The City Council’s Public Safety Committee (PSC) is set to hear a presentation on Pasadena’s police officer-involved shooting (OIS) investigative process and related policies.
The committee meets at 4:30 p.m. Wednesday.
Scheduled as an information only item, the item will not result in a vote that could lead to a change in police policy.
According to police policy, following an OIS, an in-custody death, and other critical incidents, Pasadena detectives and the L.A. County District Attorney’s Office conduct separate criminal investigations.
The D.A.’s response team rolls out at the same time as local detectives after the shooting occurs. The D.A. produces a finding based on both the police investigation and their investigation, to determine if the officers acted within the framework of the law.
If it is determined the officers acted outside that framework, prosecutors determine if criminal charges should be filed against the involved officers.
A D.A. investigation is ongoing in the officer-involved shooting death of Pasadena resident Anthony McClain to determine if the law was broken during that incident.
On Aug. 15, 2020, McClain was a passenger in a car that was pulled over by police on North Raymond Avenue near La Pintoresca Park for failing to display a front license plate. After the driver and McClain were asked to step out of the car, McClain ran from the officers.
Police say McClain removed a handgun from his waistband as he fled, prompting Officer Edwin Dumaguindin to open fire. McClain continued running a short distance before tossing the weapon across the street and collapsing, according to police.
Some local residents say they do not see a gun in video footage of the event. Police say a gun was found at the scene. Investigators say McClain’s DNA was recovered from the weapon.
D.A. investigators received the McClain case in late 2020 but have not yet rendered a finding. Often it takes several months to multiple years to get a finding back from the DA’s office.
The Pasadena Police Department’s Internal Affairs unit also responds to begin an administrative investigation into the incident after an officer-involved shooting. That investigation focuses primarily on policy violations, training and tactics used.
The Internal Affairs unit typically will wait to complete their investigation until after the findings from the DA’s office come back so that administrative investigators have the necessary information to reach a conclusion.
Councilmember Tyron Hampton has inquired several times about the probe into the McClain shooting and has been critical of the length of time the investigation has taken.
A discussion of the evidence in the McClain case is not included in the PSC’s agenda.
Local shootings have also been referred to the Office of Independent Review (OIR) for an independent review of the facts.
The OIR does not conduct a criminal investigation, but looks for compliance to city policy.
Currently the OIR is also investigating the McClain shooting.
Typically, the city manager, working with police and not the City Council, controls the release of information regarding OIS investigations.
In the 2012 shooting of Kendrec McDade, then-City Manager Michael Beck initially refused to release the full OIR report, but promised to release the summary, which was a change from past incidents when full reports were released.
The city changed its tune and called for the release of the report when the matter went to court, but the Pasadena Police Officers Association continued to oppose the release of the files.
After the settlement of two federal lawsuits, several public protests, numerous stories, a number of superior court hearings and a state court of appeals ruling, the report was released.
Two Pasadena police officers shot and killed McDade after a caller told a 911 dispatcher that McDade was armed when he was robbed by the teenager in 2012.
The officers said they believed McDade was armed prior to pursuing him on Sunset Avenue just before 11 p.m. the night of the shooting, based on the 911 call. The entire chase lasted just 65 seconds. The caller later recanted his story.
The two officers were cleared of wrongdoing in separate investigations by the DA’s office, the Police Department and the U.S. Justice Department.
The meeting can be viewed at: http://pasadena.granicus.com/mediaplayer.php?camera_id=2&publish_id=9