Story at a glance:
- Mario Gonzalez died while in police custody.
- Police were seen on body cam footage kneeling on Gonzalez’s neck and back while he was apparently intoxicated and required medical help.
- The family attorney representing Gonzalez had some involvement with George Floyd’s case.
A Hispanic man who died in police custody while restrained in a prone position is drawing comparisons to George Floyd.
On April 19, Mario Gonzalez was wandering around a park in the San Francisco Bay area allegedly drunk when the Alameda police department got called in, NBC News reported.
The 26-year-old was questioned by the police about discarded bottles littered nearby, which Gonzalez did not correctly respond to because he was experiencing a medical emergency.
Police tried to arrest Gonzalez, who resisted. A struggle ensued, leading officers to pin Gonzalez face-first into the ground for about five minutes. The body cam shows two officers kneeling on his neck and back, and they were even shoving his face down.
Gonzalez died at a nearby hospital. The three police officers involved are put on paid administrative leave pending an investigation, ABC News reported.
Gonzalez died one day before Derek Chauvin was convicted on three counts of murder and manslaughter charges for restraining George Floyd in the same position for more than nine minutes.
The Gonzalez family attorney says the two deaths are similar.
"These Alameda police officers killed Mario literally while the jury was debating Derek Chauvin's murder charges," Julia Sherwin, Gonzalez family attorney, said Wednesday.
Sherwin is a civil rights attorney with experience on cases involving deaths while under police custody.
Sherwin was sought out by Minnesota Attorney General Keith Ellison, whose office prosecuted Chauvin's case. For the trial, she advised both the attorney general and special prosecutor Steve Schleicher.
"What we're focused on is accountability for these officers and reform," she said, saying that Mario Gonzalez would still be alive if the officers had received proper training and didn't use xcessive force.
"Horrible tactics grow out of horrible training," she said.
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