L to R - Kenneth McDade (father), Attorney Caree Harper, Anya Slaughter (mother)
Anya Slaughter and Kenneth McDade (Kendrec McDade's mother and father) along with their attorney, Caree Harper, spoke with the Los Angeles Sentinel
For parents - especially a mother - one of the most difficult things to experience is having to bury a child. The natural bond between a mother and a child, whom she carried inside her for nine months, is a strong, primal bond. There is a saying that 'children should always outlive their parents'. Kendrec McDade (KMcD), a 19 'year-young' Black man was recently killed in Pasadena by the local police, and since then his parents and the community have raised lots of questions about the circumstances surrounding the seemingly senseless killing, most of which have not been answered.
The attorney for the family, Caree Harper, filed a lawsuit in the U.S. District Court against the city of Pasadena, the police chief and others on April 3, and both she and the parents recently spoke to the Sentinel about how the incident has changed their lives - parents and attorney. It is important to note that even though KMcD's parents came to speak with the Sentinel - their lives had been so shattered and distraught by the loss of their son - Harper did a lot of the talking on their behalf, and the explaining and interpreting of the events from her vantage point - in addition to what has happened, thus far; the status of the investigation, as she sees it; the filing of the lawsuit; and the terrible impact that it has had on all their lives.
According to Harper, "Kendrec did not die where he was shot; he died at the hospital, and it appeared that there was no attempt to assist him." In other words, between the time that the shooting occurred and the time he died at the hospital, there did not seem to be any attempt to render first aid, CPR or any other type of emergency treatment which could have possibly saved KMcD's life. It appeared that he was just left to die.
When asked what part of his body was Kendrec shot?
Harper replied, "I don't know."
Followed by didn't you get a copy of the autopsy?
She replied, "No, that's why we want an independent investigation."
Finding out that his son was killed was in itself a traumatizing experience for Kenneth McDade (Sr.McD); the shooting happened not too far from where he lives and it happened at night time. He said, "I did not find out until the next morning." Spurred by the unusual amount of activity down the street in his neighborhood, "I went by to see what was happening," he said, "and that's how I found out my son had been killed." He found out by happenstance.
In light of the lawsuit that she has filed, Harper, as a skilled and competent attorney, is extremely careful in all aspects of this matter, since the police department is a very formidable adversary. Part of the reason for filing the lawsuit is "... to stop the police chief from saying (publicly) some of the things they have been saying about Kendrec ... He was disrespecting my client's son." Notwithstanding, there have been other subtle attempts, bordering on harassment, trying to dissuade Harper from zealously seeking justice for her clients. She has sent out emails outlining those instances and has also scolded the media for being somewhat complicit in that kind of behavior - 'parroting' the police.
Harper stated: "I wonder if the Black media will stand in support of ME as I stand as the voice of the LOCAL CALIFORNIA tragedy for the McDade family and as I endure social media attacks such as the one below. I wonder if the DJs and hosts who covered and are covering the story will urge their listeners to go on social media sites and SUPPORT the McDade family and the ATTORNEY fighting for their civil rights."
And prior to the funeral of KMcD, she sent out the following:
"The parents of Kendrec McDade is laying their son to rest at 10 A.M. on April 7, 2012, at the Metropolitan Baptist Church in Altadena, CA. A private viewing of Mr. McDade will be held this afternoon in Pasadena, CA.
"Should there be a heavy police presence in the form of MARKED patrol units; helicopters circling the area; or random detentions of young men attending either event, our office will view this as harassment, intimidation, and just plain disrespectful. The Law Offices of Caree Harper will have private investigators present at each event videotaping any and all police activity that would give the appearance of harassment or unlawful profiling of attendees."
Initially, it was because of Harper's diligence, via California Penal Code 148.3 (a) that the Pasadena Police Department arrested the perpetrator (Oscar Carillo) of the scurrilous lie, and charged him with indirectly causing KMcD's death. The referenced penal code stated in part: Any individual who reports, or causes any report to be made, to any city, county, city and county, or state department, district, agency, division, commission, or board, that an "emergency" exists, knowing that the report is false, is guilty of a misdemeanor and upon conviction thereof shall be punishable by imprisonment in a county jail for a period not exceeding one year, or by a fine not exceeding one thousand dollars ($1,000), or by both that imprisonment and fine.
In another instance relative to Carillo's lie, Harper stated, "In one interview, Oscar Carrillo says that when you are so afraid for your life you don't think about what you are saying in the 911 call....
"Well, he was so afraid for his life that he pursued the alleged perpetrators instead of running a few feet back to the taco shop and yell for help. Did police search Carrillo's car and confirm that HE was not armed? What gave him sudden super-man courage to pursue after being so 'scared'?
"Again Carrillo was NOT the triggerman, the officers each made their own independent decision to shoot, but the police had a duty to ask these questions investigate the contradiction that night."
Throughout the interview, Anya Slaughter, KMcD's mother, said very little because she seemed emotionally drained and still overly distraught. However, when asked what she would like us to do ... tell the public on her behalf?
She did say, "Activate your social media skills ... generate social media coverage to get proper attention. This is not the first time these officers have been involved in these kinds of shootings. We want to get that word out ... we want the press to get online and get the word out."