Attorneys clash in McDade case

The two sides feud over lawyers' behavior during deposition of a witness.

  • Attorney Caree Harper, center, and family members of Kendrec McDade attend a rally in front of Pasadena City Hall. NAACP organized the rally in response to the Kendrec McDade shooting.
Attorney Caree Harper, center, and family members of Kendrec McDade attend… (Cheryl A. Guerrero / Staff…)
July 14, 2012|By Adolfo Flores, adolfo.flores@latimes.com

Accusing each other of “threatening behavior” and being “childish,” attorneys on a case stemming from the Pasadena police shooting of unarmed teen Kendrec McDade have become bogged down as they interview witnesses.

Lawyers representing Pasadena in the McDade family's wrongful death suit say they were locked out during a June 25 witness interview by Caree Harper, an attorney for the family, who threatened them with arrest.

Harper, meanwhile, said counsel for the city verbally abused a court reporter and said she wants the city to pay her $3,300 for the time she spent responding to the city's request that she be sanctioned.

Kendrec McDade was shot by two Pasadena police officers late on March 24 after resident Oscar Carrillo called 911 and said two men had brandished weapons and stolen items from his car in Northwest Pasadena.

Shortly afterward officers Mathew Griffin and Jeffrey Newlen caught up with McDade on a dimly lit street.

They shot him seven times as he approached a police car, according to the Los Angeles County Coroner's Office. That night, police arrested another teen who later pleaded to charges related to robbery.

Days after the shooting, Carrillo told investigators he lied about seeing guns in order to get a quicker response from police.

Pasadena police, the FBI and others are investigating the shooting. Separately, the family filed suit against Pasadena police in federal court.

Attorneys in the case were attempting to interview Carrillo at Harper's law office at the time of the flare-up.

In court papers, attorneys for Pasadena said Harper refused to allow attorney of record Kevin Gilbert, an assistant city attorney and a Pasadena detective to attend Carrillo's deposition together.

Harper locked the entire Pasadena team out of the conference room after Pasadena Assistant City Attorney Hugh Halford called her “childish.”

Harper wrote in court papers that she asked Gilbert to choose only one city representative for the deposition. In an email, she also accused Gilbert of speaking to the court reporter in a threatening manner “and then being physically aggressive with me … we feel it is similar to some of the police officer attitudes of aggressiveness toward minorities on the Northwest side.”

Gilbert wrote that Harper had no right to deny his colleagues access to the interview and expressed concern that the city's notes and documents were in the conference room for 45 minutes while they were locked out.

“Efforts to resolve the issue amicably were ultimately concluded when [Harper] threatened to call the police and/or building security and institute a citizen's arrest,” Gilbert wrote.

Two depositions of Los Angeles County coroner officials have yet to be completed in the case. The next court hearing is scheduled for Aug. 3.

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