Family Of Man Who Died After Cops Pinned Him To Ground For 5 Minutes Demand Investigation
The family of a man who died after police officers pinned him to the ground for five minutes is now demanding an investigation.
In a press release published after his death, Alameda Police stated that 26-year-old Oakland resident Mario Gonzalez has died in their custody following a ‘physical altercation’ and ‘scuffle’ with officers after which he suffered ‘a medical emergency’.
However, Mario’s family members, who saw bodycam footage from the scene before videos were publicly released, have stated that what they saw contradicted the account given by the police, and are calling his death a murder.
Speaking outside of police headquarters on Tuesday, April 27, as per the East Bay Times, Mario’s brother Gerardo spoke of how the footage has impacted the family:
My mother was heartbroken to see Mario’s last moment. She gave birth to him, her firstborn, raised him, and now has to bury him. It was painful to watch the violence and disregard for his humanity.
The footage shows officers on top of Mario while he was face down on the ground. They had their weight on his head and his back.
He was complying and they continued to pin him down with their weight. Everything we saw in that video was unnecessary and unprofessional. And it took a minuscule event and made it fatal.
In a statement given on the afternoon of Monday, April 26, Mario’s mother said:
The footage shows what we already knew. Mario was a kind man and level headed. There was a way to deal with this situation without killing my son.
Mario’s family are now calling for the three officers involved in the incident to be fired and face prosecution.
The officers involved have been identified as James Fisher, Eric McKinley and Cameron Leahy. Fisher has served with the Alameda Police Department since 2010, while McKinley and Leahy both joined the force back in 2018, as per city spokesperson Sarah Henry. All three have been placed on administrative leave.
Alameda police have stated that Mario was detained on the 800 block of Oak Street at approximately 10:45 am after officers responded to two separate reports of an intoxicated person who was suspected of theft.
It is currently unclear why officers attempted to handcuff Mario, who does not appear to be acting aggressively or combatively in the footage.
As reported by the San Francisco Chronicle, city officials have now hired Louise Renne, of Renne Public Law Group in San Francisco, to conduct an investigation into the incident.
The Alameda County Sheriff’s Office and the Alameda County District Attorney’s Office are also now said to be investigating the circumstances that led to Mario’s death.
An autopsy has been carried out by the Alameda County coroner’s office, however an official cause of death has yet to be released.
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NBC Bay Area/YouTube
Alameda Police Department
East Bay Times
San Francisco Chronicle