[Updated] Archie Barry, identified as the father of a man who was fatally shot by police in Pasadena earlier this month, alleges excessive force was used in the wrongful death of his son in a claim for damages filed against the city, Barry’s lawyers announced Thursday. Other family members filed a separate claim against Pasadena on Thursday, according to their attorney, Caree Harper.
Attorney Luis Carrillo, who is representing Barry, said 32-year-old Anthony McClain was unarmed when he was shot by police on the night of Aug. 15 and posed no threat to officers.
“We have started the legal process against the city of Pasadena,” Carrillo said during a press conference held Thursday outside Pasadena Police Department headquarters.
A claim is a precursor to a lawsuit. According to state law, the city has 30 days to respond to the claim before a formal lawsuit can be initiated.
“The officer that shot and killed Anthony McClain clearly did not have any justifiable reason to shoot and kill Anthony McClain,” Carrillo said. “This city does not teach its officers reverence for human life. This officer did not respect Anthony McClain’s life.
“This officer cowardly shot Anthony McClain in the back. This city does not train its police officers well,” the attorney continued. “Anthony McClain was no imminent threat to this officer or any officers when he was cowardly shot in the back by this police officer. That officer, that night, was trigger happy.”
The claim, filed Wednesday, seeks unspecified damages.
The city issued a statement in which it said that “any loss of life is tragic and we extend our heart-felt condolences to the family of Mr. McClain. Incidents such as these have a traumatic impact on the family, our Pasadena community and our dedicated law enforcement personnel.”
“We cannot change what has occurred, but we can ensure that this incident will be fully investigated; investigations that are already underway. Additionally, we will initiate an independent, third-party review of this incident that will result in a publically available report. Our community deserves to know more about this incident and we will provide the facts. We understand the urgency and will proceed diligently and with all speed until this important work is done. ”
McClain’s father said his son’s death has left him devastated.
“This breaks me down to have lost my son like this,” Barry said during the press conference. “I see no reason for this to have happened. I don’t know how I can deal with this.”
McClain, a resident of Pasadena, was fatally shot on Aug. 15 during an encounter that stemmed from a traffic stop along North Raymond Avenue, near La Pintoresca Park, Pasadena police said. McClain was a passenger in a car that was pulled over for lack of a front license plate, officials said.
After being asked to step out of the car, McClain ran from officers and allegedly pulled a handgun from his waistband, police said.
Video of the incident released by police appears to show McClain holding an object in his left hand as he ran from police, but details of the object cannot be clearly seen in the footage. Police have also released video footage that shows McClain tossing an object, which they say was a handgun, across the street.
The incident has led to several local protests. The names of the officers involved in the shooting have not been released.
So far, a report on McClain’s autopsy has not been released. Police are waiting for the results of DNA analysis on the gun.
Attorney Michael Carrillo, Luis Carrillo’s son and a member of the South Pasadena-based Carrillo Law Firm, said police and city officials have released statements and videos regarding the shooting “that totally go against what the actual evidence is.”
“They claim that [McClain] was grabbing his waistband, grabbing a gun at the time that he got out of the vehicle. That is totally false,” Michael Carrillo said.
Holding up a photograph taken from police body camera footage, Michael Carrillo pointed to an object shaped like the letter “K,” on which McClain’s left hand was resting.
“What that is is a Michael Kors belt,” he said, referring to a clothing designer.
“All you have to do is go to Anthony McClain’s Facebook page and you’ll see that exact same belt,” Michael Carrillo said, holding up a photo of McClain wearing a belt with a large buckle reading “MK.”
The lawyer also disputed the assertion by police that officers recovered a handgun that had been thrown by McClain.
“What we’re saying, too, is that we believe that whatever weapon was recovered by the city of Pasadena was not actually Anthony McClain’s,” Michael Carrillo said. “That’s why we’re calling on the [state] Attorney General’s Office to investigate the Pasadena PD and really conduct an independent investigation about the shooting and what happened to Anthony McClain, because what happened to him was wrong and was against the law. Somebody needs to get in here and investigate these officers.”
The claim, which alleges civil rights violations and wrongful death, also seeks damages for the loss of Barry’s son, as well as for “the pain and suffering of decedent Anthony McClain that he suffered before his death.”
It further alleges the city failed to properly train or screen the involved officers.
“The shooting of Decedent Anthony McClain was completely unjustified in that Anthony McClain was unarmed and was not a threat to Pasadena Police Officers,” the claim states.
It also states McClain did not receive proper medical care following the shooting.
“Pasadena police officers negligently failed to provide necessary medical attention to Anthony McClain after he was shot in the back,” according to the claim.