Video Shows Police Kneeled On Mario Gonzalez’s Back For 5 Minutes Before He Died

Police released footage of the events lead­ing up to the death of a Latino man in Alameda, California, show­ing offi­cers kneel­ing on the man’s back and shoul­der until he became unre­spon­sive. The video con­tra­dicts offi­cials’ orig­i­nal account of the inci­dent. Mario Gonzalez, a 26-year-old Latino man, died on the morn­ing of April 19 after what police claimed was a “scuf­fle” and “phys­i­cal alter­ca­tion” as they attempt­ed to restrain him, fol­lowed by a “med­ical emer­gency.” But body cam­era footage released on Tuesday after­noon after an out­cry from Gonzalez’s fam­i­ly and the pub­lic did not show him being vio­lent or fight­ing offi­cers at any point. Instead, in the video, offi­cers approached Gonzalez, who was stand­ing alone in a park with some bot­tles of alco­hol in a bas­ket. Gonzalez calm­ly spoke with offi­cers for near­ly nine min­utes before they attempt­ed to place his hands behind his back. Police pinned him face­down on the ground and at least two offi­cers appeared to get on top of his back, one kneel­ing on his shoul­der, for about five min­utes until Gonzalez became unre­spon­sive. Police said Gonzalez died at the hos­pi­tal, but the video showed that he had stopped breath­ing on-site and that one offi­cer declared “no pulse” short­ly after offi­cers began CPR.

Three offi­cers involved have been placed on paid admin­is­tra­tive leave. In a press con­fer­ence ear­li­er on Tuesday, mem­bers of Gonzalez’s fam­i­ly, who had pri­vate­ly viewed the footage, said Gonzalez was “com­pli­ant and they con­tin­ued to pin him down.” “Alameda police offi­cers mur­dered my broth­er Mario,” Gonzalez’s broth­er Gerardo said, not­ing that his broth­er was in the park “not both­er­ing any­one” and that “at no point was he vio­lent.” “Everything we saw in that video was unnec­es­sary,” he added. “APD took a calm sit­u­a­tion and made it fatal.” “Police killed my broth­er in the same man­ner that they killed George Floyd,” he said. In the video, Gonzalez could be heard groan­ing under the weight of the police offi­cers on top of him while he con­tin­ued to respond to their ques­tions about his name and birth date.

Please don’t do it,” Gonzalez said at one point, and then: “I’m sor­ry,” fol­lowed by screams and groans. One offi­cer answered: “I for­give you.” The police report made no men­tion of offi­cers kneel­ing on Gonzalez’s back for min­utes until he lost con­scious­ness. Similarly, when Minneapolis police offi­cer Derek Chauvin mur­dered Floyd last year, police had described the death as a “med­ical inci­dent,” neglect­ing to men­tion that Chauvin had kneeled on Floyd’s neck for nine min­utes as Floyd repeat­ed­ly said he couldn’t breathe. The Alameda County Sheriff’s Office and District Attorney’s Office are con­duct­ing inves­ti­ga­tions into Gonzalez’s death. City offi­cials have hired an out­side inves­ti­ga­tor to do so as well. The Gonzalez fam­i­ly is demand­ing an entire­ly inde­pen­dent inves­ti­ga­tion and that the offi­cers be iden­ti­fied, fired and pros­e­cut­ed. Their attor­ney Julia Sherwin is an expert in restraint asphyx­i­a­tion and was a con­sul­tant in Chauvin’s pros­e­cu­tion. At Tuesday’s press con­fer­ence, Gonzalez’s moth­er, Edith Arenales, said that Gonzalez had a four-year-old son and took care of his younger 22-year-old broth­er, who was autistic.

They broke my fam­i­ly for no rea­son,” Arenales said, adding that she “can­not sleep.” She said even if her son was drunk, “they don’t have the right to kill him. We’re humans.” This sto­ry is cour­tesy of )Huffpost)

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