A judge ordered the release of a report last month by the Office of Independent Review Group that examined the 2012 fatal shooting of former PCC student Kendrec McDade by Pasadena police officers and faulted the department for failing to conduct an internal affairs investigation.
McDade, who was unarmed at the time of his death, was shot seven times by officers Jeffrey Newlin and Matthew Griffin while fleeing the scene of an alleged theft. A 911 caller falsely reported that the 19 year old had a gun.
The OIR Group report stated that Pasadena police failed to determine whether witnesses could corroborate or refute the officers’ claims that McDade was clutching at his waistband as he fled on foot.
According to the LA Times, the OIR group also faulted the department for waiting 36 hours before interviewing the officers involved and for providing the pair with video recordings of the aftermath of the shooting before their interviews.
“Viewing audio tapes or video footage before being interviewed is likely to distort pure recall either consciously or subconsciously,” the report stated. “Studies by experts in witness memory have repeatedly established that subjecting witnesses to external evidence can cause them to supplant or modify what they actually recall with what they see from the video evidence.”
Anya Slaughter, McDade’s mother, did not return calls for request for comment. However, Slaughter released a statement to Pasadena Star News calling the OIR Group’s report, “damning.”
“I am staggered by the amount of new and damning information in the OIR report about the reckless conduct of Officers (Matthew) Griffin and (Jeffrey) Newlen, the failure of the PD to even conduct an administrative investigation and the failure of the PD to cooperate with the OIR Group,” she said. “What I find most disturbing about the OIR Report is that the Pasadena PD never even asked Officers Griffin and Newlen, and never even asked witnesses, so many questions, even after the OIR Group urged them that they should do so.”
Slaughter said the information showed the department “willfully avoided the truth” by not interviewing officers for more than 36 hours after the shooting and not questioning witnesses to the shooting.
“No other conclusion can be drawn from the OIR Report other than that the Pasadena PD has blocked the search for truth, because the truth will damn them,” she said.
What ramifications, if any, the report will have for a future civil suit by McDade’s family are unclear.
Richard Shinee, an attorney for the Pasadena Police Officers’ Association, told the LA Times that “the organization was disappointed that the report was made public and maintained that it contained personnel information about the officers that is confidential by law.”
Shinee cautioned those reading the report to “remember that the officers based their actions on information that McDade was armed, and actions aren’t made in hindsight, but in real time.”
The OIR report was released with redactions proposed by the city and approved by LA County Superior Court Judge James C. Chalfant.
An appellate court ruled that some of the redactions went too far in protecting criticism of the Pasadena Police rather than confidential personnel information. Chalfant ordered the city to file the report again with less redactions by Dec. 1.