Video shows police shooting Black man they suspected had firearm during California traffic stop

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WARNING: Video may be disturbing to some viewers.

PASADENA, Calif. (KTLA) — Police released video Thursday of a shooting that left a Black man dead in California last week, prompting protests and community outrage.

Anthony McClain, a 32-year-old father of three, was shot by an officer during a traffic stop on Aug. 15, the Pasadena Police Department said.

Anthony McClain, a 32-year-old father of three, was shot by an officer during a traffic stop near the intersection of Raymond Avenue and Grandview Street on Aug. 15, 2020. (Pasadena Police Department)
Anthony McClain, 32, was shot by police during a traffic stop in Pasadena on Aug. 15. (Pasadena Police Department)

Around 7:52 p.m., officers stopped a four-door, dark-colored Infiniti without a front license plate.

The officers determined there were two men in the car — McClain being the passenger.

When police asked the driver for his license, the driver said his license was suspended. The driver cooperated with police after being asked to get out of the car, the department said.

McClain, who was also asked to get out of the car, is seen on video getting out, then running away from the officers.

Police say he reached for an item in his waistband, which they believed to be a firearm.

“The natural swinging movement of the individual’s arms while running revealed what both officers immediately recognized as a firearm in his left hand,” according to the department.

With two officers chasing him, McClain can be seen turning and looking at the officers over his right shoulder. Police say they feared he was turning back to shoot at them, so the officer closest to McClain shot at him twice.

It wasn’t immediately clear that he had been shot, as he continued to run “for a considerable distance,” police said. He eventually fell.

McClain sustained at least one gunshot wound, and was given immediate medical attention, according to the department. Paramedics arrived and transported him to a hospital, where he died.

A loaded firearm that was not registered and was illegally assembled was recovered at the scene.

A witness told police they saw McClain throw a firearm.

But Caree Harper, the McClain family’s attorney, said what police saw in the video was a large metal belt buckle, the Los Angeles Times reported.

Neither McClain nor the second officer fired a weapon.

At the time of the incident, McClain was being supervised by the Los Angeles County Probation Department under the Post-Release community supervision program and had previously been convicted of a felony.

A rally was held Thursday, calling for the officer who shot McClain to be fired and for the unedited video footage to be released.

“If you did something wrong, if you have an illegal firearm, let’s deal with that through the court system,” Pastor Kerwin Manning said at the rally. “But our Black men and woman are not even getting an opportunity to make it to court and we’re tired of it.”

Next week, the Pasadena City Council will consider implementing a police oversight commission to investigate the shooting, according to the L.A. Times, but advocates for McClain are demanding an independent police audit. The Los Angeles County District Attorney’s Office and the City of Pasadena are also expected to conduct an independent third party review of the incident, according to the department.

“Any type of officer involved shooting is horrific for our community and we have to be held accountable as a police department,”  Chief John Perez said.

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