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Parents of unarmed man killed by Pasadena police sue city [Updated]

April 3, 2012 |  5:20 pm

The parents of an unarmed college student fatally shot by two Pasadena police officers filed a wrongful-death and civil-rights lawsuit against the city Tuesday, alleging the officers never saw anything resembling a gun, never yelled any commands before opening fire and handcuffed the dying man.

Kendrec McDade, 19, was shot March 24 shortly after 11 p.m. when police Officers Mathew Griffin and Jeff Newlen pursued him on a dark street after a 911 caller alleged the young man and a 17-year-old stole a backpack from his car at gunpoint. The caller later admitted lying to police about the pair having guns.

Attorney Caree Harper sued the department in U.S. Central District Court on behalf of McDade's parents, Kenneth McDade and Anya Slaughter, alleging the death was wrongful and that the department has sought to cover up events.

Harper said that the 911 call by Oscar Carrillo was "suspicious and ultimately felonious," but that the officers also made an independent decision to shoot McDade.

"Neither officers nor witnesses saw anything in Kendrec McDade's hands, no bulges in his closely fitted sweater, no bulges at his waistband and no shiny objects," Harper wrote. "Neither officer yelled any commands to identify themselves that evening and they did not have lights and sirens."

The lawsuit alleges McDade was still alive after being shot multiple times and, according to witnesses, tried to speak with an officer and then was left on the street for a prolonged time period without treatment.

Police officials have said one officer, whose patrol car had cut off McDade as he ran north, fired when he saw McDade's hand in his waistband, believing the Citrus College student was reaching for a weapon. A second officer who had given chase also opened fire, fearing for his colleague's safety, spokeswoman Lt. Phlunte Riddle said.

Police arrested Carrillo, the 911 caller, last week on suspicion of involuntary manslaughter, saying he lied to dispatchers in reporting he had been robbed at gunpoint. But the lawsuit alleges the department knew two days earlier that he had lied after Carrillo admitted to police he made up the story because he was angry and wanted officers to respond.

[Updated, 6:13 p.m.: Late Tuesday afternoon, Carrillo, who had been on a federal immigration hold because authorities believed he was in the country illegally, was released with electronic monitoring.]


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-- Richard Winton