Report on Police Killing Won't Be Released
LOS ANGELES (CN) - Two police officers have won a temporary injunction against release of an independent report on the fatal shooting of an unarmed black teenager.
The Pasadena Police Officers Association and Officers Matthew Griffin and Jeffrey Newlen sued the city and its top officials on Wednesday, and Superior Court Judge James Chalfant agreed to seal the report.
"This is the perfect example of a document that should be sealed," Chalfant said, according to the Pasadena Star News. "I intend to grant the order to seal."
The Star News and the Pasadena Press Weekly requested a copy of the report, by the Office of Independent Review Group, headed by Michael Gennaco.
The group planned to release the report this week, on the March 24, 2012 shooting of Kendree McDade.
But the officers claim that the report, which includes information on statements the officers made to investigators after the shooting, would violate their privacy rights.
Griffin and Newlen shot McDade after responding an armed robbery. He died of gunshot wounds.
The officers said they acted in self-defense. But in a lawsuit against the city, McDade's parents said the 19 year old was unarmed at the time.
As the lawsuit notes, a caller to 911 reported that both McDade and his accomplice had pointed handguns at the victim of the robbery.
But the witness later said that he did not see McDade armed, according to the Star News. McDade's parents settled their civil rights actions against the city for $1 million.
The police department and Los Angeles County District Attorney's Office concluded that the officers acted in self-defense, and believed McDade was armed, according to the officers' request for an injunction and restraining.
The officers and their union are represented by Richard Shinee of Green & Shinee.
In a letter to Pasadena City Attorney Michele Beal Bagneris, attached to the lawsuit as an exhibit, Shinee noted that Pasadena and Gennaco had refused to allow the police union to review the report. The attorney urged the city to "rethink" its position.
"It is ironic that you would have the Pasadena Police Officers Association assume the responsibilities of your office for ensuring that the statutory rights of the public safety officers of the City of Pasadena are protected," Shinee wrote. "We have third hand information that the report does, in fact, violate the statutory protections with regard to peace officers' confidentiality. The further irony here is that you have the report, refuse to give it to us, and claim that we should go to court, not knowing its content."
The city did not immediately respond to request for comment after business hours Wednesday evening.