Family: Mario Gonzalez Died in Police Custody in ‘Same Manner They Killed George Floyd'

The city of Alameda late Tuesday released body worn camera from the April 19 incident

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The family of a 26-year-old man who died last week after officers tried to restrain him said body camera video shows Alameda police had their weight on Mario Arenales Gonzalez's head and back.

"Everything we saw in that video was unnecessary and unprofessional," brother Gerardo Gonzalez said Tuesday during a news conference. "The police killed my brother in the same manner that they killed George Floyd."

Alameda police have said the events unfolded at 10:45 a.m. April 19 in the 800 block of Oak Street, where officers had responded to separate reports of a man under the influence and a man involved in a possible theft. The man was later identified as Mario Gonzalez.

Alameda police released body cam video of officers trying to restrain an Oakland man who died in police custody. Police say he had a medical emergency after being cuffed by police but his family say police choked him to death. Cheryl Hurd reports.

When officers tried to detain him, a scuffle ensued and Mario had a medical emergency, according to police. Officers started lifesaving procedures, called firefighters to the scene and Mario was taken to a hospital where he died, police said.

The family of a 26-year-old man who died last week after officers tried to restrain him said body camera video shows Alameda police had their weight on Mario Arenales Gonzalez's head and back. Melissa Colorado reports.

"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 said in a statement. "Officers did not use any weapons during the scuffle with Mr. Gonzalez."

The cause of death remains unknown pending an autopsy, according to police. Police also do not know the cause of the medical emergency Mario suffered.

"They lying to me, they say my son, he fighting with the officers," said Edith Gonzalez, Mario's mother. "I say, 'No, come on! You guys made a mistake!'"

The three officers involved in the case have been placed on paid administrative leave, police said, and video from their body worn cameras has been turned over to sheriff's office and district attorney investigators.

The Gonzalez family gathered Tuesday outside the Alameda Police Department to demand – both in English and in Spanish – that the agency release the body camera video.

The family said the body camera video shows Mario complied with officers and answered all of their questions.

"The footage shows officers on top of Mario while he was face down on the ground," Gerardo Gonzalez said. "They had their weight on his head and his back."

The city of Alameda late Tuesday released the body camera video.

Edith Gonzalez said the video shows Mario had grass and sand in his mouth after being pinned to the ground. She said when police officers turned him on his back, his lips were blue.

Mario leaves behind a 4-year-old son.

"My grandson, right here, he asked me, 'Mami, mami, my papi passed away? My papi died? My papi died?'" Edith Gonzalez said. "How can I say that? Somebody kill him?"

The Alameda County Sheriff’s Office is investigating Mario's death. A spokesperson said investigators spent the day interviewing officers and witnesses. They are awaiting the autopsy and toxicology results.

Alameda PD's policy manual allows the use of "pain compliance techniques" for officers who have completed department-approved training. The policy manual also includes a section on trained officers able to use the controversial carotid control hold when "appears necessary to control a person" in certain cases, including if the person is "violent or physically resisting."

In June, an NBC Bay Area investigation showed most Bay Area law enforcement agencies did not allow officers to use the knee to neck restraint. The tactic drew international protests following the death of George Floyd, who was seen on video being restrained by an ex-Minneapolis officer's knee to his neck.

More than a dozen California law enforcement agencies said last year they would stop using the carotid hold after Floyd's death.

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