Is Kendrec McDade the Next Trayvon Martin? L.A. Civil Rights Leaders Question Pasadena Police Shooting
Update: "Oscar Carrillo, 911 Caller in Kendrec McDade Police Shooting, Arrested for Lying to Cops." (Includes audio of the 911 call that killed McDade.)
Kendrec McDade via Twitter The victim, right.
Originally posted at 9:45 a.m.
While the nation copes with the sickening slaying of 17-year-old black boy Trayvon Martin by a neighborhood watchman, we might have our own civil rights battle to fight right here at home.
Kendrec McDade, a popular 19-year-old football star who had recently graduated from Azusa High, was shot dead by Pasadena cops on Saturday night. The story originally ran like this: "Armed robbery suspect shot and killed by police in Pasadena." However, the Pasadena Police Department has yet to find evidence that McDade was armed.
And so the Trayvon comparisons set in.
Eric Hutchinson, local radio host and president of the Los Angeles Urban Policy Roundtable, thinks this could be a deadly case of police racism. (Hutchinson was heavily involved in another Pasadena officer-involved shooting in 2009 -- that of young black man Leroy Barnes, whose family has since filed a "wrongful death" lawsuit.)
Along with seven other L.A. civil rights leaders, Hutchinson is demanding that Pasadena Police Chief Phillip Sanchez attend an "emergency meeting" to "walk through the narrative" of exactly why and how McDade was gunned down.
The two officers who riddled McDade with bullets on Saturday night have yet to be named, despite a new state law saying they must be. (We've contacted the department for that information.)
All accounts of the young student athlete make him out to be a good, hardworking kid.
"I never would've thought this would've happened to him," his coach, Joe Scherf, tells the Pasadena Sun. "He was a good kid who was never in trouble, never got suspended from school or anything like that."
Also: "I just never thought he would have a gun."
That's one of the most concerning aspects of this shooting, says Hutchinson. The Pasadena PD -- with help from the L.A. County Sheriff's Department -- has been searching high and low with helicopters and bloodhounds for any trace of McDade's alleged weapon.
To no avail.
"You claim there's an armed robbery, but there's no gun," says Hutchinson. "Now, I don't know many people who can commit armed robberies with no gun."
The whole concept of McDade being armed in the first place was based on a 911 call from a man who claimed McDade and his 17-year-old friend had just tried to rob his car. The man said he had seen one of them flash a gun. From the Sun:
Police received a call at 11:04 p.m. from a man who said he was driving in pursuit of two men who had taken items from his car as he visited a taco truck. The two had asked him to buy food and he had refused, [Lieutenant Phlunte Riddle] said. When he return to his parked car he saw the two men inside and confronted them. One of the men flashed a silver or chrome gun and the man backed off, Riddle said.
During a subsequent foot chase with McDade, the cops claimed he reached toward his waistband.
But Hutchinson says the story reeks of racism. If a white kid's hands had wandered toward his waistband, would police have used deadly force?
"There are too many holes in the story," Hutchinson says. "They just have some explaining to do."
To add insult to injury, McDade's 17-year-old accomplice has been arrested for his friend's murder. That's because California law stipulates that if you commit certain types of felonies -- including armed robberies -- you're ultimately responsible for any death that occurs as a result.
McDade's killing likewise dredges up painful memories of last year's LAPD shooting of unarmed black football star Reggie Doucet Jr.
"It always fits the same pattern," says Hutchinson.
UP NEXT: A secret meeting on the McDade shooting, and the full Pasadena PD report on why officers did what they did. Still no gun.