Tensions rise after Pasadena mayor removes memorial to Anthony McClain in front of home

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Video posted to Twitter appears to show the mayor of Pasadena removing signs from a vigil for Anthony McClain on Oct. 24, 2020. (Sean Carmitchel)

Video posted to Twitter appears to show the mayor of Pasadena removing signs from a vigil for Anthony McClain on Oct. 24, 2020. (Sean Carmitchel)

Pasadena Mayor Terry Tornek issued a statement Saturday after video and photos posted online showed him and his wife in front of their home removing a memorial that was placed by protesters in honor of Anthony McClain, a Black man shot by a local officer during a traffic stop in August.

According to the mayor, a group rallied at his residence Friday night and presented demands related to the killing of McClain. He said that he spoke with them but was shouted down, and that he was “subjected to obscene chants and personal insults for an extended period of time.”

The demonstrators later left, leaving behind candles and signs, “some of which included references to murder and ‘killer cops,'” Tornek said. He and his wife removed the signage, the mayor said.

Twitter user Sean Carmitchel posted a video of the couple taking down posters.

According to another Twitter user that goes by the handle @_preciouschild, Black Lives Matter activists were marching to protest the Pasadena Police Department’s removal of a memorial for Anthony McClain for two nights in a row.

The user tweeted a video in which local activist Jasmine Richards asks the mayor if he would leave the vigil alone, to which he responds “no.”

“He stated I [don’t] speak for the community,” Richards later said in a Facebook post.

In a follow-up message, @_preciouschild said Richards faces several “bogus charges” due to her longtime activism.

In his statement, Tornek accused event organizers of “using the emotional upheaval and genuine grief over Mr. McClain’s death to advance another agenda through intimidation.”

The mayor said that mourning should take place at churches, “not on Raymond Avenue or his home.”

“Church locations could meet a real need without becoming hot spots for violence,” Tornek said.

Mourners have been holding vigils since a Pasadena police officer fatally shot McClain, who authorities said tossed a handgun while running away after being shot during a traffic stop. He was 32 years old.

McClain’s family has since filed two claims against the city.

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