Family of Black man killed by police demands accountability

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PASADENA, Calif. (AP) –

The family of a Black man who was shot in the back and killed by police in Southern California last year says the shooting was unjustified and demanded accountability Monday – the day before he would have turned 33.

Anthony McClain was fatally shot in Pasadena, California, on Aug. 15, 2020. Members of his family are being represented by famed civil rights attorney Benjamin Crump, who has worked with the families of Trayvon Martin, Ahmaud Arbery, Breonna Taylor, George Floyd and Jacob Blake in other cases.

McClain had been a passenger in a vehicle that was pulled over because it’s front license plate was missing. Pasadena Police Officer Edwin Dumaguindin asked McClain to get out of the car. After doing so, McClain began running, video shows. McClain kicks off his shoes and runs away from Dumaguindin.

The videos – a combination of footage from police body-worn cameras and a vehicle dashboard camera – shows McClain‘s left hand near his mid-section and his back to the officer. While police say McClain grabbed a gun from his waistband and turned toward the officer, the videos do not show the weapon.

McClain‘s family says he was holding his belt buckle and disputes that a gun recovered across the street was his.

Dumaguindin fired two shots at McClain while he was running away. One bullet grazed his shoulder and the other hit him in the back, fatally wounding him hours later, according to an autopsy report.

McClain can be heard in the video saying “I’m passing out” and “Come on, I can’t breathe” as he lays face-down on the ground, blood soaking his white T-shirt. An officer asks “where’s the gun?” and McClain replies “I don’t have no gun.” The officer handcuffs him before applying pressure to his wound as a crowd screams at the police.

McClain’s family has filed a federal lawsuit against the city of Pasadena, the police department, its police chief, Dumaguindin and another officer. The civil suit is pending as the shooting remains under investigation by the Los Angeles County District Attorney’s Office.

On Monday, the family’s attorneys released a video taken by a bystander that shows police applying pressure to McClain’s wounds. Attorney Caree Harper has said videos show one of the officers putting his knee on McClain’s back but it’s not clear from the footage if the officer is kneeling on McClain or on the ground next to McClain.

The DA’s office and Pasadena police did not immediately respond to a request for comment Monday.

McClain’s family, wearing T-shirts decorated with photos of him, released black and red balloons and sang happy birthday to him Monday in front of the police department.

Family members say McClain’s children, 2-year-old daughter Skilynn McClain and sons Anthony McClain Jr., 9, and Bryce McClain, 13, have struggled to cope with their father’s death. Skilynn McClain had been video-chatting McClain just 20 minutes before the shooting.

“She’s been waking up at 2 in the morning, asking for her Dad, crying out in her sleep,” said her mother, Diondra Williams. “I’ve just got to tell my 2-year-old he’s an angel.”

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