While many Los Angeles County residents ignored the no fireworks order, South Pasadena Police Chief Joe Ortiz said he appreciates those who reside in the city for abiding the law as others outside its borders celebrated the 4th of July with massive outdoor displays.
Like many municipal commercial shows, South Pasadena’s traditional effort at the local high school – part of the community fabric since 1982 – was canceled due to the coronavirus.
In many parts of the county and throughout the Southland, explosions were heard throughout the night, and over the past month. Los Angeles police responded to more than 1,000 complaints coming into branches throughout the city where, like South Pasadena, fireworks are banned.
“We are blessed to have responsible residents in the city who wear their protective masks and socially distance while in public (indoors or outdoors),” said Ortiz, noting that during Saturday’s night shift, officers responded to numerous calls regarding fireworks.
“A majority of the calls had to do with the firework activity from surrounding agencies,” he explained.
Ortiz said no citations or arrests due to illegal fireworks were issued within the city boundaries. “Our residents were aware of the ban on all fireworks within the city Limits and complied with this requirement,” he said. “Even though we had the recent closure of high-risk businesses, recreational sites, commercial properties, and an increase of COVID-19 cases, overall, the 4th of July in the City of South Pasadena was a success.”
He said the morning of July 4th “started pretty slow as officers provided extra patrols as a proactive measure to prevent crime at specified locations throughout the city.”
At 10:00 a.m., Ortiz said his department learned of a planned Black Lives Matter protest in the city scheduled to take place from 11:00 a.m. – 1:00 p.m., initially believing there were going to be a handful of participants walking along Mission Street or the route of the usual Festival of Balloons Parade, cancelled this year on account of the virus.
“On-duty personnel would be able could accommodate a small group as initially planned,” explained Ortiz, noting that at 10:30 a.m. had grown to 40-50 supporters, “and they planned on marching in the streets of South Pasadena. Due to the size of the group, and protestors marching in the street.”
Ortiz said officers scheduled to be off during the holiday were recalled to assist with traffic control. In addition, officers from nearby police departments were also requested to provide assistance during the march.
The peaceful group began their demonstration on the public streets in front of South Pasadena Library, then walked to Garfield Park, before going to South Pasadena High School, then back to the starting point, with Ortiz explaining, “In the end, there were approximately 100-150 participants involved in this demonstration.”
At the conclusion of the demonstration, Ortiz said the crowd “publicly thanked the police department’s officers for keeping them safe during the march and applauded them in public. Both day and night shift watch commanders shared that this year’s 4th of July was a great day with many acknowledgments of appreciation from the community for our service.”