Confirmation of a lingering rumor of an off-duty Pasadena Police Sergeant allegedly intoxicated and running from California Highway Patrol (CHP) has shocked some in Pasadena, but others believe there is no accountability for Pasadena Police Officers.
Last week, Conversation Live first reported in this publication video and audio of Pasadena Police Sgt. Michael Gligorijevic’s actions during a DUI investigation. CHP officers had to track Gligorijevic through the thick low desert brush, being cautious of poisonous snakes and wildlife in search of Gligorijevic moments after he refused to submit to a lawful contact by CHP Officer Annett.
DASH-CAM video footage and audio captured the 10-minute criminal investigation. An uncooperative Gligorijevic is seen running away from CHP Officer Annett–prompting a 20-minute manhunt by 10 additional responding backup officers. The footage shows officers searching with their unholstered weapons at the ready.
According to a report written by Annett and obtained by Conversation Live, here’s what happened.
On a blistering hot night, back on July 11, 2020, at 8 pm, Officer Annett noticed two adult males and a female standing outside of a Jeep parked on a dark remote two-lane San Francisquito Canyon Road between Saugus in Santa Clarita and Leona Valley with the engine running - approximately eight miles from the nearest residential corridor. After making contact with Gligorijevic, Annett wrote in his report:
“I noticed the odor of an alcoholic beverage on Gligorijevic’s breath and his person. I asked Gligorijevic who was driving and he pointed to Passenger #1. Passenger #1 lowered his head. I asked Passenger #1 if he was the driver and he stated 'No, I’m not the driver'. I looked back toward Gligorijevic and asked him again, 'Who’s the driver?' Gligorijevic raised his left hand as if to indicate he was the driver. I told Gligorijevic, 'You just pointed at him'. Gligorijevic did not verbally respond, he just reached his left hand into his left pocket and removed a handful of miscellaneous cards. Gligorijevic presented his REDACTED identification card and his driver's license, identifying himself as Michael Kevin Gligorijevic REDACTED."
The DASH-CAM video shows that Gligorijevic put his hand in his pocket after Annett told him to take his hand out of his pocket. Annett asked Gligorijevic “if he was armed?” Gligorijevic is heard on audio saying “yes". Gligorijevic pulled up his shirt and displayed his firearm in a holster secured to his waistband along his right hip, the report read.
Annett's report continued, “I told him I was going to remove his firearm". Gligorijevic responded. “Stop bro, the guns right here dude. Stop it. Stop it. Stop it. We’re not going to come close to doing this.”
Disobeying Annett’s order to stop, Gligorijevic removed his holster (with his right hand and with the firearm) and placed it on the front right passenger seat.
Annett wrote about his fear of the situation. “At this point, Gligorijevic handling the firearm put me in a vulnerable position and made me uncomfortable.” Gligorijevic left the right door open, allowing access to the gun to both Passenger #1 and Passenger #2.
Suspecting that Gligorijevic was intoxicated, Annett radioed dispatch to urgently send back up “code four". “You can have as many units come here, nobody’s doing FSTs (Field Sobriety Test), nobody’s doing shit.” Gligorijevic can be heard in the audio, further escalating the encounter.
A few minutes later, Gligorijevic is seen on video running away from Annett.
Passenger #1, has been identified as Pasadena Police Lieutenant Sean Dawkins.
Dawkins was not the subject of the DUI investigation, nor is it alleged that he committed any criminal act on the night of the incident.
Public reactions about the video and criminal prosecution can be summed up as "Gligorijevic receiving preferential and differential privilege afforded to Police officers' conduct–on or off-duty, even more so, when it involves the police–policing themselves." Said Los Angeles resident Barry Black via email.
“Adding, and when they do their job–like in this case–investigate each other, the courts showed him a favor. Why, because police, at times seem above the law."
Pasadena Police Code of Conduct Policy
The question of whether either Gligorijevic or Dawkins’ conduct violated department policy can't be publicly answered. The department is prohibited from discussing by law.
According to the Pasadena PD Code of Conduct Policy, an officer is required to report "criminal, dishonest, infamous or disgraceful conduct adversely affecting the employee/employer relationship, whether on- or off-duty." And, that "failure of any employee to promptly and fully report activities on their part or the part of any other employee where such activities may result in criminal prosecution or discipline under this policy."
By policy, officers, violating any misdemeanor or felony statute are subject to disciplinary action.
