By Terry Miller
Black Lives Matter organizer Jasmine Richards was so incensed by the city’s removal of a second memorial for Anthony McClain that she organized a protest and memorial outside Pasadena Mayor Terry Tornek’s home last Friday night.
After the latest removal, organizers headed over to Mayor Tornek’s home Friday night to place another memorial and allegedly “intimidated” the mayor enough so that he had to respond publicly. The following statement from the mayor was issued by Public Information Officer Lisa Derderian on Saturday:
“On the evening of October 23, 2020, a group of demonstrators came to my home to present demands related to the officer involved shooting death of Anthony McClain.
I went out to talk with them at the sidewalk and to respond to their demands but was immediately shouted down. References made to important police oversight reforms were dismissed, so I returned to my home.
“What followed was not a vigil for Mr. McClain, but a loud effort to intimidate and attack me personally. I was subjected to obscene chants and personal insults for an extended period of time. The focus was largely not on Mr. McClain, but rather about promoting the agenda of the event spokesperson and organizer and her efforts to compel me to have a variety of criminal charges pending against her dropped.
“The group left candles and signage. Sometime later, my wife and I moved the candles from the street right of way and relocated them onto the curb with the others so that a car wouldn’t run into them. We also removed the signage some of which included references to murder and ‘killer cops.’
“This event was not a prayerful vigil for Anthony McClain. This was as event using the emotional upheaval and genuine grief over Mr. McClain’s death to advance another agenda through intimidation.
“Having a place for people to mourn and grieve Mr. McClain is real and valid. I support it; but when I tried to discuss alternatives, that group would have none of it. I believe that the appropriate place for mourning would be at one or more churches, not on Raymond Avenue or my home.
“I appeal to our clergy to offer a location or even multiple locations for such a memorial. Church locations could meet a real need without becoming hot spots for violence. I invite our pastors to host a forum at one of their churches to discuss the idea. I look forward to having a conversation there with all who are interested.
“We need to come together as a community.”
Initially, the city said the memorial “and its potential impact will constantly be evaluated, if there are concerns about public safety, the city will continue to take action. Our hope is that those community members who wish to mourn, can find alternative ways without impacting the safety of the park and surrounding area.”
One of the attorneys representing McClain’s family, Carre Harper, sent Pasadena Independent a statement about the memorials’ removal:
“We have recently become aware of the fact that Pasadena Police Chief John Perez has taken a personal interest in dismantling the memorial of Mr. McClain, repeatedly. As a result of the chief’s actions, peaceful protesters are now sitting at the site with posters and candles. We think it’s a sad state of affairs that the chief has decided to take a personal swipe at the McClain family and friends in such a patently disrespectful and petty way. The chief has failed to articulate how the shooting of Mr. McClain by Pasadena Police Officer Edwin Dumaguindin’s has generated some type of increased criminal activity at the park connected to the memorial. If anything, the chief’s aggressive actions toward a grieving community have increased tensions.
“We are also aware of multiple other memorials that have been left unscathed for years in the City of Pasadena.
“Our office will defend, pro bono, any PEACEFUL protesters engaged in sitting with and/or protecting their personal property (i.e. candles, posters, handwritten notes, etc.) at Anthony McClain’s Memorial site.
“It seems a bit counterintuitive to pitch a PPD tent in the park in an effort to reach out to the community while at the same time knocking down the things that the community has put up to mourn a young man struck down in the prime of his life by police.”
On Sunday, a small group of mourners, led by Richards, somberly gathered by a fourth memorial for McClain near the location where he was shot and killed by Pasadena police on Aug. 15.