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Monday, January 24, 2022

Mario Gonzalez’s family sues Alameda police after coroner banned death from murder

Auckland. The family of Mario Gonzalez, a 26-year-old man who died after being captured by police, has sued the city and the officers involved in the incident, citing a county coroner’s report that ruled that Gonzalez’s death was murder.

The trial, which includes officers James Fisher, Cameron Leahy and Eric McKineli, and the city of Alameda as the defendants, is instituted eight months after Gonzalez passed out and passed away after three officers held him on the ground for several minutes. drew comparisons to the murder of George Floyd by police in Minneapolis and became a hot spot in the national policing tactics debate.

A civil complaint filed Friday alleges the city was negligent in hiring and training officers, and states that Gonzalez died of “excessive force, improper containment, mechanical asphyxiation, and positional, restraining and compression suffocation.”

“The death of Mario Gonzalez was unnecessary and tragic,” attorney Michael Haddad, representing the Gonzalez family, said in a press release. “How many more people will have to be killed by cops who ignore the kindergarten wisdom that people cannot breathe if you kneel on your back?”

The lawsuit cites a report released last week by an Alameda County coroner officer who ruled that Gonzalez’s death on April 19 was murder, attributing it to fighting officers, as well as methamphetamine use and obesity. Officers tried to detain Gonzalez after reporting that someone matching his description was trying to remove anti-theft devices from bottles of alcohol in Scout Park at 800 Oak Street in Alameda.

“It is very important to hold officers accountable when they violate really basic safety and police standards,” Haddad told the news organization. “They clearly killed him in ways that should have been obvious to them, which calls into question the entire training program at this Alameda police station.”

Body camera footage of Gonzalez’s death shows officers holding him on the ground for five minutes before he passes out. According to the autopsy report, blood tests were positive for methamphetamine and amphetamine. The autopsy also revealed that Gonzalez had over 20 cuts and bruises.

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The lawsuit alleges that the officers ignored warning signs that Gonzalez was dying. He passed out during the fight and died later that day.

“Since these officers held Gonzalez in a dangerous suffocation position for a total of more than five minutes, Gonzalez struggled to breathe,” the suit says. “He let out several guttural screams and sobs and was clearly desperate as the accused officers refused to yield and continued to question him about his identity. During all this, Gonzalez writhed in a desperate attempt to breathe, but he never attacked, did not threaten or resist any officer. “

The city of Alameda authorities, including the chief of police and prosecutors representing the city, did not immediately comment on the claim and have not yet responded in court. The city police chief said last week that the three officers involved in Gonzalez’s death are still on administrative leave and will remain inoperative pending the completion of an internal investigation.

The Alameda County District Attorney’s Office is investigating the circumstances of Gonzalez’s death and, following the coroner’s autopsy report, has faced renewed calls to indict the criminal police. A spokesman said the office would not comment until a decision was made on whether to indict the officers.

During her career, O’Malley has filed charges against an officer only once, last September, when she pushed for the prosecution of a former San Leandro police sergeant. Jason Fletcher in the murder of an alleged thief at a Walmart store.

“The county coroner determined it was murder. It is clear that in this situation, the officers must be brought to justice and we cannot be sure that they will be prosecuted, so Mario’s son will make sure that we convince them to prosecute them convincingly in federal court. ” said Haddad.

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