DA’s Office: No charges for fatal police shootings in Pasadena, Inglewood
The Los Angeles County District Attorney’s Office has declined to file charges against six officers, including five who have since been fired, in connection with shootings that left three people dead in Inglewood and Pasadena, according to documents released Wednesday.
Prosecutors concluded that former Inglewood Police Department officers Sean Reidy, Richard Parcella, Michael Jaen, Andrew Cohen and Jason Cantrell had “an honest belief in the need for self-defense and defense of others” when they fatally shot Marquintan Sandlin, 32, and Kisha Michael, 31, as the couple sat in a parked car Feb. 21, 2016.
The District Attorney’s Office also declined to file a criminal case against Pasadena Police Department Officer Edwin Dumaguindin involving an Aug. 15, 2020, shooting that left Anthony McClain dead.
In a statement released Wednesday night, District Attorney George Gascón said, “As the public now knows, today our office informed the families of Marquintan Sandlin, Kisha Michael and Anthony McClain that we could not prosecute the police officers who took the lives of their loved ones. We know this is excruciating and that the families are understandably devastated.
“We also understand that the public has questions, but out of respect for the families, we wanted to meet with them first and give them time to process this difficult information,” Gascón added. “We do want to be clear: the burden of proof for prosecution is high. Our decision does not mean that what happened is right.”
A 30-page document released by the District Attorney’s Office involving the shooting in Pasadena concluded that there is “insufficient evidence to prove beyond a reasonable doubt that Dumaguindin’s decision to use deadly force was unreasonable,” finding that “the evidence presented strongly supports that McClain possessed a firearm.”
McClain, 32, was a passenger in a vehicle that was pulled over during a traffic stop by police near Raymond Avenue and Grandview Street.
Then-Pasadena Police Department Chief John Perez, who released police videos of the shooting following the traffic stop, said the fleeing McClain could be seen holding a gun in his waistband as he bolted from the passenger seat of the car, and that he then held it in his left hand as he ran.
McClain’s DNA was found on a firearm recovered at the scene, according to the document released by the District Attorney’s Office.
Last year, Pasadena settled a lawsuit for $7.5 million with the three mothers of three minor children fathered by McClain.
“The death of Anthony McClain in 2020 was a tragic end to the life of a father of three minor children,” according to a statement released in November by Pasadena Public Information Officer Lisa Derderian.
The settlement will resolve “a significant portion of the pending lawsuit arising from the incident. This settlement, with no admission of guilt or wrongdoing, will prevent further prolonged and expensive proceedings,” according to the statement.
Meanwhile, in a 36-page memorandum to Inglewood Police Department Chief Mark Fronterotta that analyzed the shooting of Sandlin and Michael, prosecutors found that “a thorough review of the law and the evidence in this matter leads to the conclusion that there is insufficient evidence to prove that the officers’ decisions to use deadly force were unreasonable.”
Police were summoned to traffic lanes near the intersection of Manchester Boulevard and Inglewood Avenue in connection with a report of two people sleeping or unconscious in the front seats of a Chevrolet Malibu, and police tried to rouse the couple for more than 40 minutes after they observed a gun on the woman’s lap, according to the document.
Sandlin subsequently drove the vehicle forward, striking the patrol vehicle that had stopped in front of him, reversed and struck a Bearcat armored vehicle behind him and then reached toward Michael’s lap, prompting one officer to open fire after multiple officers saw Sandlin reaching towards Michael’s lap and then others to open fire after yelling that Michael was reaching for the weapon, according to the document.
Michael was pronounced dead at the scene, while Sandlin died shortly after being taken to a hospital.
The five officers were subsequently fired and filed a lawsuit against the city that is still pending in which they alleged they were subjected to disparate treatment because they are white.
No non-white officers at the scene of the shooting, including two Latino command sergeants, were fired, according to the lawsuit, which was filed in December 2018.
NBC4 reported that Inglewood paid an $8.6 million settlement to the families of Sandlin and Michael.