A woman is suing the City of Pasadena and fighting battery charges after police pepper-sprayed her 11-year old child during an impromptu protest that followed the police shooting of Anthony McClain at La Pintoresca Park, Aug.15.
The night Pasadena police shot and killed Anthony McClain, 32, Nafissa Kaba joined the protest to object to the shooting.
Body-worn camera footage of the protest was released by the police, showing people protesting near where McClain was fatally shot on North Raymond Avenue. After some protesters approached a line of officers, police tasered a man and sprayed an irritant into the nearby crowd. The man was later identified as Tryon Glover, 27, who was subsequently arrested. Kaba’s son, Natori Beard, 11, was hit by the pepper spray.
Kaba, Beard and their attorney filed suit in Pasadena on the morning of Sept.2. They said the officers’ actions were unjustified.
“He’s afraid of the police,” said Kaba. “He doesn’t really want to go to the park, but I told him, Son, you still have to get out there, you still have to not be afraid of the police. You have to live your life the way that you’re supposed to live it, and not be afraid.”
At a news conference, the family’s attorney James Segall-Gutierrez argued that police had no reason to push people into the center of the park and that the police didn’t respect the First Amendment rights to free speech and assembly when they surrounded people in the park.
“They just didn’t want to hear them saying, ‘Black lives matter.’ They just didn’t want to hear them saying, ‘stop killing Black men’” Segall-Gutierrez said.
Police claimed that afterward Kaba pepper-sprayed a police officer, as well, and now Pasadena Police are charging Kaba with battery on a Peace Officer.
“Mothers shouldn’t need to protect their children from the police, and they certainly shouldn’t be punished for doing so,” said Pasadena resident Jennifer Chapman.
“This is ridiculous. Pasadena needs to care more about the community instead of coming against us because of our color,” said McClain’s ex-girlfriend, Kimberly Jenkins.
Though police claim a gun with McClain’s DNA was found at the scene, lawyers representing McClain’s family maintain the position that his killing was unjustified.
“Even if his DNA is on the weapon, it doesn’t justify shooting a man in the back as he’s running away,” said attorney for the McClain family, Michael Carrillo.
In the video footage released by the PPD, it is not clear whether McClain had a firearm or not. Police stated that he did, but the victim claimed to have no gun as he laid on the ground bleeding from two bullet holes in the back.
“I find it interesting that they released a press release but not the DNA report, and to me, it’s further slanting of evidence to their benefit,” Carrillo told City News Service.
Many community members have expressed their concern for how the Pasadena Police Department has been abusing their powers, killing McClain, and scaring and traumatizing children and adults, like Natori Beard and Nafissa Kaba.
Pepper spray is a chemical that irritates the eyes, and it causes a burning sensation. It can also cause temporary blindness because it inflames mucus membranes. Kaba’s son was treated by paramedics at the scene.
There is no video footage released to the public by the Pasadena Police Department of Kaba pepper-spraying police officers.
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