Los Angeles Superior Court Judge James C. Chalfant Friday entered a judgment ordering the release of a redacted version of the Office of Independent Review Group (“OIR”) Report on the Pasadena Police Department’s shooting of the unarmed young African-American youth Kendrec McDade. However, the
OIR Report will not be immediately released because Judge Chalfant concurrently granted the request of the Pasadena Police Officers Association (“PPOA”) for a 20 day stay on enforcing the order so that it could seek to overturn Judge Chalfant’s order in the Court of Appeal.
Pasadena Police Department officers Matthew Griffin and Jeffrey Newlen shot and killed Kendrec McDade in 2012 after a false report that two youths with guns had robbed a victim; the officers chased McDade for several blocks, before shooting him, claiming they believed that he had a gun. However, McDade was unarmed.
Pasadena City Manager Michael Beck sparked a public outcry in July when he publicly stated that the City would release only the recommendations in the OIR Report. Numerous community members urged the City Council to release the full OIR Report. Community members, community organizations, and newspapers then filed public records act requests for the OIR Report. At the City’s urging, the PPOA filed suit in early September to prevent the City from releasing any part of the OIR Report; the City used the PPOA lawsuit to avoid responding to the public records act requests. McDade’s mother, Anya Slaughter, the Pasadena NAACP, ACT, the Interdenominational Ministerial Alliance, and ACLU Board member Kris Ockershauser intervened in the lawsuit, got the PPOA’s lawsuit dismissed as premature because the City had not indicated it was going to release the document; Judge Chalfant ordered the City to “stop playing games” and indicate whether or not it would release the report. The Los Angeles Times at the same time intervened to also seek release of the OIR Report. The City then submitted under seal a copy of the Report that redacted 14 pages of the 70-page report. On November 4, Judge Chalfant overruled most of the PPOA’s objections to release of the OIR Report, ordered the City to un-redact two of its proposed redactions, and ordered the City to redact four short portions that it had not redacted.
On November 14, Judge Chalfant entered the judgment ordering release of the revised redacted report but stayed for 20 days until December 3 the City’s obligation to release the report.
PPOA Attorney Richard Shinee indicated in Court that the PPOA would seek a further stay in the appellate courts and would ask the appellate court to prevent the release of the redacted report.
Dale Gronemeier, attorney for the interveners (except for the LA Times) stated that he was disappointed that the PPOA is going to try to further delay the release of the report. He indicated that his clients and the LA Times have not yet decided whether they would ask the appellate court to release the whole report.
Gronemeier said “I’d like to get back to discussing why this unarmed young African-American should not have been shot by the Pasadena Police, the failures in police practices that led to the shooting, and the indefensible City administrative review that exonerated the officers for their conduct in a reckless shooting. I just hope the OIR Report’s criticisms of the City’s administrative review is not buried in the 14 pages that Judge Chalfant has allowed the City to redact.”