Alameda PD releases bodycam video showing moments leading up to in-custody death of 26-year-old man

J.R. Stone Image
Wednesday, April 28, 2021
Alameda PD releases bodycam video from in-custody death
The family of Mario Gonzalez, the man who died last week while in Alameda police custody, now say they believe the officers murdered him.

SAN FRANCISCO (KGO) -- The family of Mario Gonzalez, the man who died last week while in Alameda police custody, now say they believe the officers murdered him.

This comes after the family was allowed to view body camera footage from the incident. A warning, some viewers may find this video hard to watch.

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Police say the 26-year-old died of a medical emergency during a scuffle with officers last Monday morning.

The officers had responded to a possible theft in the area and a call that came in about a disorderly and possibly intoxicated person. They spent more than ten minutes unsuccessfully trying to figure out who he was and what he was doing there.

Early on in the video an officer says, "someone called and said you're not feeling great." To which Gonzalez responded, "Well I'm feeling alright."

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The officer went back and forth asking about the bottles of alcohol that Gonzalez had, eventually saying, "You come up with a plan, let me know that you're not going to be drinking in our parks over here, then we can be on our merry way."

Gonzalez, who didn't appear to be in a normal state of mind, then said, "Merry go 'round?"

Investigators say no significant use of force was used, but body camera video makes it sound as though Gonzalez was struggling to breathe after officers tried to cuff him on the ground.

In the video Gonzalez is panting for breath as officers ask, "What's your name?" Seemingly out of breath Gonzalez says, "Mario."

Gonzalez's family speaking out Tuesday after watching the video.

"They don't even try to talk to him. If somebody is drunk, if somebody is doing whatever they don't have the right to kill them! We are humans, we aren't cockroaches, we are human," said Mario's mom.

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Gonzalez's brother Gerardo continued saying, "It was painful to watch the disregard for his humanity."

They believe the weight of the officers on Gonzalez's head and back is what killed him.

"Yesterday my family and I saw the footage and we know what really happened," said Gerardo Gonzalez. "Alameda Police officers murdered my brother Mario."

Gonzalez's partner and mother of his son Andrea upset Tuesday and referencing a moment between officers that was recorded on the body cam video.

"I think we could roll him on his side?" said one officer. The other not doing that though and instead responding, "Don't want to lose what I got man."

"After that he stopped screaming, he stopped making noise and he stopped breathing," said Andrea.

CPR was performed a short time later but unsuccessful.

The Alameda County Sheriff's Office, who is investigating the incident, said Tuesday that they are waiting for toxicology and autopsy results.

ABC7 News reached out to Alameda Police for comment, but have not heard back.