Will Feds Investigate the Pasadena Police Department for Racial Profiling?

Photo courtesy of Occupy Wall Street
Photo courtesy of Occupy Wall Street

When a black motorist, under the influence of alcohol, resisted arrest, was pummeled by the police, taken into custody, sued the city, tried the officers, found not guilty because the pummeling was within policy, later tried in federal court and found guilty for violating the motorist’s civil rights, you’d think that more proactive measures would occur moving forward.  Yet more than 20 years later, officers shoot an unarmed young black man, city pays the family for the wrongful death…end of story…for a wrongful death shooting.

The black motorist was Rodney King and the dead young man was Kendrec McDade. Both were black, both are dead (King from an accident and McDade by the Pasadena Police Department), yet the difference is, King was still alive and not shot dead by the LAPD.

According to Pasadena’s Office of the City Manager:

SETTLEMENT AGREEMENTS FINALIZED IN KENDREC McDADE LAWSUITS
PASADENA, Calif.—Pasadena City Attorney / City Prosecutor Michele Beal Bagneris announced today that attorneys for the City of Pasadena, Ms. Anya Slaughter and Mr. Kenneth McDade have finalized mutual settlements in the lawsuits by Ms. Slaughter and Mr. McDade regarding the March 2012 fatal shooting of their son, Kendrec McDade, by Pasadena police officers who were responding to a 911 armed robbery call.

The settlements were finalized today, June 16, 2014, with no finding of fault or liability by the City, the Pasadena Police Department and its officers. The settlements are a final resolution to the lawsuits in which settlements were reached in principle about a week ago, but the terms could not be made public until the agreements were fully finalized and executed, including payments to both parents.

The agreements included monetary settlements for the parents, who, in turn, agreed to dismiss their lawsuits against the City and Pasadena police officers. Ms. Slaughter has received $850,000 and Mr. McDade has received $187,500. All parties agreed to absorb their own legal fees.

From the looks of things, the compensation for McDade’s parents ends any potential lawsuit against the city. This is history and now everything is done and over with…or is it? When the four LAPD officers (Stacey Koon, Timothy Wind, Theodore Briseno and Lawrence Powell) were found not guilty of assault with a deadly weapon and use of excessive force by the state, because of the brilliant work of former LAPD officer-turned-attorney Daryl Mounger, the officers walked away free. Yes, a riot broke out, but they were free. Yet in federal court, Koon and Powell were convicted and served 30 months in federal prison…yet King was never killed.

The Pasadena Police Officers Matthew Griffin and Jeffrey Newlen killed McDade, because, they assumed that he had a gun, which turned out to be false, and after the shooting, it took more than 30 minutes to get McDade to the hospital. Is it also policy to shoot because one is assuming that they have a firearm? That may be a wobbler, but still, McDade is dead, the person who was ultimately responsible was never charged for the homicide. The city did not charge Oscar Carillo for involuntary manslaughter:

Elements of the Offense:

Three elements must be satisfied in order for someone to be found guilty of involuntary manslaughter:

  • Someone was killed as a result of act by the defendant.
  • The act either was inherently dangerous to others or done with reckless disregard for human life.
  • The defendant knew or should have known his or her conduct was a threat to the lives of others.

Since all three fit what Carrillo did, why didn’t the city file charges? He was arrested for lying, but that’s it. Why is the city showing little regards for justice? To McDade? Just because the officers felt threatened, does that mean they are free to patrol the city? The lack of intent to do harm is actually null and void, because, the King case also lacked intent. The officers had no intention to do harm to King as per their actions from their training in the LAPD Academy, but regardless, they were found guilty in federal court. Ironic thing was, no one in the command staff who were responsible for training the officers were ever charged.

Yet the Pasadena Police officers killed McDade. According to CAL. PEN. CODE § 197:

197. Homicide is also justifiable when committed by any person in any of the following cases:

1. When resisting any attempt to murder any person, or to commit a felony, or to do some great bodily injury upon any person; or,

2. When committed in defense of habitation, property, or person, against one who manifestly intends or endeavors, by violence or surprise, to commit a felony, or against one who manifestly intends and endeavors, in a violent, riotous or tumultuous manner, to enter the habitation of another for the purpose of offering violence to any person therein; or,

3. When committed in the lawful defense of such person, or of a wife or husband, parent, child, master, mistress, or servant of such person, when there is reasonable ground to apprehend a design to commit a felony or to do some great bodily injury, and imminent danger of such design being accomplished; but such person, or the person in whose behalf the defense was made, if he was the assailant or engaged in mutual combat, must really and in good faith have endeavored to decline any further struggle before the homicide was committed; or,

4. When necessarily committed in attempting, by lawful ways and means, to apprehend any person for any felony committed, or in lawfully suppressing any riot, or in lawfully keeping and preserving the peace.

