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Pasadena officers who shot unarmed teen did not tape incident

April 16, 2012 | 12:21 pm

Kendrec McDade memorial
Pasadena police officers who fatally shot a 19-year-old unarmed man after a 911 caller falsely claimed the young man had a gun did not record any audio of the incident on personal recorders, officials said Monday.

The March 24 shooting of Kendrec McDade, 19, by officers Jeff Newlen and Mathew Griffin is now the subject of four investigations by Pasadena police, the L.A. County district attorney's office, the county Officer of Independent Review and the FBI.

McDade, a former Azusa High football standout, was African American and the two officers are white. 

Pasadena police have already revealed that because the police car was not rolling in emergency response mode with lights and sirens on, no video or audio of that night's events were captured. The "lights and sirens on" mode automatically triggers recording devices in the police cruiser.

Lt. Phlunte Riddle says neither officer had a personal voice recorder on at the time that would have captured the sounds of the incident.

Caree Harper, an attorney for McDade's parents -- who have sued the officers and the city -- had speculated the officers might have recorded the incident, as many patrol officers do during a violent incident to protect themselves in case of lawsuits.

The March 24 incident began at 11:04 pm. when Oscar Carrillo used his cellphone to call 911.

AUDIO: 911 caller tells police he is robbed

"Two guys just stole my backpack ... just put a gun in my face," Carrillo told the dispatcher in a breathless voice. "It was two guys.... Oh my God."

Carrillo was later arrested for investigation of involuntary manslaughter after he admitted to lying about the gun. He has not been charged.

Officers Griffin and Newlen saw McDade at the intersection of Fair Oaks Boulevard and Orange Grove Boulevard, and as McDade ran north, one officer jumped out of the passenger seat and began chasing him on foot, according to Riddle.

The other officer, driving the police cruiser, sped past McDade, a former high school football player known more for his speed than size.

The officer in the cruiser used his vehicle to block McDade. The driver’s side window was rolled down. As McDade approached the officer, he had his hand in his waistband, police said.

That gesture has long been cited by police officers as one that makes them believe a person reported to be armed may be about to pull out a gun. Fearing for his life, the officer opened fire on McDade, police said. The officer shot several times as McDade stood just feet away.

"It was close range ... less than 10 feet," Riddle said.

The officer who earlier got out of the police cruiser and was on foot "then shot, fearing for the other officer's safety," Riddle said.

The first officer’s cruiser lights were on but he did not have a flashlight or car light shining on McDade at the time he shot.

Police have refused to say where McDade was struck or how many rounds were fired. Neighbors said they heard six to nine shots. Newlen reported the shooting over the police radio seconds later, according to a police report.

The officers tried to maintain McDade’s vital signs, and he was rushed to Huntington Memorial Hospital a short distance away, where he died.


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-- Richard Winton

Photo: Kevin McDade, 14, leaves a message for Kendrec McDade, his cousin, during Kendric's  funeral April 7 at Metropolitan Baptist Church in Altadena. Credit: Christina House / For The Times