OAKLAND, CALIF. – Police in Alameda, California, are under fire over the death of a Latino man who was pinned to the ground face down for more than five minutes on the same day a jury in Minneapolis began deliberating in the George Floyd case.
Autopsy findings have not been released, but the family of 26-year-old Mario Gonzalez accused police Wednesday of using excessive force and escalating what should have been a minor encounter with the unarmed man.
Gonzalez stopped breathing following a video-recorded scuffle with police April 19 at a park, where officers confronted him after receiving 911 calls that said he appeared disoriented or drunk. The initial police statement said Gonzalez had a medical emergency after officers tried to handcuff him.
“The video showed that he died on the ground with his face on the floor with officers on top of him,” said his brother, Jerry Gonzalez.
Added the family’s attorney, Julia Sherwin, “It would feel like drowning on dry land for him.”
Multiple use-of-force training experts who viewed the video at the request of The Associated Press agreed that the officers shouldn’t have escalated the confrontation, but said their fatal mistake was not immediately taking action once Gonzalez had trouble breathing.
“He wasn’t resisting; he was just trying to breathe,” said Timothy T. Williams Jr., an expert who spent nearly 30 years with the Los Angeles Police Department.
In a statement, the San Francisco Bay Area city said it…