Then, Chief John Perez would have determined if the actions of Lt. Dawkins and Sgt. Gligorijevic violated department policy. Perez would have also taken into account the recommendations from Internal Affairs investigation and Command staff recommendations.
The final decision on any or no discipline would solely be the Chief's final ruling.
According to information publicly available online, both of the Pasadena PD officers have maintained the same rank today, as they held before the incident.
In 2020, Sgt Gligorijevic earned $302,212.44 and Lt. Dawkins, $335.443.46 in salary and benefits.
Sgt. Gligorijevic and Lt. Dawkins are both still employed by Pasadena PD.
Meet Pasadena Police Department Officers Sgt Gligorijevic and Lt Dawkins
Gligorijevic or “Mike G” has been with the Police Department for 17 years beginning his career in 2003 according to the Pasadena PD Facebook post recognizing the 2020 Police Week appreciation celebration.
Before promoting to sergeant, Mike G worked in Patrol, as a School Resource Officer, Gang Unit, SWAT, Motorcycle Division, and as a Field Training Officer. As a Sergeant, he's worked in the Professional Standards Unit as a hiring Sergeant. Currently, Sgt. Mike G is assigned to the Traffic Section as the Supervisor.
Sean Dawkins joined Pasadena PD in 2004 and has worked Patrol, Special Enforcement, was a SWAT team leader and Gang Investigator. A lieutenant since 2014, Lt. Dawkins is assigned to the Field Training Officer Unit. As the supervisor of the unit, his duties include being a role model, clearly communicating the expectations of training, teaching the trainee(s) the policies of the department, correctly applying concepts learned in the classroom to field training operations, and evaluating the trainee(s) on his or her progress in the program.
City Leadership is Quiet, but not Council Member John Kennedy
District 3 Council Member John Kennedy said in an email response to a request for comment by Conversation Live “...I was alerted by someone in the City that the referenced incident had occurred. For weeks I requested, as did one of my City Council colleagues, information from City staff, including then-City Manager Steve Mermell, about the incident. In each instance I was, we were, informed that no information could be shared because it was a personnel matter.
Kennedy was referring to District 1 Council Member Tyrone Hampton. Both council members have repeatedly called for more police accountability and oversight. “The video is troubling and disturbing. I would simply ask the question does the behavior and or conduct of the PPD officers involved comport with their training to become POST certified, field certified, and being sworn members of the Pasadena Police Department.” Kennedy continued in his email. “In my view, the whole incident is an opportunity for the Pasadena Community Police Oversight Commission to provide their input and recommendations on what to do. I am interested in what the Commission may have to say.” Kennedy concluded via email.
“There’s not a whole lot the commission can do without interfering with the officers’ confidentiality in the personnel files,” Pasadena’s former Independent Auditor Brian Maxey said in the November Commission meeting. The commission’s scope does not allow it as a body to get involved with personnel decisions, “or why someone is still working or why someone hasn’t been disciplined in some respect,” City Attorney Michele Beal Bagneris said.
City Manager Cynthia Kurtz confirmed via email through a city representative “Cynthia was aware and the City has taken appropriate action but since this is a personnel matter we can’t make any further statements.”
Requests for comments via email from the Mayor and other council members were not returned at the time of publishing. Calls to the Pasadena Police Officers Association were unreturned.
The following excerpt was taken from court transcripts obtained by James Farr of Conversation Live:
Gligorijevic was charged with PC 23158a PC 273a 25140 PC 148. On December 20, 2020, Gligorijevic entered a guilty plea to PC 148 in San Fernando Court.
Court records show he was offered a diversion and ordered to stay out of trouble for six months, and his case would go away. The Judge “So I want to make sure you're very clear that this is all you have to do, not do anything else, (and) the case goes away.”
Gligorijevic’s attorney “Here’s the issue, his employment–there is a risk to his employment.
“I just want to note, that for the defendant's knowledge, this is an offer that is only coming because of the new administration and that he’s very fortunate the situation landed in this time frame, because given his occupation and what he does and what the consequences of this could have for him. There are no other circumstances other than the new administration coming in where this would have been the arrangement that was extended. Is it connected to the “risk to his employment.” the court said during proceedings...
Sgt. Gligorijevic is quoted on the department's Facebook about his most rewarding position in the police department was being a field training officer. Gligorijevi [sic] stated “(It’s) where I was able to teach and mold the young men and women who will shape the future of law enforcement.