The story of the unarmed, black 19-year old who was recently shot and killed by two, white Pasadena police officers has caused tension and made national headlines.
Kendrec McDade was fatally shot by Pasadena police on March 24th, after a man called 911 to report he had been robbed by a pair of gunmen.
When two officers came across McDade near the scene and believed he was reaching for a gun, they opened fire. But no weapon was found on McDade.
The 911 caller, whose backpack had been stolen from him, later admitted he lied about the guns in order to get a more urgent police response.
One week later, many questions remained unanswered so Pasadena Police Chief Phillip Sanchez met with a group of community members at the New Revelation Missionary Baptist Church.
People wrote questions on index cards and passed them forward for a moderator to read aloud. The Chief answered questions for about 45 minutes. But some of them, like this one, were not fully answered.
“Does the officer have to say halt or freeze before shooting their guns?
Sanchez: Not necessarily.”
Chief Sanchez said it’s not required by law. He said he couldn’t answer whether the two officers addressed McDade, nor would he say how many times the 19-year-old junior college student was shot. But the McDade family’s attorney, Caree Harper, has said the chief told her 8 bullets were fired.
Sanchez said he would have more meetings on the shooting. Community gang interventionist Chris Finney says he hopes so.
“There are going to tell you as much as they can just to, you know, keep us at peace or so to speak. But there is so much more to cover, you know so many questions that need to be answered but something is better than nothing.”
Community activist Sheryl Hubbard said too many shootings have happened because an officer thought a person was reaching for his waistband when he could have just been lifting up his pants.
“They use that excuse because they know they can get away with it. We don’t know whether that young man put his hands in his pants or not because he is not here to tell his side of the story.”
Chief Sanchez also spoke about how the community needs to do more to address youth crime and violence. McDade was not in a gang, but the 17-year old juvenile also involved in the theft was on parole from a previous incident.
He has been charged with burglary, grand theft and failure to register as a gang member--a condition of his parole.
The Pasadena Police Department has requested that the County Sheriff’s Office of Independent Review investigate the incident.