Parents File Wrongful Death Suit in Killing of Unarmed Pasadena Teen

April 5, 2012  |  

Another unarmed black teen has been killed, and like in the case of Trayvon Martin, the parents of 19-year-old Kendrec McDade believe racial profiling and foul play are at work. According to a police account on the Daily Beast:

“A dispatcher received a 911 call around 11 p.m. [March 24] from 26-year-old Oscar Carrillo, who said that two black men wearing black sweaters had stolen his computer and backpack from his car, and that one of them ‘put a gun in my face right now.’ Carrillo told the dispatcher that one fled west on Orange Grove Boulevard while the other, who Carrillo said had a gun, ran north on Raymond Avenue.

“Moments later, police caught up with two teens in an alley about two blocks away. McDade ran from the police, until one of the officers used the police cruiser to block his path. When McDade allegedly made a move at his waistband, the officer in the cruiser opened fire, according to police. The other officer, who was on foot chasing McDade, also began shooting. McDade was hit several times and died at a nearby hospital.”

Despite the fact that both teens were later found to be unarmed and Carillo admitted that he lied when he told police the Citrus College student pulled a gun on him so they would respond faster, the Los Angeles County District Attorney’s Office declined to file charges against the 911 caller. According to police, McDade acted as a lookout during the robbery, and his 17-year-old friend has been charged with two felony counts of commercial burglary, one felony count of grand theft property, and one misdemeanor count of failing to register as a gang member.

McDade’s parents say the police chief is trying to “vilify” their son to “distract from the undeniable fact that his officers killed an unarmed man,” and they have filed a lawsuit accusing the Pasadena Police Department of mishandling the incident and the follow-up investigation into the shooting. The suit alleges that after the shooting the Pasadena police chief asked an officer “who has been directly responsible for multiple controversial killings of young black men in Pasadena” to investigate the shooting of McDade.

Caree Harper, who is representing McDade’s parents, said “They have made a million mistakes in this case,” and added, “The cover up is always the worst.”

Carrillo was arrested on suspicion of manslaughter but the Los Angeles County District Attorney’s office declined to file charges Tuesday and sent the case back to the police for further investigation. Carrillo, who is Mexican, was detained by the federal Immigration Customs and Enforcement but has since been released with an electronic monitoring device. He had been previously deported from the United States in 2006 as well. McDade’s parents say without his false 911 call, their son would still be alive.

“I want the world to know that he’s not what the Pasadena police has portrayed him to be,” McDade’s mother, Anya Slaughter said. “He was one of those kids who stayed in school. I don’t believe he did anything wrong. I think he was at the wrong place at the wrong time.”

Brande Victorian is a blogger and culture writer in New York City. Follower her on Twitter at @be_vic.

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