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Family of Anthony McClain keeps fighting for accountability after fatal police shooting

Anthony McClain family holds rally
Anthony McClain family holds rally 02:11

The family of Anthony McClain, a Black man who was shot in the back by police in Pasadena, California, last August, held a rally Monday to demand accountability in the case. The rally included appearances by civil rights attorney Ben Crump and the family of George Floyd.

"We came to stand with these children to say, not this time," Crump said. "You will not sweep Anthony McClain under the rug."  

McClain was killed at approximately 8 p.m. on August 15 after a car in which he was riding in the passenger seat was pulled over for missing a front license plate. Police said the driver cooperated fully with officers and admitted to driving with a suspended license, but said McClain attempted to run from the scene.

Body and dash camera footage released by the police department in the days following the shooting shows the driver exiting the vehicle and being checked for weapons while another officer speaks briefly with the passenger, identified as McClain. The conversation between McClain and the officer cannot be heard in the videos.

Video then shows McClain exiting the passenger's side of the car before running from the officers. The footage shows the man touching something shiny near his waist as he runs around the back of the car, but it's not clear from the footage what the object is. 

Police said McClain was carrying a gun in his left hand, and that while running from the car, he looked back over his right shoulder at officers. The video shows the man looking over his shoulder with his left hand near his waist, but no firearms are visible. 

"Fearing that the individual was turning to shoot at the officers, the officer closest to the individual discharged two rounds from his firearm," police said in narration over the body camera footage. 

Police said McClain continued to run after he was shot, but eventually stopped and fell. He was transported to a local hospital, but died soon after from his injuries. According to an autopsy report obtained by The Associated Press, one bullet grazed his shoulder and the other struck him in the back. 

Police also said local surveillance footage shows that McClain threw his gun away while he was running, and said a witness confirmed that claim. A loaded, unregistered firearm was recovered at the scene, police said. 

Police said months later that testing showed McClain's DNA and no one else's was on the firearm, according to CBS Los Angeles.   

Attorneys for McClain's family dispute the police account of the shooting. They say McClain was not armed, and that he was holding his belt buckle, not a gun. In a federal civil rights lawsuit filed in October, weeks after the police's DNA claim, the family alleges that the gun was "planted" by officers to falsely justify the shooting, according to CBS Los Angeles. The lawsuit also alleges that McClain was killed "without warning" and "with no legal justification." 

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