Wrongful death lawsuit claims racial bias, coverup in fatal shooting by Pasadena police

PASADENA, Calif. (CNS) -- The father of a probationer who was fatally shot while running from law enforcement is suing the city of Pasadena and several of its police officers, alleging wrongful death and civil rights violations.

Anthony McClain was the passenger in a vehicle that was pulled over by officers near Raymond Avenue and Grandview Street about 8 p.m. Aug. 15. The 32-year-old Black man was shot at least once in the upper body after he got out of the vehicle and began running and died that night at a hospital.

Pasadena police Chief John Perez, who last month 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.

Attorneys for Archie Barry, McClain's father, allege the fleeing man was holding his belt buckle and that a gun recovered across the street is not tied to him and was "planted'' by officers. A gun is not clearly visible in the video footage released by the police department, but McClain is seen with his hand at his waist as he begins to run.

The suit, filed in Los Angeles federal court late Monday, names officer Edwin Dumaguindin as the officer who allegedly shot McClain twice in the back "without warning'' and "without legal justification.'' According to the plaintiff, McClain was shot by Dumaguindin "because he was an African-American man'' and the officer and unnamed colleagues then participated in a cover-up.

On Friday, a similar suit was filed on behalf of McClain's grandmother and two women who had children with McClain, contending that he was shot multiple times in the back and that Dumaguindin could have transferred McClain's DNA onto the gun found at the scene.

Pasadena police last month said a DNA test established a link between a firearm recovered at the scene and McClain. The DNA test, which was conducted by the sheriff's Scientific Services Bureau, determined that McClain's DNA and no one else's was found on the firearm, according to the department.

"Even if his DNA is on the weapon, it doesn't justify shooting a man in the back as he's running away,'' plaintiff's attorney Michael Carrillo said at the time. "The Pasadena Police Department is looking for evidence to help their side, to help their cause, when they really should be looking at their officer's actions who shot and killed Anthony that day.''

The family has called for the California Attorney General's Office to investigate the shooting.

"I don't see no reason why he should have been shot in the back and killed,'' McClain's father Archie Barry said in late August. "I don't know if I can live with this the (rest) of my life.''

The suit seeks unspecified survival and wrongful death damages and legal fees.
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