PASADENA, Calif. – A Pasadena police officer who fatally shot a Black man running from a 2020 traffic stop — prompting months of protests — acted within department policy, according to the results of an internal investigation released Friday.
The report from the department’s Use of Force Review Board, and affirmed by interim Police Chief Jason Clawson, found that the use of force employed by Officer Edwin Dumaguindin in the Aug. 15, 2020, shooting of Anthony McClain was in compliance with the department’s use-of-force policy.
The city noted, however, that disciplinary action is still pending against the officer for failing to activate a body-worn camera in a timely manner at the onset of the confrontation.
“The Pasadena Police Department takes all uses of force seriously, especially those which result in the loss of a person’s life,” Clawson said in a statement. “I am committed to holding myself and the other members of the department accountable for our actions, individually and collectively, and I am confident that we took a critical and comprehensive look at what happened.
“I encourage the public to review the complete investigation. Ultimately, this incident resulted in the loss of Mr. McClain’s life, and it was tragic for all those involved and for the community.”
McClain, a probationer, was a passenger in a vehicle that was pulled over by officers near Raymond Avenue and Grandview Street about 8 p.m. Aug. 15, 2020. The 32-year-old 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, authorities said.
Then-Police Chief John Perez later released police videos of the shooting, saying 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 McClain’s father allege the fleeing man was holding his belt buckle and that a gun recovered across the street was not tied to him but 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.
Pasadena police have said that a DNA test established a link between the 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.
Earlier this year, the District Attorney’s Office declined to file any criminal charges against the officer, concluding there was “insufficient evidence to prove beyond a reasonable doubt that Dumaguindin’s decision to use deadly force was unreasonable.” Prosecutors found that “the evidence presented strongly supports that McClain possessed a firearm.”
McClain’s shooting — occurring about three months after the death of George Floyd at the hands of police in Minneapolis — set off waves of protests against the Pasadena Police Department and allegations of excessive force. Relatives of McClain filed multiple lawsuits.
The city last year reached a $7.5 million settlement with the three mothers of three minor children fathered by McClain. A separate lawsuit by McClain’s father and other relatives is still pending in Los Angeles federal court. Relatives contend that McClain was shot in the back.
“I don’t see no reason why he should have been shot in the back and killed,” McClain’s father, Archie Barry, said shortly after his son was shot. “I don’t know if I can live with this the (rest) of my life.”
The city of Pasadena has also retained the Office of Independent Review to investigate the shooting. That report is still pending.