Tell SMPD: Remove Officer E. Navarro as Beat 3 Pico Neighborhood Resource Officer!

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Coalition for Police Reform Santa Monica
Coalition for Police Reform Santa M… signed this petition

In April 2015, Santa Monica Police Department (SMPD) Officer E. Navarro was involved in an altercation in the Pico Neighborhood's (Pico) Virginia Avenue Park with African American Santa Monica resident Justin Palmer.  Before the park closed at 11pm, Mr. Palmer was waiting to use the 24 hour-electric car charging station.  The following details were taken from media statements or Mr. Palmer's testimony:  Although he told the officer he needed to charge his car for just a few minutes to take his daughters to school the next morning, officers R. Fujita and Navarro advised Mr. Palmer to leave the park.  When he declined to leave, the officers utilized "physical control techniques" and, according to Mr. Palmer, handcuffed him, leading him to fall and hit his head, then also pepper sprayed him.  Mr. Palmer asserted this conduct was injurious, and, in 2016, a federal jury awarded him a verdict, against Officer Fujita for excessive use of force, in the amount of $1.1 million.

Although the jury did not find against Officer Navarro, it is undisputed that he was present and involved in the incident that ultimately resulted in the jury verdict.  Mr. Palmer received monetary damages, but neither officer nor the City of Santa Monica (the City) assumed moral responsibility for the consequences of the incident.

Accordingly, many Pico residents have reported that they feel uncomfortable and mistrustful of an officer who, following the incident and the verdict, continued to patrol in Santa Monica, including in Pico.  Moreover, in 2019, without consulting Pico community members, SMPD assigned Officer Navarro as Neighborhood Resource Officer (NRO) for Beat 3, which incorporates the very location of the incident that was the subject of the lawsuit.  NRO's are responsible for addressing "community livability issues," including community outreach and hosting and attending community meetings.  Pico residents have reported grave concern about this assignment, and are unwilling and, in some cases, fearful about community engagement with an official they deem threatening.  At community meetings on this matter, the City and SMPD have turned deaf ears to residents' condemnation of Officer Navarro's appointment as Beat 3 NRO and to their request for his reassignment.

The undersigned petitioners strongly urge that the City and the SMPD respect the Pico residents' concerns and assign Officer Navarro to an alternative Beat.