Parents of unarmed man killed by Pasadena police get $1-million-plus

Parents of unarmed man killed by Pasadena police get $1-million-plus
Alfred McDade, center, mourns at the funeral service for his grandson Kendrec Lavelle McDade at Metropolitan Baptist Church in Altadena on April 7, 2012. (Christina House / For The Times)

The city of Pasadena paid more than $1 million to the parents of Kendrec McDade, an unarmed 19-year-old fatally shot by two police officers, to settle a wrongful death and civil rights lawsuit.

The city on Monday revealed it agreed to pay McDade's mother, Anya Slaughter, $850,000, and his father, Kenneth McDade, $187,500, in settlements, according to documents released to The Times under the California Public Records Act.


The settlements cover all legal fees and any claims against Officers Matthew Griffin and Jeffrey Newlen.

A U.S. magistrate announced the settlement without specifics last week in federal court between Kenneth McDade and the city. The deal was struck just before the trial was due to begin.

Caree Harper, his attorney, said the settlement was reached with the aid of the U.S magistrate. McDade signed the settlement June 11 and Pasadena's city manager on June 12.

"This was never about money to me; I still want the officers responsible for my son's death to go to jail," McDade said in a statement. "I hope the focus will be on the individual officers now, and on having an independent oversight committee on all police shootings made up of people from all walks of life."

McDade's mother agreed to a settlement the Friday before trial. Pasadena's city manager signed the deal June. 5.

Pasadena City Atty. Michele Beal Bagernis acknowledged the settlements last week but said the city was not in a position to detail the final 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 last Monday but did not report any decision.

Kendrec McDade was shot in March 2012 after a late-night police pursuit, stemming from a 911 call from a man who said 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 served 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 Griffin and 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 Avenue 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 nowhere 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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