PASADENA (CBSLA) — Archie Barry stood next to his attorneys in front of the Pasadena Police Department Thursday after filing a claim against the city, demanding answers in his son’s fatal shooting by police.
“It breaks me down to have my son lost like this,” he said. “I don’t see no reason why he should have been shot in the back and killed.”
On Aug. 15, 32-year-old Anthony McClain was the passenger in a vehicle pulled over for not having a front plate. In video released by the Pasadena Police Department from the shooting, the driver of the vehicle can be heard admitting to having a suspended license and was asked to exit the vehicle — which he does.
A few minutes later, video shows a second officer approaching the passenger side and asking McClain to also exit the vehicle. Within seconds, police opened fire as McClain ran from the car.
“Anthony McClain was no imminent threat to this officer or any officers when he was cowardly shot in the back,” Luis Carrillo, one of the family’s attorneys, said.
A second claim for damages was filed Thursday morning by McClain’s grandmother — who raised him — on behalf of two of McClain’s children, including his youngest who he was FaceTiming with minutes before the shooting.
“She was the apple of her dad’s eye,” Caree Harper, the attorney representing McClain’s children, said.
According to Harper, the driver of the vehicle was out within 60 seconds of the traffic stop.
“Within 2.5 minutes, the incident has involved a shooting, for a license plate violation and a belt buckle that was shiny,” she said.
The police department claims McClain had a gun in his waistband and tossed it while running away, though McClain’s family said the flash the officers saw was a belt buckle. In videos released by the department, McClain could be heard defending himself before police opened fire.
“An officer says, ‘Where’s the gun, where’s the gun?'” Harper said. “He says, ‘I didn’t have no gun.'”
And, Harper said, not only was the shooting not justified, but McClain had every legal right to leave the scene.
“From what we know, and what we saw, he had no responsibility to provide identification,” she said. “He had no responsibility to answer questions and he had no responsibility to stay on scene and be touched.”
Both legal claims are demanding an independent investigation of the fatal police shooting, something the city said in a statement it was going to do.
“We will initiate an independent, third-party review. … Our community deserves to know more about this incident and we will provide the facts.”
But McClain’s family wants more than the facts, they want justice.
“This has gotten out of hand,” Harper said. “It’s like open season on Black men in northwest Pasadena.”
The city of Pasadena has 45 days to respond to the two filed claims. If it fails to do so or denies the claims, a lawsuit can be filed — which attorneys said they planned to do.