Police use of force and city redevelopment were hot topics of discussion recently on Alhambra Source. Responses to a report about an ELAC student with Alhambra roots who was shot and killed by police in Monterey Park ranged from anger at the officers’ actions to support of what police allege was self-defense. Readers also debated Alhambra's continuing redevelopment despite the state dissolving redevelopment agencies.
Alhambra Source posted a video of Monterey Park Police officers shooting Steven Rodriguez 10 times after the 22-year-old, who was breaking windows at a Carl’s Jr. at the time, refused to drop his weapon. Police officers say they acted out of self-defense after the man threatened them with a pipe, but readers aren’t so sure.
“Certainly police felt they were in danger & had to shot this man – BUT after he was shot FIVE TIMES & was down – Why was he SHOT FIVE MORE TIMES???” wrote Richard Nieto. “Oh well deadly use of force without accountability; same old same old.”
But others defended the officers and questioned Rodriguez’s actions instead.
“Let's all hold judgement and not condemn either the cop or the dead man until all the investigation is done, the police pull area security camera tapes for investigation, and a toxicology report comes back,” wrote neighbor. “Until, then, let's all be respectful of the dead man's family, the cops involved, and each other.”
“Why would he even go in there to do such a thing? No one gave him the pass card to go into a public place and destroy other people's property and make it unsafe for others,” wrote SGV resident. “Now, because of his irresponsibility as a human being, he put other people in danger, and now he leaves the officer who shot him to live with that for the rest of his or her life.”
Alhambra Source’s decision to post the video, recorded by witnesses who laugh throughout the action, was also questioned. “Who was the insensitive ass who posted this video of him being killed and LAUGHING about it, like it was a freaking joke??” wrote Tommy Wilson-O’Brien. “A family lost a Son, a Brother & Friend and you post a video of people laughing about it… you've stooped to a new low on this paper… TAKE THIS VIDEO DOWN, there is a family grieving the loss of a loved one!!!”
“You feel the editors should be ashamed of themselves. In contrast, my take is that despite the insensitive comments, it would be irresponsible for the Alhambra Source to ignore it when posting this story,” responded neighbor. “Plus, if I were a family member, I would prefer to have this video out there for the world to see and judge for themselves, asinine comments or not.”
Comments on Alhambra’s redevelopment also created tension among readers who were concerned with what role residents will have in deciding which businesses and developments take root now that the city may be in charge of its own redevelopment agency.
“Alhambra was once known as a ‘City of Homes.’ Now it can best be described as a City of Low Rent Apartments,” wrote South End. Nieto added, “Development agencies have overstepped their usefulness & city officials have done little or nothing to reign them in & in the case of Alhambra, the city council gives itself development authority & most development projects are kept hidden until it's too late for citizen input.”
But another reader made a request for the prospective agency. “If any member of the agency is reading this, I ask that you make sure to do ONE thing in regards to Main Street: Make sure that any new building is placed right up to the street,” wrote VinceF. “I love walking on Main Street and I like that urban city feel to it with tall buildings right up against the street.”
“I agree about that ‘urban feel’ you get when walking along Main St,” wrote John Gacis. “Perhaps it's this sense of identity that makes some feel proud of Alhambra.”