The interesting part of this law is: Homicide is also justifiable when committed by any person in any of the following cases. This includes law enforcement. Just because someone was running away, yes a fleeing felon and they are reaching into their waistband as alleged by the police officers, does not look like, if I were a juror, any of the four justification for homicide. There isn’t a stand your ground clause like in Florida either.

The County of Los Angeles decided to not file charges, so it is up to the DOJ to do so. I am a supporter of my socialist law enforcement agency, but when stories like:


Minorities make up 90 percent of youth arrests in Pasadena

Yet according to:
Pasadena California Population and Demographics Resources:

White 53.36%
Black or African American 14.42%
Hispanic or Latino 33.4%

And the arrests are made by the Pasadena Police Department, who shot an unarmed young black man, one has to wonder, is there racial profiling in Pasadena? When 90 percent of all juvenile arrests are minorities, was McDade at the wrong place at the wrong time and truly, was the shooting justifiable? Honestly? If the killing was justifiable, why have a payout? Currently, the LAPD has a policy in an Officer Involved Shooting (OIS). Whether or not a suspect or suspects is/are killed, the officer(s) are debriefed and are investigated thoroughly.

The officer(s) are questioned about their mindset just before the shooting, what they were doing, what happened when they received the call, how they responded, how they approached the suspect(s), what led to the shooting and what happened afterwards. This approach removes any doubt if the officer(s) were in their right mind and if the shooting could have been prevented or not.

Currently, Pasadena does not have an extensive shooting investigation and with juvenile arrests being 90 percent minority, the investigation is very much in question. Was the shooting of McDade by the two officers preventable? Does Pasadena’s arrest records show a pattern of racial profiling? Would McDade be alive today if caveats were placed similar to that of the LAPD? We will never know, unless the feds decide to investigate all shootings and arrests in their city. I guess the only way to find out is if we contact the DOJ and ask Eric Holder to investigate the City of Pasadena and their police department.

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5 Replies to “Will Feds Investigate the Pasadena Police Department for Racial Profiling?”

  1. Whether they admit it or not there is racial profiling in every police department in every city in this country. Be they black, latino, muslim, and even white. Police are trained to be naturally suspicious.

    Cities and counties are not going to charge their officers for shootings. They don’t want them to be afraid of being able to pull the trigger. Cities such as Pasadena know there will be a lawsuit. They paid out around a million dollars. That’s chump change to them. Probably came out of the rainy day fund.

    I understand they they have a stressful and sometimes dangerous job. However I think if they were trained to be a little more courteous and respectful a lot of their problems wouldn’t ensue.

  2. Tim, how old are you? Do you not remember, or did you perhaps never know, that Rodney King was a career criminal? He had a long rap sheet of DUIs, violence,drug offenses for which he was already well-known to the local PDs before the armed robbery which precipitated the beating, and he continued to break the law afterwards. He didn’t die of a true “accident”, he died of his choice to continue his abuse of drugs. Sure he didn’t intend to deliberately drown in his swimming pool on purpose but that’s a risk you take when you swim while totally wasted on alcohol, cocaine, marijuana, and PCP-all found in his system upon autopsy-and without having a “designated swimmer” in the pool with you. While I agree with you in that no citizen should be “profiled”, nor be made to feel that they cannot trust the police, there is no love lost on criminals such as Rodney King. People were fascinated by him because he was an extremely handsome,seemingly jovial man who had sadly ruined his own life…

  3. Yes I do remember, and yes he had a long rap sheet, but the officers did not know that. All they saw was a person evading arrest, which is a felony and refused to comply, which, according to the LAPD’s MOU, was strike until he complied. That’s why the four officers were found not guilty, but at the fed court, two of the four were found guilty, but putting all that aside, why weren’t the people who signed off on the beating, from Captain on to chief were not prosecuted?

    Still, I can’t complain about the beating until after the officers were convicted of violating King’s civil rights, because from California’s POST and the DOJ, everything was Constitutional…until after the officers were convicted. Still again, why weren’t the management held accountable? Ever wondered about that?

  4. I remember the Rodney King case quite well, and I remember reading how these same police officers were laughing and making jokes about “Gorillas in the Mist” while King was being hospitalized. Without defending Rodney King’s record, or the fact that he was resisting arrest, they continued to beat him long after he ceased to be a threat. It was videotaped and showed that those officers engaged in overkill. I’m glad that they were tried on a federal level and found guilty, although they should have served a lot more time than they did. In this recent case, I believe the city’s payments are a tacit admission that these officers went way overboard. As long as the city’s administration believes it can make issues of police brutality go away by paying off victims or their survivors, this brutality will continue. I would love a federal investigation and to see not only the officers involved accountable but also the higher-ups who help to perpetuate the problem.

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