Authorities in Alameda, California have released footage from body cameras worn by officers who pinned a man to the ground and knelt on his back for five minutes before he stopped breathing and died.
Video shows officers with the Alameda Police Department confronting 26-year-old Mario Arenales Gonzalez and attempting to take him into custody. The department also released audio recordings of callers reporting of a man loitering in the area earlier this month.
“He seems like he’s tweaking, but he’s not doing anything wrong,” one caller reportedly told dispatchers. “He’s just scaring my wife.”
Video shows officers attempting to identify Gonzalez and asking him if he intends to hurt himself. As they take Gonzalez into custody, officers are seen pinning him to the ground, and he screams. Then, Gonzalez appears to lose consciousness and becomes unresponsive. Officers then attempt to perform CPR.
“Officers attempted to detain the man, and a physical altercation ensued,” the department initially said in a statement describing the incident, adding that the man “had a medical emergency.”
Julia Sherwin, a lawyer representing Gonzalez’s family, called the initial report “misinformation,” according to The New York Times.
“His death was completely avoidable and unnecessary,” she said. “Drunk guy in a park doesn’t equal a capital sentence.”
Three police officers involved in the April 19 incident have been placed on administrative leave, the department said, adding that it is conducting an internal investigation.
For Gonzalez’s family, the video drew comparisons to the murder of George Floyd, who died after a Minneapolis police officer knelt on his neck for more than eight minutes.
“Alameda police officers murdered my brother,” Gerardo Gonzalez, Mario’s brother said.