Alameda, CA –Alameda County District Attorney Nancy O’Malley announced that no criminal charges will be filed against the three police officers who arrested 26-year-old Mario Gonzalez on the day he died in custody.
The incident occurred at about 10:45 a.m. on April 19, 2021 when officers responded to multiple reports about a drunk man involved in a possible theft in the 800-block of Oak Street, KNTV reported.
When officers tried to detain the suspect – later identified as Gonzalez – at the park, he resisted arrest.
“Preliminary information indicates that after the officers made contact with him, there was a scuffle as officers attempted to place his hands behind his back,” the Alameda Police Department (APD) said in a statement, according to KNTV. “Officers did not use any weapons during the scuffle with Mr. Gonzalez.”
Police released bodycam video from two officers’ cameras on April 27 that showed how the incident unfolded from start to finish, KNTV reported.
“Everything we saw in that video was unnecessary and unprofessional,” Gonzalez’s brother, Gerardo Gonzalez, told reporters at a news conference after the video was released. “The police killed my brother in the same manner that they killed George Floyd.”
Gonzalez died one day before a jury found former Minneapolis Police Officer Derek Chauvin guilty of Floyd’s murder.
Bodycam video showed Gonzalez appeared to be under the influence of something as officers attempted to question him.
Officers talked with Gonzalez for 11 minutes before they gently led him away from some stumps that might have tripped him and tried to put him in handcuffs.
Bodycam video showed Gonzalez refused to put his hands behind his back.
“Don’t do it. Don’t do it,” the suspect muttered, seemingly to himself, in the video.
“Hey Mario, can you please put your hands behind and stop resisting?” the officer asked calmly.
“Oh! No wonder, there, I got it. Ay yay yay,” Gonzalez told the officer, making absolutely no sense.
“What do you have?” one of the officers asked.
“Sorry. No, it’s not that, it wasn’t that,” Gonzalez replied in the video before he began resisting arrest more violently.
Bodycam showed it took both officers to take the big man to the ground.
The officers tried to get Gonzalez’s name and birthdate while he was on the ground.
“We’re going to take care of you, okay, we’re going to take care of you,” an officer told him in the video. “I think you just had too much to drink today, okay? That’s all.”
But bodycam video showed that Gonzalez never became cooperative and continued to struggle against being handcuffed.
“Mario, just please stop fighting us,” one of the officers pleaded in the video.
“He’s lifting my whole body weight up,” an officer said at one point.
“I didn’t do nothing, okay?” Gonzalez told the officers as he struggled.
That went on for more than five minutes before he stopped fighting, KPIX reported.
“Think we can roll him on his side?” one of the officers asked.
“I don’t want to lose what I got, man,” his partner responded.
The first officer confirmed “we got no weight on his chest?”
“No! No weight… no weight,” the other officer replied.
A moment later the video showed that Gonzalez appeared to lose consciousness and the officers reacted immediately.
Bodycam video showed they rolled him on his side.
“He’s going unresponsive,” an officer said.
An officer radioed for an ambulance as they rolled him onto his back.
Backup officers arrived and they checked Gonzalez’s pulse and immediately began to perform CPR, the video showed.
Gonzalez was transported to the hospital where he was pronounced dead, KPIX reported.
The Alameda County coroner declared Gonzalez’s death a homicide caused by methamphetamine, CNN reported.
O’Malley announced on April 11 that her office won’t be bringing criminal charges against any of the officers involved in the incident.
Two separate wrongful death lawsuits have been filed against the city that claimed the officers detained Gonzalez without reasonable suspicion and caused him to asphyxiate.
Attorney Julia Sherwin, who filed a lawsuit on behalf of Gonzalez’s five-year-old son, said that she has requested a federal investigation of the incident, CNN reported.
Sherwin said she had reached out to Attorney General Merrick Garland and his chief deputy, Pamela Karlan, as well as to the U.S. Attorney’s Office and the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) in the Bay Area.
She said she didn’t get a response from any of them, CNN reported.
“But since Nancy O’Malley refused to bring criminal charges, I will be renewing my request for a federal investigation,” Sherwin said.