Pasadena Police explain what they were doing releasing a homeless man in Eagle Rock

It was the Wednesday night before Thanksgiving and an Eagle Rock resident named Steve was walking his dogs down Figueroa Street near Colorado Boulevard when the sight of a police car from neighboring Pasadena caught his eye. Steve watched as the officer released a  homeless man, who appeared to be handcuffed and drunk, from the back of the squad car at about 5 p.m. on Nov. 24  The officer quickly sped away, leaving the homeless man wearing a large jacket standing on sidewalk near the Eagle Rock post office.  Steve was troubled by the sight:

“I was appalled to see a police officer from a neighboring city drop off a homeless person who was very intoxicated into the streets. This poses a danger to the homeless person as well as the general public. It is unbelievable that someone who is supposed to protect and serve just drop their “problem” off in the next city…”

But Pasadena police, which looked into the incident after an inquiry by The Eastsider late last month, said this was not a case of  a homeless person being dumped into another city.

Instead, they said the officer was actually helping the homeless man, who they said was not drunk or handcuffed, return to the location of his choice. In fact, the officer gave the man, who had been picked up in Pasadena after being released from a hospital, $3 for bus fare, said  Lt. Rodney A. Wallace with the Pasadena Police Department

The officer picked the man up near San Rafael and Linda Vista avenues, about a mile east of the Eagle Rock post office,  after receiving a report of a suspicious person. The officer found the man sitting on the ground. “He had been released from the hospital,” Wallace said. “The officer determined that he was not intoxicated. There were no warrants. There was no reason to detain him.”

The man declined the officer’s offer to be driven to a Pasadena homeless shelter. Instead the man said he wanted to get to a bus stop in Los Angeles so he could travel to Encino  “He was not from Pasadena,”  Wallace said.

So the officer drove the homeless man to Eagle Rock, where there is a bus stop in front of the Eagle Rock post office,  in what Wallace described as a “public assist.”

While the incident may have appeared strange to onlookers, Wallace said it was simply a case of an officer helping out a citizen.


  1. I think anyone riding in the back of a police car has to be handcuffed, even while being transported of their own choice. Hats off to this officer whose good deed was misinterpreted.

  2. Great way to cover this up, Pasadena PD!
    I HIGHLY doubt this was a ‘good deed’ as I have personally witnessed an influx of transient individuals roaming around Eagle Rock blocks from Pasadena. THANK YOU, Steve and Eastsider LA for reporting this!

  3. marty,

    I think you’re wrong.


  4. I remember when Rudy Giuliani was giving the homeless $300 and a one way Greyhound ticket to a neighboring state. Now all they get is $3 for bus fare and a ride off city limits?? I guess this economy still has a long way to go.

  5. He insisted on being dropped off at a bus stop “in Los Angeles”? Are the Pasadena bus stops not good enough for this snooty transient? There’s a bus stop at San Rafael and Colorado that’ll take you to Encino. (The 181 bus, I believe.) The cop would’ve had to drive right by it to get to Eagle Rock.

  6. Just protecting property values, nothing to see here. Move along.

  7. @Artie. Can you blame me? It’s the time of year. I wanted to believe in something good. Instead I feel like Homer Simpson. Oh, what’s the use?

  8. No, police are not required to handcuff you if they are simply giving you a lift as a courtesy. Considering they have probable cause to stop you in the first place, they can handcuff you for “public safety” while performing a search/background check. They could have detained this guy in handcuffs as they ran his background, while at the same time allowing him to enjoy the cozy environs of their vehicle. Then, out of convenience, left him in that condition as they agreed to drive him to a bus stop – driving a bit out of their way so the gentleman would have more time to warm his cockles. Lovely! Ah, the holidays…

  9. Maybe LAPD ought to get inspired by this laudable example of holiday “good will” to reciprocate PPD by offering similar “assists” to local gang bangers who might “want to do some X-mas shopping” in Old Town. The officers might even wear Santa hats in this return act of Christmas spirit.

  10. Pasadena police should think twice about doing this again. Next time they should drive to Arcadia.

  11. Pasadena is one of the better cities in LA County when it comes to helping the homeless and the cops in Pasadena are well versed on what services are available for homeless folks. I don’t think this is a case of dumping. And if it was, way would they take him to eagle rock and not downtown?

  12. @doreet: One surmises that the Pasadena PD did it out of convenience, and/or figured no one would notice. Traveling west on Colorado Blvd. from Pasadena, the first bus stop on the Los Angeles side of the Pasadena/L.A. border is the one in front of the Eagle Rock post office, where the Pasadena cops dropped this guy off. As I mention above, however, they had to pass a Pasadena bus stop to get there; in fact, I drove through the area this evening, and noticed that there are yet 2 more bus stops at Melrose and Colorado. These are the last bus stops in Pasadena before the L.A. border with Eagle Rock. Both are well-marked, and within spitting distance of the E.R.P.O.

  13. That area is quickly being a homeless encampment, which I’m sure the Pasadena police had no idea about when they drove a handcuffed homeless person there.

    I do love the story here from Pasadena PD. Apparently they are giving rides to people who they come out to originally investigate! Ha! You can literally hear the hack saying: “The real story is how wonderful our cops are! What a scoop!”

  14. Great cover-up story! So Pasadena PD will have us all believe there’s such a thing as the Tooth Fairy and Easter Bunny!!!

  15. Eagle Rock resident

    I live near Colorado and Fig, and i see homeless people there EVERYDAY! Why are they moving in? Specially by the post office and by McDonalds. Sometimes i feel like i live in downtown l.a!

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