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Pasadena officer claims he shot Black man to protect himself

Anthony McClain later died at a nearby hospital.

Protests for Anthony McClain Brian Feinzimer for LAist

A Black man in Pasadena was killed by an officer following a traffic stop, according to footage recently released by authorities.

On Saturday evening, officers pulled over a vehicle with no front license plate. After discovering the unidentified driver had a suspended license, they asked both he and the passenger Anthony McClain to get out of the car.

While the driver cooperated, McClain attempted to flee from the officers. Authorities say they noticed him reach for a shiny item on his waistband.

“The natural swinging movement of the individual’s arms while running revealed what both officers immediately recognized as a firearm in his left hand,” the police told the Los Angeles Times.

The footage shows the two officers running after McClain, but after a brief pursuit, one of the cops fired twice and struck him near his rib cage.

Officers say they noticed McClain as he looked back over his shoulders. They believed he was going to shoot at them, so they fired first.

The cops say they were not sure he’d been shot as he continued to run “for a considerable distance.” He made it 50 yards before collapsing and tossing the weapon.

McClain was given immediate medical attention but later died from the gunshot wound at a nearby hospital.

While cops claimed they discovered an illegally assembled gun in the area, McClain’s attorney Caree Harper believes it was just his belt buckle.

“We believe the area that police say it was a weapon was, in fact, his Michael Kors belt,” Harper said.

Protests have since been held demanding that arrest of the officer who shot McClain.

“If you did something wrong, if you have an illegal firearm, let’s deal with that through the court system,” Pastor Kerwin Manning said at the rally. “But our Black men and woman are not even getting an opportunity to make it to court and we’re tired of it.”

As of now, the Pasadena police homicide detectives are conducting a criminal investigation, and the Los Angeles County District Attorney’s Office is investigating the possible criminality of the shooting. The Pasadena Police Department is also investigating whether officers violated any department policies, and the City of Pasadena is supposed to conduct an independent third party review of the incident.

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