Video shows Pasadena police shooting Black man they believe had a firearm during traffic stop

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Police released video Thursday of a shooting that left a Black man dead in Pasadena last week, prompting protests and community outrage.

Anthony McClain, a 32-year-old father of three, was shot by an officer during a traffic stop near the intersection of Raymond Avenue and Grandview Street on Aug. 15, 2020. (Pasadena Police Department)
Anthony McClain, 32, was shot by police during a traffic stop in Pasadena on Aug. 15, 2020. (Pasadena Police Department)

Anthony McClain, a 32-year-old father of three, was shot by an officer during a traffic stop near the intersection of Raymond Avenue and Grandview Street on Aug. 15, the Pasadena Police Department said.

Around 7:52 p.m., officers were driving northbound on Raymond Avenue when they saw a four-door, dark-colored Infiniti without a front license plate making a southbound turn from Howard Street onto Raymond Avenue.

The officers initiated a traffic stop on Raymond Avenue near Grandview Street, and determined that there were two men in the car — McClain being the passenger. One of the officers approached the car and told the driver the reason for the stop, to which the driver said his license plate had fallen off.

The driver retrieved the license plate from inside the car and put it on the dashboard.

Then when police asked for his license, the driver said his license was suspended. The driver was then asked to exit the vehicle, and fully cooperated with police, the department said.

McClain, a passenger, was also asked to exit the car, and video shows that upon getting out, he started running away from the officers.

Police say he reached for an item in his waistband, which they believed to be a firearm.

“The natural swinging movement of the individual’s arms while running revealed what both officers immediately recognized as a firearm in his left hand,” according to the department.

The two officers can be seen chasing him, and after running a few yards, McClain turned and looked at the officers over his right shoulder. Police say they feared he was turning back to shoot at them, and so the officer closest to McClain shot at him twice.

It wasn’t immediately clear that he had been shot, as he continued to run “for a considerable distance,” police said. He eventually stopped and fell onto the eastside parkway of Raymond Avenue.

McClain sustained at least one gunshot wound, and was given immediate medical attention, according to the department. Paramedics arrived and transported him to a hospital, where he died.

A loaded firearm — that was not registered and was illegally assembled — was recovered at the scene.

A witness told police he or she saw McClain throw a firearm.

But Caree Harper, the McClain family’s attorney, said what police saw in the video was a large metal belt buckle, the Los Angeles Times reported.

Neither McClain nor the second officer discharged a weapon.

At the time of the incident, McClain was being supervised by the Los Angeles County Probation Department under the Post-Release community supervision program and had previously been convicted of a felony.

A rally was held Thursday, calling for the officer who shot McClain to be fired and for the unedited video footage to be released.

“If you did something wrong, if you have an illegal firearm, let’s deal with that through the court system,” Pastor Kerwin Manning said at the rally. “But our black men and woman are not even getting an opportunity to make it to court and we’re tired of it.”

Next week, the Pasadena City Council will consider implementing a police oversight commission to investigate the shooting, according to the L.A. Times, but advocates for McClain are demanding an independent police audit. The Los Angeles County District Attorney’s Office and the City of Pasadena are also supposed to conduct an independent third party review of the incident, according to the department.

“Any type of officer involved shooting is horrific for our community and we have to be held accountable as a police department,”  Chief John Perez said.

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