Carrying lighted candles and signs with the names of other Black and Latino men and one young woman who have died at the hands of Pasadena police since 1993, 100 or more residents and onlookers rallied last night at Pasadena’s City Hall to protest the shooting on March 24th of Azusa resident Kendrec McDade.
Pasadena police officers, who thought McDade and his 17-year-old companion had just committed robbery at gunpoint, reportedly shot McDade as he reached for his waistband when cornered by one of their patrol cars on a darkened street. Under questioning, the robbery victim, Oscar Carrillo, admitted he had lied about being robbed at gunpoint to the 911 operator to get quicker police response.
With tensions high, especially in Pasadena’s Black community, after the painfully slow police investigation of Trayvon Martin’s shooting in Florida, a coalition of community groups organized the City Hall rally. Prominent among the event’s organizers and speakers were Martin Gordon of the Pasadena Community Coalition, Joe Smith of the local NAACP chapter, Kwazi Nkrumah of Occupy LA and Occupy the Hood, and Michelle White of the local ACLU chapter.
Carree Harper, the McDade family attorney, told the crowd she had filed a wrongful death lawsuit against the Pasadena Police Department on the family’s behalf. “We love our police. We love the 90 percent of the police officers who do their job right,” she said. “But the other 10 percent — and you know who they are — we need to push them out.”
Kendrec McDade’s grandmother and parents — Kenneth McDade and Anya Slaughter — were front and center at the event, she holding her son’s picture and he telling how his other children are now afraid of the police.
“Never in a million years did I think I would wake up Saturday morning and get the information I got,” said Kenneth McDade. “Someone has to be held accountable”
Pasadena Police Chief Phillip Sanchez and his officers are meeting with community leaders again today in an ongoing series of talks that began shortly after the shooting.LA Progressive contributor, Richard Packard, attended one of the community sessions and had this to say, “The information Chief Sanchez presented was nothing I hadn’t already heard on the radio or read in the newspaper, I got the feeling that this meeting was more of a “sanitized version” of what happened, and an exercise in “patronizing” the Pasadena African American constituency over a highly charged incident similar to the events happening in Sanford, Florida.”
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