Man Dies After Cops Pin Him Facedown for 5 Minutes

Mario Arenales Gonzalez's April 19 death compared to George Floyd's
By Arden Dier,  Newser Staff
Posted Apr 28, 2021 9:35 AM CDT

Body camera footage just released by authorities in Alameda County, Calif., shows a man died in police custody after he was pinned facedown on the ground for five minutes. Mario Arenales Gonzalez, a Hispanic man, died April 19, one day before former Minneapolis police officer Derek Chauvin was convicted of murdering George Floyd, who died under similar circumstances. An initial police report said the 26-year-old "suspect in a possible theft" died at a hospital after suffering a "medical emergency" while officers tried to detain him. But Julia Sherwin, a lawyer representing Gonzalez's family, compares the report to one issued after Floyd's death, saying it amounts to "misinformation." "Drunk guy in a park doesn't equal a capital sentence," she tells the New York Times. At a Tuesday press conference, Gonzalez's brother said "there was no reason to detain him, let alone kill him," per CBS News.

One 911 call described a loiterer breaking security tags off alcohol bottles. Another described a man talking to himself. "He's not doing anything wrong. He's just scaring my wife," the caller said, per the Times. In the footage seen here (warning: graphic), Gonzalez seems unable to provide his name to questioning officers. He looks in pain as they try to force his hands behind his back. They then take him to the ground, where he's seen coughing and whimpering. Three officers—Eric McKinley, Cameron Leahy, and James Fisher—appear to press their body weight onto Gonzalez before realizing he's unresponsive and beginning chest compressions. Interim Police Chief Randy Fenn calls the death "a terrible tragedy," while Gonzalez’s family is calling for criminal charges against the officers, who are now on administrative leave. They say Gonzalez was healthy with no known medical conditions. An autopsy is pending. (Read more police officers stories.)

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