Questionable Details Prompt Shifts In Blame For Pasadena Shooting
The caller, Oscar Carrillo, told the operator he had been robbed at a taco truck where two armed men stole his laptop and backpack. He said he had seen a handgun on at least one of the suspected thieves. Carrillo then followed the suspects, giving police updates on their position.
The two responding officers, Jeffrey Newlen and Matthew Griffin, soon arrived on the scene. The Los Angeles Times reported officers said later they had seen McDade move his hand toward his waistband. According to Police Chief Phillip Sanchez, “Both officers fired, striking the suspect" based on the false assumption he was carrying a gun.
Neither a weapon or laptop was found at the shooting scene Sunday, though police continued to search the area.
Since new details of the incident emerged, police have said Carrillo admitted to lying about the suspects being armed so police would respond faster.
Earl Ofari Hutchinson, president of the Los Angeles Urban Policy Roundtable, said Carrillo should take a significant share of the blame for McDade's death.
“Carrillo bears the principal responsibility," Hutchinson said. "It was his false report of armed robbers with guns that brought police speeding to the scene, and in the words of even the Pasadena police chief, that created a 'mindset' with the officers of danger. Carrillo's call set off the deadly train of events and he must legally and morally pay for that.”
But, Hutchinson said, "he didn't shoot McDade. Two Pasadena police officers did, and if after a full and impartial investigation it's determined that they used unjustified deadly force, there must be punishment for the officers.”
Hutchinson also addressed the public's connections between McDade's death and the shooting of Trayvon Martin in Sanford, Fla., earlier this month.
“The circumstances on the surface appear to be different in that Martin was shot walking home, by a rogue neighborhood watch volunteer that initiated the attack on Martin. Whereas with McDade, police allege that he was involved in committing an actual crime.
"But," he continued, "the similarity is that both are young black males with no criminal record, and the shooting of both took place under questionable circumstances."
Though authorities have said the officers involved are both veterans of the force with clean records, McDade's family attorney, Carree Harper, has pressed on in questioning their account of the incident. For now, the Los Angeles County district attorney’s office is continuing its investigation.
Reach Staff Reporter Cliff Liu here.