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Criminal Justice

New Report On Fatal Pasadena Police Shooting Includes Dozens Of Policy Recommendations

A person with dark-tone skin raises a fist in the air. People carry posters with the words: Justice for Anthony McClain and a picture of a young Black man with a beard and mustache.
A rally outside Pasadena City Hall in August 2020 demanding accountability for the death of Anthony McClain.
(Frederic J. Brown
AFP via Getty Images)
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A new report on a Pasadena Police officer’s fatal shooting of Anthony McClain outlines 27 policy and procedure recommendations.

The backstory

McClain, 32, was shot and killed Aug. 15, 2020 by a Pasadena police officer as he ran away from a traffic stop.

The shooting touched off protests in Pasadena — it came amid a summer of demonstrations against police brutality sparked by the recorded murder of George Floyd by Minneapolis police.

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In McClain's case, it wasn't a bystander's cell phone video that showed what happened. The Pasadena Police Department released dashboard and body-cam video of the encounter.

What experts told us

In 2020, LAist asked three use-of-force experts to review the videos. Two of them thought the shooting seemed justified. One felt it may not have been.

The videos show problematic tactical decisions, according to Timothy Williams, Jr., who served nearly 30 years with the LAPD and is now a use-of-force expert and private investigator.

He wonders why Officer Dumaguindin didn't call for backup before opening fire at a fleeing McClain. "He could have gotten on the radio and cordoned the area off and perhaps got him in custody without perhaps shots being fired," Williams said.

Last year, L.A. County District Attorney George Gascón declined to file charges against the officer who killed McClain. A memo from the DA's office said there's insufficient evidence to prove beyond a reasonable doubt that the officer did not act in self defense.

Pasadena City reached a civil settlement agreement with McClain’s children for $7.5 million in 2021.

About the recommendations

Signs read Rest in Peace Anthony Son Brother Father Friend BLM at a makeshift memorial with candles and flowers.
A child observes the memorial set up for Anthony McClain
(Brian Feinzimer for LAist)
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The independent report was done by the OIG Group, an independent company that provides law enforcement policy assessments and other services.

The new recommendations range in scope and include calling on the Pasadena Police to reconsider the use of pretext stops for vehicle equipment violations and whether it’s necessary to handcuff severely injured people.

“Mr. McClain was injured and bleeding..., showed no sign of aggression or resistance, and showed his empty hands on two occasions,” the report reads.

The report also recommends that the PPD formally evaluate officers when they engage in foot pursuits.

The report also raised several concerns regarding the criminal investigation of the fatal shooting, including issues around the management of the crime scene, allowing officers to review their own body cam footage before giving statements and “a concerning characterization of an eyewitness statement repeated in the Department’s public Critical Incident Briefing video and subsequent media releases.”

According to the report, the department “repeatedly mischaracterized” both internally and publicly the statement of a witness making it seem like she said that she saw McClain with a gun.

Read the full report

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