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Three years after her son’s death, grieving mother seeks justice

LOS ANGELES — For Anya Slaughter, March 24 is a bitter anniversary.

Three years ago, Pasadena police fatally shot her 19-year-old son, Kendrec McDade, while responding to an armed robbery call.

While Slaughter settled a lawsuit with the city of Pasadena, she said she wants a public release of a report on the incident prepared by the Los Angeles County Office of Independent Review. For several months, the mother has been in and out of court demanding to see the report. Presently, the release of a redacted version of the report is being disputed in court.

Slaughter, joined by the Pasadena Chapter of Black Lives Matter (BLM), held a press conference outside of Los Angeles Police Department headquarters March 16 and later marched to District Attorney Jackie Lacey’s office.

“I wanted the report to be released fully, but since I can’t get a release, I would like Ms. Lacey to look at the report because she has the right to get the full report,” said Slaughter.” “She does not have to have a redacted copy.”

Slaughter hopes the district attorney will re-open the case after she reads the report.

“It’s unfair to me as a mother and it’s unfair to other moms who have gone through this and there will be other mothers who will go through this. So I would like the chain to be broken right here at Kendrec McDade’s [death],” Slaughter told The Wave.

The McDade incident has been well documented.

The robbery victim, Oscar Cabrillo-Gonzalez, reported two armed teenagers stole his laptop. Only part of that was true.

The teens had taken Cabrillo-Gonzalez’s laptop. In hopes that police would respond faster, Cabrillo-Gonzalez fabricated the part about his assailants being armed.

Officers Jeffrey Newlen and Matthew Griffin soon were in pursuit of McDade, one on foot while the other was in a police cruiser. Shots were fired. McDade was hit seven times. The autopsy report said three of the gunshots would have proved fatal.

Only after he was dead did the police learn that McDade was unarmed.

Cabrillo-Gonzalez later pleaded guilty for making a false report. However, an internal investigation cleared the officers of any wrongdoing while the District Attorney’s Office supported the officers’ belief the suspect had a gun and did not press charges.

At the March 16 press conference, a supporter of the Black Lives Matter movement said she thinks people — even blacks — have turned a blind-eye to the tension between police and minority communities.

“I found that people are apathetic and that’s totally unacceptable because as African Americans, we always have to fight for justice,” said Josephine Cobbs. “We always have to bring injustices to the forefront for the public to see it.”

A passer-by observed the protestors as she left the District Attorney’s office.

“I don’t want to go back to the late 1800s and sometimes that seems like we’re heading,” said Karen Thompson. “Unless people get outraged about what’s going on in Ferguson, [Missouri], about what happened in New York or what happened over here in Skid Row — then nothing is going to change.”

In addition to requesting that Lacey review the report, Slaughter is also putting pressure on

Members of Black Lives Matter gather outside the county Hall of Justice March 16 waiting to speak with District Attorney Jackie Lacey. The district attorney never appeared. (Photo by Gary McCarthy)
Members of Black Lives Matter gather outside the county Hall of Justice March 16 waiting to speak with District Attorney Jackie Lacey. The district attorney never appeared. (Photo by Gary McCarthy)

to implement the use of body cameras for members of his department.

The use of body cameras by police officers has become a popular topic for black activists throughout the country who have protested the killings of unarmed black men by police dating back to last summer when Michael Brown was killed in Ferguson, Missouri; Eric Garner died from a chokehold administered by New York police officers and Ezell Ford was shot to death in South Los Angeles.

More recently, a mentally ill homeless man was shot to death on Skid Row here March 1 by Los Angeles police who wanted to question him about a theft.

“Who’s accountable?” asked Rev. K.W. Tulloss, the Los Angeles chapter president of the Al Sharpton-led National Action Network after the Skid Row incident. “Is it a mentally challenged individual or poorly trained officers?”

Demanding accountability from the police and others in authority is one thing the Black Lives Matter movement is stressing.

Earl Ofari Hutchinson, president of the Los Angeles Urban Policy Roundtable, called on Mayor Eric Garcetti March 17 to assure that witnesses to police shootings are protected after the death of a potential witness to the Ezell Ford was shot and killed over the weekend.

Leroy Hill was shot to death in the early morning hours of March 14 near the intersection of 65th Street and Broadway,

“The unsolved murder of Leroy Hill, an identified witness to the Ezell Ford killing, under mysterious circumstances raises serious questions about the safety of other identified witnesses who are prepared to give testimony in on-going civil and criminal proceedings and investigations in the case, “said Hutchinson, “Mayor Garcetti and the LAPD have pledged transparency and fairness in the investigation. It’s crucial the mayor assure that his office will take all necessary steps to ensure the safety of other witnesses in the shooting.”

The mayor’s office had no comment on Hutchinson’s demand.