About 150 people rallied at Pasadena City Hall Tuesday evening to call attention to violence again young black men, including a teen killed last month by Pasadena police. Kendrec McDade, 19, of Azusa, died on March 24, about a month after 16-year-old Trayvon Martin was shot by a security guard in Florida. Both were unarmed.
"We're here to show a unified Pasadena community that says, 'No more dead kids or adults, by anyone,'" Martin Gordon, chair of the Pasadena Community Coalition told a group on the steps of City Hall.
Some participants held white candles and others displayed signs bearing the names of men who have been killed by Pasadena officers.
McDade’s mother and father, Anya Slaughter and Kenneth McDade, were in attendance and visibly emotional.
“Never in a million years did I think I was going to wake up on Saturday and get the information I got,” Kenneth McDade said of the night his son died. “Someone has to be held accountable.”
McDade was shot late on March 24 in Northwest Pasadena by two Pasadena police officers. The officers, Mathew Griffin and Jeff Newlen, were responding to a report of an armed robbery near a taco truck on Orange Grove Boulevard.
One of the officers fired while seated inside of his police cruiser when McDade approached the vehicle with his hand at his waistband, according to Pasadena police. Both officers are now on paid leave.
The robbery victim who called police, Oscar Carrillo, later admitted he had not seen a weapon and lied to get an quicker police response. He was arrested for involuntary manslaughter, but the Los Angeles County District Attorney’s Office has not file charges and sent the case back to Pasadena police for further investigation.
Four agencies are conducting probes of the incident : The FBI; which is conducting a civil rights investigation; the Los Angeles County Office of Independent Review, a civilian police watchdog organization; a Los Angeles County Sheriff's task force that looks into all officer-involved shootings in the region; and the Pasadena Police Department.
“There is a cover up amongst us and we need to get on top of it,” Caree Harper, an attorney for the McDade family, told the crowd. “Tomorrow it might be your son.”
Harper, who has filed a wrongful death and civil rights lawsuit against the Pasadena Police Department, said she’s working to weed out the “bad apples” in law enforcement.
“I’m here for the 90% that do their job and the 10% who don’t do their job,” Harper said.
NAACP official Ron Hasson said his organization is compiling data on the recent string of killings of black men, including shootings in Tulsa, Okla.
“What’s going on in Pasadena is going on across the United States,” Hasson said. “The Trayvon Martin situation has been the spark that has brought the attention of our citizens.”
Sharon Kyle, a Pasadena resident and publisher of an online social justice blog, said she attended as an African American mother.
“The fear of a mother of a black son is significantly different than the fears other mothers have,” Kyle said. “I have that fear because we live in a country that has demonized ... young black men and said their lives are not valued.”
-- Adolfo Flores, Times Community News