Photo: FLLewis/A Writer’s Groove — Burbank Police patrol car
A new controversy is causing more debate and concerns about the Burbank Police Department. This time, the questions are being asked about the actions of Burbank police officers involved in that dramatic pursuit/suspect shooting last Monday, March 29, that ended near Universal City.
Television news video of that incident has focused nationwide attention and more scrutiny on the troubled BPD already reeling from lawsuits and investigations brought on by charges of discrimination, civil rights violations, and excessive-force allegations. Also, the department is struggling to recover from the suicide of Burbank Sergeant Neil Gunn Sr. last fall, which has been linked to the turmoil in the department.
The suspect, 30-year-old Steve Satterly, was on the run in a stolen SUV Monday afternoon. Police say Satterly was wanted in Indiana on suspicion of attacking his pregnant ex-girlfriend. The CHP was in hot pursuit of Satterly on the freeways, but Burbank police took over the chase once the suspect hit city streets.
On Barham Boulevard near Buddy Holly Drive, the suspect reportedly tried to maneuver around traffic and a Burbank police officer fired at the driver’s side window. There’s a lot debate about whether this shooting tactic was necessary and whether it put the lives of nearby motorists and officers at risk.
A short time later, Satterly abandoned the stolen vehicle and tried to make a getaway on foot not far from the entrance to Universal Studios. Several shots were fired at the fleeing suspect by two Burbank police officers. Satterly was wounded, arrested, and taken off to a local hospital where he has been listed as being in stable condition.
In describing the incident before the Burbank City Council on Tuesday night, Police Chief Scott LaChasse says the suspect was “…hit in the side.” LaChasse declared there would be a lengthy department review of the tactics and the use of force in this incident. Also, the Los Angeles District Attorney’s office is investigating the tactics used by the police officers as well.
Burbank Police Spokesman Sergeant Robert Quesada told me the officers involved in that controversial shooting have been “…temporarily re-assigned to desk duty pending a preliminary investigation.” Sergeant Quesada did not identify the officers, but another source did provide me with the names. On this blog, I have mentioned the names of officers connected to the Burbank police scandal or “mess” as it’s become known. So I’m going to use the names of the Burbank police officers involved in this controversial chase/shooting. They are Larry Hill and Kitty McDonald. Their names have appeared on Jim Carlile’s blog, which has some interesting posts and lively debate about the incident.
The Los Angeles Times has a good write-up about the incident, the investigations, and what some crime experts think about the tactics used by those Burbank police officers.