Police Killing Of 26-Year-Old California Man 'Strikingly Similar' To That Of George Floyd, Family Says
Mario Arenales Gonzalez was on the ground for about five minutes before becoming unresponsive.
April 29, 2021 at 9:56 pm
A man in Alameda, California, a city south of Oakland, lost consciousness in police custody after being restrained on his stomach during an arrest according to a news release from the Alameda Police Department (APD). Mario Arenales Gonzalez later died after being transported to a hospital.
On April 19, Alameda police received separate calls at around 10:45 a.m. about a male who appeared to be under the influence and a suspect in an alleged theft.
“There’s a man in my front yard kind of talking to himself,” the 911 caller says, CNN reported. “And, no mask. And I went out there and the dogs are barking at him, and he’s talking to us but he’s not making any sense.”
When officers arrived at the 800 block of Oak Street, they attempted to detain the victim, identified as 26-year-old Gonzalez, when a “physical altercation ensued,” the presser states. Body camera footage released by the APD shows Gonzalez on his stomach for about five minutes before he lost consciousness and became unresponsive.
His death took place one day before the verdict was announced in the Derek Chauvin trial, a high-profile case surrounding the killing of George Floyd, which spotlighted police use of excessive force in America.
"The police killed my brother in the same manner that they killed George Floyd," Gerardo Gonzalez said at a news conference Tuesday outside the Alameda Police Department, according to NBC News.
“Alameda police officers murdered my brother Mario," he added, arguing that his brother did not pose a threat during the arrest.
Prior to the incident, Gonzalez was seen talking to officers at a park for about 10 minutes, before they attempted to arrest him. The officers placed their elbows and knees on Gonzalez’s neck and shoulder as the 26-year-old struggled to breathe, saying, “I didn’t do nothing, okay?”
The family’s attorney, Julia Sherwin, said, "It's [the incident] strikingly similar to the Floyd case."
Shortly before he stops breathing, one officer asks, "Think we can roll him on his side?" Another replies, "I don't want to lose what I got, man."
Police officers are typically trained to move people from off the ground and into the recovery position on their side, which Minneapolis Police Department Chief Medaria Arradondo, who is Black, testified is part of department policy, according to NBC News.
The officers then noticed that Gonzalez became unresponsive and “began lifesaving measures” to no avail.
The Alameda County Sheriff’s Office, in addition to the Alameda County District Attorney’s Office are respectively and simultaneously conducting an independent investigation into the incident. The city said in a statement that Alameda "is committed to full transparency and accountability in the aftermath of Mr. Gonzalez's death.”
Gonzalez was the caretaker of his 22-year-old brother, who has autism, according to his family. He also leaves behind a 4-year-old son.
"He's a lovely guy. He's respectful, all the time," Gonzalez's mother said. "They broke my family for no reason."
The three officers involved in the arrest have been placed on paid leave while the investigation is underway.