Pasadena settles suit with father of unarmed teen killed by police

Kendrec Lavelle McDade
Alfred McDade, center, mourns at the funeral for his grandson Kendrec McDade at Metropolitan Baptist Church in Altadena on April 7, 2012.
(Christina House / For the Times)

The father of Kendrec McDade, an unarmed 19-year-old who was shot and killed by Pasadena police officers, has agreed to settle a wrongful death and civil rights lawsuit against the city.

City officials Tuesday acknowledged the settlement but refused to immediately reveal the terms of the deal that comes on the heels of a settlement agreement with the teenager’s mother.

Carey Harper, attorney for Kenneth McDade, said the settlement was reached with the aid of the U.S magistrate as a civil rights trial on the case was scheduled to begin.

Harper said she would not discuss specifics at this point. The settlement was announced Tuesday in federal court.


McDade’s mother, Anya Slaughter, agreed to a settlement last week regarding her lawsuit.

Pasadena City Atty. Michele Beal Bagernis acknowledged the settlement announcement but said the city was not in a position to detail the final settlement terms.

Public agencies are required to make public any such payouts of taxpayer funds in cases.

The City Council discussed the litigation in closed session Monday but did not report out any decision.


McDade was shot in March 2012 after a late-night police pursuit stemming from a 911 call from a man who said that McDade and another person had stolen his laptop and that both were armed.

The 911 caller, Oscar Carrillo, later admitted he had lied about seeing guns because he thought it would speed up the police response time.

Carrillo did jail time last year after pleading guilty to one count of falsely reporting and one count of reporting an emergency knowing the report was false.

The Los Angeles County district attorneys’ office found the Pasadena police officers acted lawfully and reasonably believed McDade was armed with a gun based on false information from the 911 caller.

An internal review of the shooting determined that Pasadena Police Officers Matthew Griffin and Jeffrey Newlen, who each shot McDade four times, both acted “within departmental policy.”

The controversial shooting sparked protests and outrage in Pasadena, with some drawing comparisons to the killing of Trayvon Martin in Florida.

In a detailed account, prosecutors revealed that after one officer shot and wounded McDade, the second officer — believing McDade had opened fire — shot him after he was probably already wounded.

According to prosecutors, McDade ran up Sunset Street with his right hand at his waist. As he ran, Griffin sped past him in a patrol cruiser and blocked the street as Newlen chased him on foot.


McDade was about to run past the cruiser when he turned and ran directly toward the cruiser where Griffin was seated.

“He left the sidewalk and he’s running at me,” Griffin told investigators. “This — this scares the crap out of me. I don’t know why he is running at me. He’s still clutching his waistband. I think he’s got a gun. I’m stuck in the car. I got no where to go.”

Fearing for his life, Griffin said he fired four times through the open driver’s side window. McDade was two or three feet away. Griffin said he then ducked down to his right to avoid being hit by shots he expected from McDade.

He heard two shots and believed McDade had fired at him. Newlen told investigators he heard the gunshots and believed McDade “was firing at Griffin.”

He described seeing McDade walk toward the rear of the car and crouch down. Newlen said he heard a second gunshot at that point and saw muzzle flash.

Believing McDade was firing at him, Newlen fired four or five shots at McDade, who fell to the ground after being hit. McDade was later found to be unarmed. He was carrying a cellphone in his pocket.

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