California judge blocks release of report into police shooting of teen

Reuters News
Posted: Sep 16, 2014 9:56 PM

By Victoria Cavaliere

(Reuters) - A Los Angeles judge on Tuesday issued a temporary restraining order preventing the release of an independent review into the shooting death of an unarmed black teenager by police in Southern California, officials said.

Results of the probe, conducted by the Office of Independent Review, has been sought by civil rights groups including the American Civil Liberties Union and the Pasadena chapter of the NAACP as well as the Los Angeles Times and the mother of the victim.

Kendrec McDade, 19, was shot by two Pasadena police officers in March, 2012 after a man called 911 and falsely reported he had been robbed by two men with guns.

Police chased McDade and a friend through the streets of Pasadena, 12 miles north of downtown Los Angeles, and then claimed McDade charged them. Two officers opened fire on the teen, shooting him seven times, according to an autopsy report.

McDade's death came on the heels of the fatal shooting of 17-year-old Trayvon Martin, an unarmed black teen in Florida, and prompted calls for an independent probe into allegations of excessive force and racial profiling by Pasadena police.

A report completed by the Office of Independent Review this year has not been made public after the Pasadena Police Officers' Association sought to have it sealed arguing it contains privileged information barred from release under state law.

On Tuesday, a judge issued a temporary restraining order, saying he was still examining the case, the attorney representing the Pasadena officers told Reuters.

"It's a step in the right direction and we want to keep moving in this direction and get a preliminary injunction," said attorney Richard Shinee.

Shinee said the release of the report "contravenes California law," because it contained personnel information about the involved officers.

Pasadena city officials said they did not agree with the move to seal the report and have a redacted version that protects the officers' rights.

"We would like to get this done as soon as possible so we can release as much as we can," Assistant City Attorney Javan Rad told the Pasadena Star-News.

McDade's mother, who has settled a wrongful death suit with the city, told the newspaper Tuesday's restraining order was "devastating."

The Los Angeles County District Attorney's Office concluded that the officers acted in lawful self-defense when they shot McDade.

(Editing by Eric Walsh)