Militant Journalism

‘They took a minuscule event and made it fatal’ — police bodycam shows Alameda police killed Mario Gonzalez

On April 27, a crowd of about 100 people gathered on the steps of the Alameda Police Department in Alameda, Calif., for a press conference held by the family of Mario Gonzalez, who was killed by police on April 19. Family members and legal counsel privately viewed the bodycam footage of the incident the previous day. The footage immediately exposed the phony narrative desperately put forth by APD to conceal the fact that it was APD’s unnecessary use of force that killed Gonzalez.

Jerry, Gonzalez’s brother, explained: “The Alameda Police Department said that Mario died in police custody due to medical complications. Yesterday, my family and I saw the footage, and we know what really happened. Alameda police officers murdered my brother Mario. … The footage shows officers on top of Mario while he was pinned down on the ground. They had their weight on his head and on his back. He was complying and they continued to pin him down with their weight. … They took a minuscule event and made it fatal.”

Later that day, the city of Alameda publicly released footage from two bodycams, as well as audio recordings from two 911 calls reporting Gonzalez for minor loitering concerns.

Both bodycams show that APD officers approached Gonzalez in a small park area. Gonzalez remained cooperative and conversed with the officers, one of whom identified himself as “McKinley.” McKinley threatened to take Gonzalez in if he refused to show his ID or identify himself. Scared, Gonzalez began to pace after which APD officers grabbed him without explicitly stating that he was under arrest. Gonzalez cooperated and told the officers that he didn’t do anything and that he felt like throwing up.

The officers subsequently threw Gonzalez to the ground and restrained him by digging a knee into his back. Gonzalez could then be heard gasping and calling out for help while being handcuffed. He remained on the ground in the prone position for five minutes before becoming unresponsive. The officers could also be heard making crude remarks like, “I don’t want to lose what I [the officer pinning down Gonzalez] got, man.” Finally, after finding no pulse, officers unsuccessfully attempted CPR.

At the press conference, the Gonzalez family highlighted key evidence indicating Gonzalez died due to excessive force from the APD officers, not from medical complications. Far from a scuffle, Gonzalez cooperated throughout the duration of the encounter.

The family concluded by asking supporters to raise awareness of this brutal APD killing on social media using #Justice4MarioG and @justice4mariogonzalez. The family also set up a GoFundMe to help with expenses for Gonzalez’s family. 

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