Altadena residents question force in arrests

ALTADENA – Sheriff’s deputies arrested five people, tasing one, after a standoff between residents and deputies from the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department.

Deputies from the Altadena Substation responded to a call of gang loitering and loud music near the intersection of Sacramento Street and Raymond Place in Altadena on Monday night.

Anthony Jackson, 28, Diondri Mills, 19, DeShawn Hayes, 18, Brianna Triplett, 20, and Dominique Zavala, 22, were arrested on suspicion of trying to incite a riot, according to law enforcement reports.

Mills was tased during a dispute with deputies, sheriff’s officials said. The Sheriff’s Department insists the use of a Taser on Mills happened during a tussle between him and a deputy, but witnesses said Mills was handcuffed when he was tased.

Sheriff’s Lt. Roosevelt Johnson interviewed the deputies involved in Monday’s incident and said Mills provoked the tasing.

“He wasn’t handcuffed when he was tased, he was fighting with the deputy,” Johnson said.

Mills was detained after a verbal exchange between him and a deputy, officials said.

A crowd of men and women cursed the deputies and began to close in, prompting the deputies to call for backup, said Lt. Marjory Jacobs of the Altadena Substation.

Pasadena police arrived with additional patrol cars and a helicopter hovering above the scene. The hum of the helicopter and buzz of activity woke Perry Smith, who lives on Raymond

“There was at least seven cop cars outside my house and helicopters,” Smith said. “I didn’t hear any shots, but it sounded like something serious was going on outside.”

One resident on Raymond Place, who spoke on the condition of anonymity, said the nightly ritual of young men and women hanging out on the corner sharing beers and conversation rarely produces much more than raucous laughter.

“Most of these kids – the oldest person up there is probably 18 or 19 years old, maybe there are a few in their 20s – I think it’s them getting their kicks,” the man said. “We have had problems in the past, but the sheriff’s deputies usually come in there and break it up.”

Raymond Place and Sacramento Street are tucked near the southeast corner of Mountain View Cemetery. The street is littered with Newport cigarette packs and cigarette butts.

The young men and women on Sacramento Street pass the time leaning up against the cars, conversing and rolling marijuana-filled blunts.

Each night they drink beers and play music; and what might look like a gang gathering is from from it, according to one long-time resident.

“I lived in that area for 20 years and I wouldn’t call it gang activity, which I see as guys getting shot, selling drugs or getting killed,” the man said. “On the surface it may seem like gang activity, but it’s just a bunch of young kids with no direction.”
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