City pays more than $1 million in separate settlements to parents of unarmed teen shot and killed by police; FBI ends probe of 2012 incident
By André Coleman 06/18/2014
The FBI has determined that an unarmed teenager’s civil right rights were not violated two years ago when he was shot and killed by two Pasadena police officers. Meanwhile, documents released this week indicate the mother and father of the teen received just over $1 million in separate settlement agreements with the city.
Nineteen-year-old Kendrec McDade’s mother, Anya Slaughter, will receive $850,000, and his father, Kenneth McDade, will receive $187,500, according to the statement.
Slaughter and Kenneth McDade, who are not married, originally filed a joint claim for damages against the city less than two weeks after Kendrec was shot and killed by officers. They later filed separate wrongful death and civil rights lawsuits in US District Court.
Kendrec McDade was shot shortly after he and a 17-year-old friend stole a laptop from the back of a car belonging to Oscar Carrillo-Gonzales at around 11 p.m. March 24, 2012. Carrillo-Gonzales told a 911 dispatcher that McDade and his friend robbed him at gunpoint and mentioned a gun eight times during the call. As a result, the officers said they believed McDade was armed. At the end of a pursuit, the officers said Kendrec turned and ran toward them, prompting them to open fire.
In prepared statements, Kenneth McDade and city officials said they were happy with the settlements.
“Although I am satisfied with the settlement, there is no amount, large or small, that will bring Kendrec back to his mother, who he lived with, or back to me who he was running to the night he was hunted down by cowards with badges,” Kenneth McDade said in a statement issued Monday through his attorney, Caree Harper.
“I’m grateful for the hard work and dedication by everyone involved in reaching a successful conclusion that is fair to all parties,” said City Manager Michael Beck in a prepared statement. “The decision to settle the lawsuits was difficult based on the circumstances in the case and since the District Attorney’s Office determined Pasadena’s police officers acted legally given the known facts at the time they were responding to an armed robbery call.”
Pasadena Police Officers Jeffrey Newlen and Matthew Griffin were cleared in the shooting by the LA County Sheriff’s Department, the District Attorney’s Office and by an internal investigation. An Office of Independent Review report on the shooting is pending.
Pasadena police Chief Phillip Sanchez called the shootings the next phase in the healing process.
“Officer-involved shootings have an emotional impact on the community and the Police Department, necessitating comprehensive investigations, critical analysis and ongoing assessments,” Sanchez said in a prepared statement. “That occurred at many levels, internally and externally. The Los Angeles District Attorney’s Office deemed the Officers’ actions were reasonable and justified. The Federal Bureau of Investigation, Civil Rights Program, recently completed their investigation and determined there were no civil rights violations. And, although the comprehensive settlement terms underscore that the Pasadena Police Department and the involved officers were not liable, any residual emotional impact of this incident could linger if unaddressed. As an organization, we reaffirm our commitment to the community and strive to enhance that relationship built upon respect, trust, and compassion.”
The city is still waiting for a report by the Office of Independent Review (OIR). However, that group does not examine potential criminality and instead only analyzes the shooting as it relates to the department’s policies. A handful of local residents have called on the city to start a civilian oversight committee to provide independent oversight on use-of-force complaints.
Sanchez announced in March that he will go to the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department for outside investigations of local officer-involved shootings, and not the OIR.
“While the settlements provide a certain level of closure, this unfortunate incident will not be forgotten as it serves to remind us of how difficult police work is and the terrible consequences that can occur during emergency situations,” said Mayor Bill Bogaard. “Our thoughts and prayers continue to be with all of the people directly connected to the shooting, including our officers and especially the family of Kendrec McDade as they work to move beyond the loss of their son.”
Kenneth McDade said he still wants justice for his son.
“This was never about money to me; I still want the officers responsible for my son’s death to go to jail. I hope the DA., who was elected after the so-called ‘justified’ shooting, re-examines the unsworn stories versus stories given under oath in depositions and rethinks bringing criminal charges against them. I hope the focus will be on the individual officers now, and on having an independent oversight committee on all police shootings made up of people from all walks of life. More importantly, I am happy with the attorney's work that created a real conversation about change in police policy in the city of Pasadena and who kept Kendrec’s name alive while there have been even more killings of young black men since Kendrec was killed over 2 1/2 years ago. I hope the conversations about change do not end with the discussion of money.”