As friends and family of Kendrec McDade bid their goodbyes during the 19-year-old student’s, the FBI launched its investigation on the Pasadena Police’s actions the night McDade was killed.
The investigation is based on new eyewitness accounts, which claim that Pasadena Police officers never identified themselves to McDade before shooting him following a botched robbery attempt. The former Azusa High School football standout was shot when police say he reached for the waistband of his pants.
Reports that McDade was unarmed is fueling comparisons to Trayvon Martin, another unarmed black teenager shot to death by a volunteer Neighborhood Watch officer in Florida.
According to 20-year-old witness Anthony Carroll, Pasadena Police failed to order McDade to stop or turn on their sirens before shooting him from inside their vehicle, the Pasadena Star News reports.
FBI spokeswoman Laura Eimiller has confirmed that the FBI is investigating whether McDade’s civil rights were violated in the shooting.
According to The Huffington Post, the LA County District Attorney's office and the LA County Office of Independent Review (OIR) are also investigating the case.
Pasadena Police contend their actions were spurred by the 911 call of 26-year-old Oscar Carrillo-Gonzalez, who lied to police when he told them that McDade and another teenager were armed when they stole his backpack from his car outside a taco truck in Pasadena. Carillo-Gonzales, who was arrested for involuntary manslaughter following McDade’s death, told the Star-News he lied so that the police would respond faster. He also said that he believes the Pasadena Police have used him as a scapegoat and are covering up details of the shooting.
Many have compared McDade’s death to the Trayvon Martin incident, which sparked nationwide outrage and outcries of racism.
“They were young black men who are, when the situation comes up, targets of violence,” said Earl Ofari Hutchinson, the president of the Los Angeles Urban Police Roundtable.
But the similarities end there, said Lt. Phlunte Riddle of the Pasadena Police. Martin was walking to a family member’s house when he was shot by self-appointed Neighborhood Watch officer George Zimmerman, Phlunte said, while McDade and another teenager attempted to steal money from a cash register at a restaurant before stealing a backpack and a laptop from Carrillo-Gonzalez’s car.
Martin’s death was a result of racial profiling, said Phlunte, while the McDade incident was a police response to what they believed was an armed robbery.