PETA filed a petition Friday asking a judge to order the release of records that the animal advocacy group says could show whether Pasadena police cooperated with a man posing as a SeaWorld protester during the 2014 Rose Parade.
The petition filed in Los Angeles Superior Court challenges the city’s decision to reject PETA’s Public Records Act requests for records relating to the protester, who allegedly attempted to incite animal advocates to perform illegal acts and, according to PETA, was recently exposed as SeaWorld employee Paul T. McComb.
A representative for the Pasadena City Attorney’s Office did not immediately reply to a request for comment.
PETA is seeking to uncover the scope of SeaWorld’s relationship with Pasadena police given that McComb, who called himself Thomas Jones, may have informed them of PETA’s plan to have protesters sit in front of SeaWorld’s float during the 2014 New Year’s Day parade, according to the group’s court papers.
Pasadena police appear to have been provided with “advance knowledge of the exact plans regarding the demonstration despite the participants only informing a handful of people of their intentions,” the petition states.
McComb was the only one out of 16 adult protester who was arrested and released without being booked, according to the petition.
In response to PETA’s records requests, Pasadena police initially said McComb was not arrested, despite photographic evidence to the contrary, and that there were no records available regarding him, the petition states.
The department later stated that it would not turn hand over the records, according to the petition. PETA wants to examine the arresting officer’s notebook, which should contain details of any arrest, the petition says.
“SeaWorld continually covers up the suffering of orcas in its concrete tanks, and now we wonder if the Pasadena Police Department is covering up the extent to which it has been used by this particular Sea World spy,” said PETA’s general counsel, Jeffrey Kerr.
“The state of California guarantees the right of access to government records, and that includes the documents that will tell PETA how much time and taxpayer money the city of Pasadena and the Pasadena Police Department have spent catering to SeaWorld’s interests.” PETA’s petition states that all of the protesters were handcuffed, taken to the police station, lined up and ordered to remove their belts and shoelaces.
But while the other protesters were booked, charged and listed in the daily arrest log, McComb was separated from them at booking and released, the petition states.