Pasadena Police say officer was within policy in fatal Anthony McClain shooting

Pasadena Police say officer was within policy in fatal Anthony McClain shooting

Updated: 4 months, 23 days, 9 hours, 10 minutes, 43 seconds ago

Pasadena Police Department leaders determined Officer Edwin Dumaguidin was “in compliance with department policy” during an August 2020 shooting that resulted in the death of Anthony McClain, according to a recently completed internal review, announced on Friday, Oct. 28.

The result of the review, one of three that must be completed before the city can have a full conversation about the shooting, has been long awaited by residents in the city of Pasadena.

Pasadena Police Department’s Use of Force Review Board conducted the “comprehensive review,” and made recommended findings in accordance with Department Policy No. 302 of the Department’s Policies and Procedures Manual, which is available online.

The decision ends months of waiting on the status of the investigation, and the fate of an officer over a shooting that has sparked fierce criticism over police tactics. The shooting was among a chain of shootings that culminated in the formation of a civilian oversight commission in the city.

Dumaguidin shot and killed a fleeing Anthony McClain, 32, after a 2020 traffic stop in the northwest part of the city. The stop was over a missing front licence plate, initiated by Dumanguindin and partner Ryan Mulrooney near Raymond Avenue and Grandview Street. During the stop, according to edited video released by police, the driver of the car stopped by police admitted to driving without a license.

The passenger in the car, identified as McClain, stepped out of the car, and immediately began to sprint away from the officers, according to police accounts.

Then-Police Chief John Perez released video taken from an officer-worn body camera before the state’s 45-day time limit for making video of critical incidents public. He also released the name of the officer.

Police claimed in an edited eight-minute video, a combination of body-worn and dashboard video, that an object McClain held in his waistband and later, in his left hand, was a handgun. That’s why police fired, according to police.

Ever since the shooting, frequent calls for justice and accountability have come to City Council chambers, and the demands have reached the steps of City Hall.

The family of McClain and George Floyd took to the steps of Pasadena City Hall last year, where, in front of dozens of supporters, they called for the firing of the officer who shot McClain.

The city agreed to a $7.5 million settlement with McClain’s family over the incident, though District Attorney’s report could not find sufficient evidence to charge the officer.

Interim Chief of Police Jason Clawson, who presided over the Use of Force Review Board, adopted the Board’s recommendations.

“The Pasadena Police Department takes all uses of force seriously, especially those which result in the loss of a person’s life,” Clawson said in the news release, noting he is committed to holding members of the department accountable.

The interim chief is also “confident that we took a critical and comprehensive look at what happened,” he said, encouraging the public to review the complete investigation.

“Ultimately, this incident resulted in the loss of Mr. McClain’s life, and it was tragic for all those involved and for the community,” he stated in a release that accompanied the review.

Under the city of Pasadena policy, the police chief is solely responsible for determining whether a use of force complies with department policy.

Neither the city manager nor the City Council have a role in reviewing a use of force incident, the news release states. Since the chief found the officer’s use of force in compliance with department policy, the determination is final, and the city manager cannot review the force or impose discipline as a result of the force.

Additionally, the city council is not involved in the disciplinary process due to the council-manager form of government established by the city charter.

Disciplinary proceedings are still pending in connection with the incident, though, due to the officer’s failure to activate a body worn camera in a timely manner, city leaders clarified.

The chief of police is solely responsible for imposing discipline for any policy violations that may have occurred during an incident. And an officer will be provided an opportunity to respond to the chief before any proposed discipline becomes effective.

If discipline is imposed, an officer can appeal it, according to the release. “If appealed, the city manager is responsible for making the final decision on an officer’s appeal from the discipline.”

As a result, the city manager is not involved in reviewing or commenting on the merits of any discipline before there is a final decision in order to remain impartial.

This is a developing story.