Police official removed from McDade civil suit while detective waits for ruling
By André Coleman 07/27/2012
Pasadena police Lt. Phlunte Riddle has been dropped from the wrongful death lawsuit filed by the family of Kendrec McDade, the unarmed 19-year-old shot and killed last March by two Pasadena police officers.
It was not yet clear, however, if Detective Keith Gomez — a controversial figure who’s been entangled in a number of officer-involved incidents of violence over the past several years — would also be dropped from the suit.
The lawsuit was filed in federal court after officers Matthew Griffin and Jeffrey Newlen shot and killed McDade at around 11 p.m. March 24 in the 700 block of Sunset Avenue, shortly after police were called to the corner of North Fair Oaks Avenue and Orange Grove Boulevard by 26-year-old Oscar Carrillo-Gonzalez. Carrillo-Gonzalez alleged he was robbed at gunpoint by McDade and a 17-year-old male. He later admitted that neither suspect was armed.
After getting a description from Carrillo-Gonzalez, Griffin and Newlen spotted McDade and chased him — one officer driving the squad car and firing from the vehicle, the other on foot and also firing — to Sunset Avenue, where the unarmed McDade collapsed after being hit seven times. McDade, the officers said later, had been reaching for his waist when he was shot.
Originally, the lawsuit was filed against Newlen, Griffin and Gomez, who, like Riddle, had not been present when the shooting occurred. However, unlike Riddle, Gomez was assigned to investigate the shooting after the youngster was killed.
“I think it was the right thing to do,” Pasadena City Attorney Michelle Beal Bagneris said of the court’s decision to drop Riddle from the case.
The city has also filed a motion to have Gomez removed from the lawsuit, which McDade family attorney Caree Harper is trying to block.
“To dismiss Detective Gomez out of this litigation would be unjust, especially before additional discovery can be conducted, protective orders can be lifted and his role at the scene and at Huntington Hospital the night Kendrec McDade expired can be determined,” Harper wrote.
On Aug. 3, US District Court Judge Dolly Gee will decide whether to dismiss Gomez from the lawsuit.