PASADENA (CBSLA) – A Pasadena family has filed a lawsuit against the city and police, alleging that officials violated their first suite rights during an impromptu protest following the death of Anthony McClain, a black man who was shot by police.
According to the family's lawyer, Nafissatou Kaba and her 11-year-old son Natori Beard were in La Pintoresca Park – across from where McClain was fatally shot on North Raymond Avenue – at the time of the shooting.
Following the shooting, the family's lawyer said the Pasadena Police Department officials blocked access to the street with yellow tape and an impromptu protest against the killing of the 32-year-old educated in the park.
According to the attorney, the officers crossed the yellow ribbon and entered the park about an hour after the shooting. They pushed the protesters back when they questioned the police about the shooting.
"At one point an officer cursed an African American man," the lawyer said in a statement. In a split second, another officer sprayed maces at the crowd of demonstrators. One of those who was hit by the mace was Natori. "
The lawyer claims that both Natori and his mother were traumatized and injured by the police officers' actions.
"He's afraid of the police, he doesn't really want to go to the park," said Kaba.
The city of Pasadena responded to the claim late Wednesday evening in a statement that in part said:
"The crowd that gathered after the officer shot was understandably emotional, and additional officers were called in to help secure the shooting range to prevent contamination of the evidence," the city said. "There were some people in the crowd who became increasingly aggressive towards officers, and as the situation escalated, officers used a taser on one of these people after threats of violence were issued, and pepper spray was also used to disperse the crowd . "
The city said when officials learned that a child had been exposed to the pepper spray, paramedics were called to the scene.
"The child's mother took the opportunity to spray officials with her own pepper spray when officials called for paramedics," the city said. “The child later told the attending paramedics that they were exposed when they ran towards the crowd that was being sprayed with the pepper spray to look for their mother, whom he believed was involved in the argument with officers . It is truly unfortunate that a young child was involved in this incident at all. "
The video of the incident can be viewed on the city's website.