Mother of Kendrec McDade, teen shot dead by Pasadena police, calls for criminal charges against officers

Kendrec McDade's mother says officers who shot him should pay.

  • FILE PHOTO: Anya Slaughter holds a photo of her son, Kendrec McDade, at a rally outside Pasadena City Hall last year.
FILE PHOTO: Anya Slaughter holds a photo of her son, Kendrec McDade, at a… (Cheryl A. Guerrero / Staff…)
June 18, 2013|By Joe Piasecki, joe.piasecki@latimes.com

The mother of Kendrec McDade -- the unarmed teenage robbery suspect fatally shot last year by Pasadena police -- stood on the steps of Pasadena City Hall on Tuesday to call for the criminal prosecution of the officers who killed her son.

Anya Slaughter’s words came a day after the 911 caller who lied about being threatened with a gun the night police shot McDade, 19, agreed to plead guilty to misdemeanor false reporting charges in exchange for a 90-day jail sentence.

“I’m not focused on Mr. Carrillo, I’m focused on the officers that actually took my son’s life,” Slaughter said. “What Mr. Carrillo did was wrong, but it doesn’t excuse the police officers for shooting an unarmed man.”

Dale Galipo, Slaughter’s attorney in a federal civil rights lawsuit against the city, said Carrillo’s conviction “has no effect on the responsibility of the police officers or of the city in the shooting of Kendrec McDade.”

Carrillo had been facing up to 4 1/2 years in jail before pleading guilty in exchange for the 90-day sentence on Monday.

“That’s 90 more days than any police officer is going to get for killing him,” said Galipo, who described the McDade shooting as part of a pattern of injustice in which police do not face penalties for shooting unarmed suspects.

“Too many police officers are trigger happy and going too far,” Galipo said. “The reaching for the waistband excuse is getting old.”

McDade was shot during a brief pursuit in Northwest Pasadena on March 24, 2012, by Pasadena police officers responding to Carrillo’s 911 call.

In December, investigators with the Los Angeles County district attorney’s Justice System Integrity Division concluded that officers Jeffrey Newlen and Matthew Griffin had acted lawfully in shooting McDade.

McDade had initially fled from police and then charged toward them while clutching at his waistband, leading officers to believe he had a weapon, according to investigators.

Carrillo later admitted lying about the gun to generate a faster police response.

City officials could not immediately be reached Tuesday to respond to Slaughter's demands, but an earlier internal review by the Pasadena Police Department found Newlen and Griffin acted within policy.

[Updated June 19: Pasadena Police Chief Philip Sanchez said the district attorney’s Justice System Integrity Division is “part of a system of checks and balances” that apply to officer-involved shootings and “the legal yardstick we have to evaluate the officers’ actions” in the McDade shooting.

That county investigators cleared Newlen and Griffin of wrongdoing “doesn’t mitigate the tragedy, but it does say the officers acted according to the confines of the law,” Sanchez said.]

Investigations by the Los Angeles County Office of Independent Review and the FBI remain ongoing.

Galipo said he will seek a multi-million judgment against the city and, if successful, would use a jury’s findings to press Los Angeles County district attorney’s office to file charges against Griffin and Newlen.

When asked about civil penalties, Slaughter responded: “Does it matter? I just want justice for my son."

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Follow Joe Piasecki on Twitter: @JoePiasecki.

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