The Last Word
OIR disbands after turning over McDade shooting report to Pasadena leaders
By André Coleman 08/14/2014
The final report in the officer-involved shooting death of 19-year-old Kendrec McDade is also the last report prepared by the Los Angeles County Office of Independent Review (OIR), an agency formed by the county Board of Supervisors to investigate incidents involving the Sheriff’s Department and other county law enforcement agencies, including the Pasadena Police Department.
Although the Sheriff’s Department, the District Attorney’s Office and Pasadena police determined the 2012 shooting was justified, and two federal lawsuits filed in relation to the shooting death of the unarmed McDade have since been settled, the OIR did not file its report on the incident until last week.
“We briefed [City Manager Michael Beck] on the report in a meeting last Thursday,” said OIR Lead Attorney Michael Gennaco, a former federal prosecutor. “At some point, we would like to see it released, but the next step is the city’s.”
Beck has stated that he will not release the full report, only its recommendations for improving officer and agency performance. Even members of the City Council’s Public Safety Committee will not see the report in its entirety, according to Councilwoman Jacque Robinson, chair of the PSC.
Although Councilman John Kennedy, a member of the PSC, has called full disclosure of the OIR report, and a growing number of people are calling for civilian oversight of the Police Department, Beck has steadfastly maintained only portions of the report will be made public.
At Monday’s Pasadena City Council meeting, local attorney Dale Gronemeier said he would sue the city if Beck does not release the full report.
“You need to rein in City Manager Beck and allow Chief [Phillip] Sanchez to live up to his commitments,” Gronemeier said. “I hope that the next time you see me, we will be having a meaningful dialogue about what needs to be done in light of the release of the full OIR report on the McDade shooting. But if I do not see you in the context of such a discussion full report’s release, I will see you in court.”
Gronemeier also stated that if any part of the report is released, the city cannot invoke personnel confidentiality or attorney-client privilege to withhold other parts of the report.
McDade was shot and killed by Officers Jeffrey Newlen and Matthew Griffin shortly after 11:30 p.m. on May 24, 2012, on Sunset Avenue in Northwest Pasadena after he and a 17-year-old friend stole a backpack from a car parked near a taco stand. The vehicle’s owner, Oscar Carrillo-Gonzales, made a 911 call after the theft and told police he had been robbed at gunpoint by two black men. Carrillo-Gonzales mentioned a gun eight times during the call, which city officials say led the officers to believe McDade was armed.