handled by Okamoto and Broghamer dating back to 2005, Sanchez said.

Sanchez did not immediately know the number of cases involving the officers over that time.

Investigators will also review other cases as part of a broader look at department policies for tracking evidence and filing police reports to evaluate whether protocols are appropriate and consistently followed.

“It’s all-encompassing. We’re looking at systems and looking at cases to find out if there are weak points and how to correct them, and if there are strong points and how to strengthen them,” Sanchez said.

The probe will be handled by Veritas Assurance Group, a Valencia-based company founded by a former Los Angeles police captain who helped create the LAPD’s Audit Division in 2001.

Okamoto is on paid administrative leave and Broghamer has been reassigned to a non-investigative unit. Okamoto also faced allegations of hiding evidence in another case last year.

Those and other misconduct claims prompted Sanchez to order a probe by the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department Internal Affairs Bureau that remains ongoing.

In a statement, Mayor Bill Bogaard said the investigations are intended to “ensure that the residents of Pasadena have confidence in our Police Department.”

Sanchez, who took charge of the department in 2010, vowed to investigate past conduct by Okamoto and Broghamer immediately following Fidler’s ruling on the drive-by murder case.

In court, an attorney representing a man accused of being the getaway driver successfully argued that Okamoto and Broghamer failed to disclose that a witness had initially fingered someone else for the crime.


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— Joe Piasecki, Times Community News

Photo: Pasadena police station. Credit: Raul Roa/Pasadena Sun.