Day 16 - Last Words: Kendrec McDade

Day 16 - Last Words: Kendrec McDade

"Why did they shoot me?"

Kendrec McDade, 1992-2012

Just before 11pm, on March 24, 2012, a 911 caller in Pasadena, CA reported the theft of a backpack and a laptop, falsely claiming that he had been help up at gunpoint. Kendrec McDade was on Orange Grove Boulevard around the time of the theft. Two Pasadena police officers, Jeffrey Newlen and Mathew Griffin, saw McDade and believed they had a suspect. 

McDade ran from the police and they pursued him in their car. They pursued him into a darkened alleyway. Officer Newlen exited the car on foot. Officer Griffin claimed he saw the suspect reach for a weapon, and he shot McDade four times in close range. Officer Newlen fired another three times, thinking that the suspect had opened fire. When paramedics arrived, McDade asked the ambulance driver, “Why did they shoot me?” McDade died five minutes past midnight on March 25, 2012. 

As the officers pursued Kendrec McDade, they chose not to switch on their emergency lights or sirens. They did not use the loudspeaker to tell McDade to stop. They did not call for backup and they did not radio in their pursuit. A report issued by the Office of Independent Review (OIR), a civilian oversight group, indicates that the two officers made "at least ten tactical decisions that were not congruent with principles of officer safety." In June 2014 the city of Pasedena, California agreed to pay $1 million to settle a lawsuit filed by the relatives of Kendrec McDade. 

Sources: The Guardian US, Pasadena Star News

“People who shut their eyes to reality simply invite their own destruction, and anyone who insists on remaining in a state of innocence long after that innocence is dead turns himself into a monster.”
— James Baldwin, “Stranger in the Village,” 1953

If you faint in the day of adversity, your strength being small; 
if you hold back from rescuing those taken away to death, those who go staggering to the slaughter;  
if you say, “Look, we did not know this”— does not he who weighs the heart perceive it? Does not he who keeps watch over your soul know it? And will he not repay all according to their deeds? 
Proverbs 24: 10-12

It’s so easy to act based on hearsay - the officers heard there was a gun, the officers assumed the suspect was reaching for that gun, one officer opened fire and the other assumed the suspect was the one shooting – but it’s much harder to find out the facts for ourselves. To challenge conventional thinking. To learn the truth, especially when it’s the ugly truth. Guide us in our search for truth, open our eyes to the hard facts, give us the words to educate others. But most of all, open our stubborn hearts and minds to realize when we’re wrong, and to accept the truth and to change our behaviors. Amen.
Day 17 - First Steps: Organize

Day 17 - First Steps: Organize

Day 15 - First Steps: Watch

Day 15 - First Steps: Watch