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Videos show Anthony McClain shot while running from Pasadena police; they say he had a gun

Videos of the Saturday police shooting of Anthony McClain showed a Pasadena police officer fire at least two shots at a fleeing McClain, who held what police say was a firearm.

Pasadena police on Thursday released the bodycam footage along with video from the dashboard camera on the patrol car and surveillance video from a business. The officer who shot McClain did not have his camera turned on. The bodycam video is from another officer at the scene who did not shoot McClain.

McClain, 32, of Pasadena, was shot about 8 p.m. near Raymond Avenue and Grandview Street after two Pasadena police officers pulled over a car in which McClain was a passenger. McClain died from a gunshot wound to the torso, according to the coroner’s office. He was pronounced dead at Huntington Hospital in Pasadena at 9:46 p.m. on Saturday. The autopsy report has not been completed and released.

Police showed McClain’s family an edited 8-minute video with police department narration before releasing the edited video and the raw footage to the media and public.

“We saw an edited version, a heavily edited version of the video from Pasadena PD. It’s clearly the propaganda they want to forward in the media to you,” said Caree Harper, an attorney representing McClain’s family after stepping out of the Pasadena Police Department on Thursday. She also was given a flash drive with the full unedited video.

Anthony McLain (Courtesy of Pasadena Police Department)

“The video that I saw stops just before the shot was fired, and the officer in my opinion did not need to shoot at all,” she said. “And it’s arguable what, if anything, might have been on Mr. McClain at the time. You will not see a literal smoking gun.”

The shooting took place about one minute and 40 seconds after two police officers pulled over a car for an alleged traffic violation. The video shows the driver admitting to driving without a driver’s license during the stop and is asked to step out of the car. Officers also ask the car’s passenger, identified as McClain, to step out of the car.

As he exits the car, McClain begins to run from officers. An edited, slowed down video of police dash cam footage shows McClain gripping his waistband where a shiny object is seen.

One officer, with a gun drawn, is running toward McClain, who is sprinting along Raymond Avenue. McClain turns his head back over his right shoulder at the officer while holding an object in his left hand.

After McClain turns forward, away from the officer, continuing to sprint, the officer is heard yelling, “Stop right now,” then two gunshots are heard in the video.

The video shows the officer pointing his gun at McClain and toward several houses in Raymond Avenue as the shots in the video are heard.

After the gunshots are heard, McClain continues to sprint out of the frame of the video.

Police claim in the edited video’s narration that the object McClain held in his waistband and later, in his left hand, was a gun.

The edited video pieces together footage of a nearby surveillance camera, which police say shows McClain throw a firearm across Raymond Avenue.

Harper said the shiny object seen in the video is not a gun but is actually a belt buckle.

“The video that they’re going to release to you saying it’s a weapon, we’re going to assert it’s his MK belt buckle” Harper said, adding that he was seen wearing the buckle the day he was shot.

McClain died from a gunshot wound to the torso, according to the coroner’s office. He was pronounced dead at Huntington Hospital in Pasadena at 9:46 p.m. on Saturday. The autopsy report has not been completed and released.

Officers saw McClain holding a gun while running away, Police Chief John Perez said in an earlier interview. He said McClain began to turn when the officer shot him. He was still running when he tossed the gun aside, ran for about 20 yards, then collapsed, Perez said.

Since Saturday evening, mere hours after the shooting, when community members held a vigil for McClain near La Pintoresca Park where he was gunned down, the 32-year-old’s family, friends and activists with Black Lives Matter Pasadena have continued to take to Pasadena streets in protest, demanding release of the footage.

Responding to demands, Pasadena police Chief John Perez pledged on Monday to release footage of the shooting later in the week, a swift move that is uncommon in most police use-of-force cases. State law requires police agencies to release footage of a deadly use-of-force incident within 45 days.

There are four simultaneous investigations into McClain’s shooting death. The Pasadena police homicide detectives are conducting a criminal investigation, the Los Angeles County District Attorney’s Office is investigating the possible criminality of the shooting, as they do with all officer-involved shootings in the county, Pasadena police officials are also investigating whether officers violated any department policies, and city officials also pledged to have a third party complete an independent investigation of the shooting.

According to a new police use-of-force bill, signed into state law in August 2019, specifies that an officer can use deadly force if there is an “imminent threat” of death or serious injury against an officer or other person, doing away with the old standard of “reasonable fear.”

Source: Orange County Register

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