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Court: Report on fatal shooting by Pasadena police of unarmed teen is public record


PASADENA, California — A report commissioned by the city of Pasadena into the fatal shooting of an unarmed teenager by police is a public record, a California appeals court ruled Thursday, rejecting the police union's efforts to block the report's release.

A division of the 2nd District Court of Appeal said the review of the 2012 shooting of Kendrec McDade contains confidential police personnel records that shouldn't be publicly disclosed. But that doesn't make the whole report confidential, the court said.

"The information and analysis contained in the report is precisely the sort the disclosure of which will promote public scrutiny of and agency accountability for specific uses of deadly force," Associate Justice Jeffrey Johnson wrote for the court.

A call to an attorney for the police union was not immediately returned.

Pasadena police officers Matthew Griffin and Jeffrey Newlen shot McDade during a nighttime encounter after a man reported two men robbed him at gunpoint.

The officers said they feared for their safety, and McDade was clutching his waistband when the 19-year-old was shot. McDade was not found to be armed.

A 17-year-old boy who had been with McDade later acknowledged his role in the theft that led to the shooting. The man who reported the robbery acknowledged lying to get a faster police-response time when he said the robbers had weapons.

The district attorney's office concluded the officers had acted in lawful self-defense.

The city last year agreed to pay McDade's parents more than $1 million.

The report commissioned by the city was sought by the Los Angeles Times, the local chapter of the NAACP and other groups.

In its ruling on Thursday, the appeals court also said the trial court had gone too far in redacting the report. It sent the case back down to the trial court with instructions to conduct additional proceedings to determine what information should be withheld from the public.

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