• June 23, 2013
  • blog

Maybe I’m not getting the facts correct, but I’ve been known to misunderstand things, so this confusion I’m experiencing isn’t exactly an anomaly.

Readers will no doubt set me straight, as they often do, even when I have a clear vision of what I’m writing about and the position I’ve taken on the issue.

Kendrec McDade, an unarmed black male teenager, was shot to death by two Pasadena police officers in northwest Pasadena, also known as the ‘hood, on March 24, 2012.

The incident began when police dispatch received a 911 call of a suspected robbery with a weapon.

An investigation was conducted by the Los Angeles District Attorney’s office. They found that the use of deadly force by officers Jeffrey Newlen and Matthew Griffin was justified.

Turns out the wrong-doer, the real bad guy, in this case is none other than Oscar Carrillo, the man who made the 911 call saying he’d been robbed by armed assailants.

According to police reports, Griffin shot McDade when he, with his hand in his waistband, ran toward the officer while he sat in a police cruiser.

There was no gun found on McDade’s body, but a cellphone was reportedly found in the front pocket of his sweat pants.

Carrillo pleaded guilty to one count of falsely reporting a criminal offense and one count of reporting an emergency knowing the report was false.

Carrillo has now been placed on 36 months of probation with the following terms: 90 days in county jail; perform 90 days of community service in lieu of additional jail time; pay $3,078.69 as victim restitution to the Pasadena Police Department; pay court costs and fees; and obey all laws.

Of the terms, Pasadena City Attorney/City Prosecutor Michele Beal Bagneris said,
“We believe we reached an appropriate sentence that reflects the seriousness of the crime committed.”

It’s pretty hard computing the math on this one. That’s what keeps me thinking I’m missing something basic.

Two officers shoot to kill and are justified in using deadly force in taking the life of an unarmed suspect, but the foolish man who called 911 thinking he could get a quicker police response if he said “weapon” is now having to pay the police department and other related fees, clean up the freeway and serve some jail time.

We have a practice of discussing a range of current news items during dinner at my house. This Carrillo conviction is one I’ll have to relegate to the conversation we have surrounding the commercial where the dad and daughter are reviewing their phone bill and every time the kid adds something, the dad has to correct her.

The final line in the scene is when the kid looks up and says, “Phone company math is hard.”

Justice math is just as hard.

Copyright © 2013, Pasadena Sun

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