Wednesday, December 8, 2021

Bodycam Footage Shows Calif. Cops Kneeling on Man for 5 Minutes Before he Died (Video)

*The Alameda Police Department released body camera footage showing officers kneeling on 26-year-old Mario Gonzalez for more than five minutes before he lost consciousness and later died, a death his family says mirrors what happened to George Floyd.

The hourlong video, which includes 911 calls reporting that Gonzalez was loitering in the area and possibly under the influence of some type of substance, came days after the department said the man died after a medical emergency amid a struggle with officers attempting to detain him.

Officers on April 19 responded to a suburb in the city after getting a pair of 911 calls, one saying the man appeared to be breaking tags off alcohol bottles and another that said the man wasn’t doing anything wrong, but loitering in the area. Cops arrived to find Gonzalez, about 250 pounds, appearing dazed and struggling to answer questions about his name and birth date, according to the police report. After his refusal to provide the info, cops tried to cuff his hands behind his back and encountered resistance. They then wrestled him to the ground.

Gonzalez can be heard grunting and shouting as he was placed facedown. One officer was seen putting an elbow on his neck and a knee on his shoulder. One officer appeared to put a knee on his back and left it there for about four minutes as Gonzalez gasped for air, saying, “I didn’t do nothing, OK?” But after five minutes, Gonzalez appeared to grow weak and went silent. Around that time, one of the officers asked the other whether they should, “roll him on his side,” but the other officer noted the difficulty in restraining Gonzalez and said, “I don’t want to lose what I got, man.” One officer said,”He’s going unresponsive.” The officers then rolled Gonzalez over and tried to resuscitate him, doing chest compressions, with one cop repeating to Gonzalez, “Wake up. Wake up.’ Gonzalez was later pronounced dead at a local hospital.

mario gonzalez and son
In images like this one, family members recall Mario Gonzalez, 26, of Oakland, who died after a scuffle in police custody Monday, April 19, 2021 in an Alameda park, as a son, father, brother and devoted caretaker to a younger adult brother living with autism. (Courtesy Gonzalez Family)

His family said during a news conference Tuesday that he left a 4-year-old son and also was the main caretaker of his 22-year-old brother, who has autism. Authorities have not released Gonzalez’s cause of death. The three officers who responded to the call have been placed on administrative leave as the Alameda County Sheriff’s Office investigates Gonzalez’s death.

Below is the bodycam video showing Gonzalez’s final moments.

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