NewsWorldThree California police officers will not face criminal charges...

Three California police officers will not face criminal charges in the death of a man in their custody

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“I want justice for my son Mario Gonzalez Arenales” 5:53 (CNN) — The Alameda district attorney will not file criminal charges against three police officers who restrained a California man who died in their custody. The county coroner’s office classified Mario Gonzalez Arenales’ death as a homicide and listed the toxic effects of methamphetamine as the primary cause of death. Gonzalez, 26, died on April 16, 2021, after an encounter with three Alameda County police officers who responded to a call from a person “acting strangely and talking to himself,” according to the March 30 report filed by the Alameda Prosecutor’s Office. Alameda is located 24 kilometers from San Francisco. Two nearly identical wrongful death lawsuits were filed against the city of Alameda, alleging that officers detained Gonzalez without reasonable suspicion and caused him to die by suffocation. Attorney Julia Sherwin, on behalf of Gonzalez’s 5-year-old son, filed a lawsuit in December 2021 and Gonzalez’s mother, Edith Arenales, also filed a lawsuit in February 2022. Although the two lawsuits are related, they will remain separate but they will proceed in parallel, Sherwin told CNN. Sherwin said she had also sent requests for a federal investigation, not only to Attorney General Merrick Garland and his senior deputy Pamela Karlan, but also to the Bay Area prosecutor and FBI. She has not received a response, she said, “but since Nancy O’Malley refused to press criminal charges, I am renewing my request for a federal investigation.” Both lawsuits state that Gonzalez “appeared to be confused and possibly intoxicated at the time,” but “he was not a threat to himself or anyone else” and that he was not involved in any crime. The decision to stop and arrest Gonzalez was “supported by reasonable suspicion and probable cause, but also by officers’ safety concerns,” prosecutor Nancy O’Malley’s report said. The civil litigation brought by the Gonzalez family is ongoing and the “city legal team is committed to defending the city in the pending litigation,” Sarah Henry, public information officer for the city of Alameda, told CNN in a statement. release. “Once officers attempted to lawfully detain Mr. Gonzalez, he physically resisted their efforts the entire time until he eventually became unresponsive,” the district attorney’s report says. Officers Eric McKinley, James Fisher and Cameron Leahy controlled Gonzalez’s arms, back and legs while handcuffing his arms behind his back, the report said. González “continued to resist with his whole body, including his legs,” even after being handcuffed, according to the report. Arenales’ lawsuit says officers placed “substantial weight on his back, shoulders, neck and legs for more than five minutes, violating generally accepted standards of law enforcement, as Mr. Gonzalez struggled to breathe.” Nearly four minutes after being handcuffed, Gonzalez became unresponsive, the report says. They began to perform cardiopulmonary resuscitation on him and called for medical assistance. González was taken to a hospital and pronounced dead. “The officers’ approach to the apprehension and arrest of Mr. Gonzalez and his use of force appeared reasonable under the circumstances,” the report says. The report states that, according to the autopsy, González “had no lethal injuries.” Alison Berry Wilkinson, an attorney representing the three officers, told CNN that “they are grateful that the district attorney has recognized that this tragic death was an unintended consequence of her lawful and legitimate actions.” Adante Pointer, an attorney for Edith Arenales, Gonzalez’s mother, told CNN the family is disappointed the officers will not be criminally prosecuted, but the decision is not a surprise. “It is a sad day when political expediency and obvious conflicts of interest seem to outweigh the principles of equal justice under the law, as has happened with Mario’s death…and with too many other men, women and die at the hands of the police,” Pointer said. In the report, the Prosecutor’s Office quoted the National Association of Medical Examiners to say that homicide “is a neutral term and does not in any way affect the District Attorney’s determination in the criminal context.” The district attorney added in the report that “a homicide can be lawful or unlawful.” The officers remain on paid administrative leave until all investigations are complete, according to the city of Alameda, which is conducting its own independent investigation into the death. The encounter came a day before former Minneapolis police officer Derek Chauvin was convicted of manslaughter in the death of George Floyd and came in the context of the police killing of Adam Toledo, a 13-year-old boy in Chicago. — CNN’s Stella Chan contributed to this report.

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