California Man Dies After Police Pin Him to the Ground

Body camera footage was released on Tuesday of a 26-year-old man who died in Alameda, California, after police pinned him to the ground for five minutes.

Mario Gonzales died on April 19 when officers tried to detain him after 911 callers reported him loitering and drinking. The police report states Gonzales had a medical emergency after a physical altercation ensued as police questioned him, then tried to handcuff him. Gonzales struggled to answer questions and resists being put in handcuffs. Officers take him to the ground, while one puts his elbow on Mario’s neck and a knee on his back. Gonzales appears to weigh approximately 250 pounds, and struggles for air as officers leave him in the prone position. When one officer suggests rolling him to the side, another says he doesnt “want to lose what I got, man.”

Warning: Disturbing and sad video

Also released were two audio recordings of 911 callers who reported a Hispanic man.

One man says Mr. Gonzalez has been loitering for about a half-hour and appears to be breaking store security tags off alcohol bottles. Another man says Mr. Gonzalez is talking to himself at a fence near the caller’s backyard. “He seems like he’s tweaking, but he’s not doing anything wrong,” he says. “He’s just scaring my wife.”

Gonzalez left a 4-year-old son and also was the main caretaker of his 22-year-old brother, who has autism, his family said. Family blames the police, saying officers escalated what should have been a minor, peaceful encounter with an unarmed man.

Three officers are on administrative leave, and an attorney for the family called the police explanation “misinformation” and compared it to the initial report of George Floyd’s death.

“His death was completely avoidable and unnecessary,” she said, adding, “Drunk guy in a park doesn’t equal a capital sentence.”

Complete details at New York Times

Also at USA Today.

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