Content warning: police violence, murder
Written by Will Hoadley-Brill
On the evening of Saturday, August 15, Pasadena police officers shot and killed Anthony McClain. McClain was 32 years old and the father of three children.
McClain was in the passenger seat when the car was pulled over near the intersection of Raymond Avenue and Grandview Street in Pasadena. The traffic stop was initiated because there was no front license plate. He was asked to exit the vehicle by an officer at which point he began to run. He was shot in the back as he was running away from the police officers. Further details, police justification, and community demands can be found here on KTLA’s coverage as no South Pasadena news source has covered this murder as of the morning of Friday, August 21.
We are shocked and appalled at the complete silence in the local media about this incident. Many South Pasadena residents choose to believe that we live in a haven of diversity, justice, and equality. Although Pasadena may be a legally separate municipality, this murder affects our community as well.
The epidemic of police killings of Black people in our country can not be distanced from our own city. Anthony McClain’s children have lost their father. Anthony McClain’s family has lost a loved one. Our community has unjustly lost a member. And for what? Because he did not have a front license plate? Because he had an unregistered firearm? Because he ran from the police? None of these actions can justify Anthony McClain’s death.
Anthony McClain should not have been shot by Pasadena police. As Pastor Kerwin Manning said at a rally this week, “If you did something wrong, if you have an illegal firearm, let’s deal with that through the court system. But our Black men and women are not even getting an opportunity to make it to court and we’re tired of it.”
The use of minor offenses as justification for increasing police interaction with people of color, particularly Black people, is a key tool in militarized police forces to maintain a prison industrial complex off which companies and individuals profit. The cost is Black lives. The cost is Anthony McClain’s life.
We can not tolerate that cost. Only once we institutionally and culturally recognize the inherent value in every life via action, not words, can our society and our community begin the journey toward racial justice. We must call upon our local city government to take action to prevent further death and harm at the hands of our local police departments. The South Pasadena Police Department is not immune to what happened this past week in Pasadena, as we have seen in the past. We can not tolerate inaction and silence around an issue that is so clearly present in our community.
Say his name: Anthony McClain.
This article represents the views and opinions of the author solely and does not express the opinions of all ARC members.