Former Bay Area police chief offers to resign from Arizona post after video of death in custody released – The Mercury News

By ASTRID GALVAN | Associated Press

PHOENIX (AP) – The Tucson, Arizona police chief offered his resignation on Wednesday two months after a 27-year-old man died in handcuffs and turned upside down, resulting in the resignation of three officers, the chief said. , had violated department policy. .

Chief Chris Magnus, who took office in Arizona after serving as Richmond’s police chief for 10 years, offered to resign during a press conference a day after Carlos Ingram-Lopez’s death on April 21 was made. public, acknowledging that the department had not disclosed the death in a timely manner. The city council and city manager have to approve the resignation.

The medical examiner’s office did not determine a form of death, but said Ingram-Lopez had died of sudden cardiac arrest while cocaine intoxicated and physically restricted.

Ingram-Lopez was face down on the floor with a blanket over her head when she stopped breathing. The police had come to her house after her grandmother called them because she was acting in an irregular way.

Mayor Regina Romero said she was surprised by Magnus’s offer to resign and that she needed to think about it, adding that she has been an “honest and excellent” police chief.

Romero said she was deeply concerned and outraged by what she saw on video of the incident. She said Ingram-Lopez was clearly distressed and that the police must be held accountable.

“Events like this remind us that even some of the most progressive police departments with some of the most advanced policies and rigorous training are not immune to failure,” said Romero.

The case arose when Americans across the country protest against police brutality. Ingram-Lopez was Hispanic.

In Richmond, Magnus was an unlikely choice for the main job in 2006, arriving from Fargo, North Dakota at a time when that city was among the safest in the US. USA And Richmond was among the most dangerous per capita, according to FBI statistics. However, under Magnus, City Council officials, activists, and police reformers agreed that the Richmond Police Department began to restore trust with residents.

Richmond Police Chief Chris Magnus meets protesters during a 2014 protest. (Kristopher Skinner / Bay Area News Group)

His methods were not always popular with police: in 2014, while wearing a uniform, the chief carried a “Black Lives Matter” sign, along with Richmond residents protesting the murder of Michael Brown by the Ferguson, Missouri police . His style of community policing helped bring about the Office of Neighborhood Safety, a public-private pilot partnership to reduce street violence in Richmond.

When Magnus left Richmond in 2015, the violent crime rate had dropped to record lows. In 2013, six years after the city was removed from the nation’s top 10 most dangerous cities, Richmond had the lowest total homicide in 33 years.

Magnus, who took over as Tucson’s chief in early 2016, said three of the responding officers “committed multiple policy violations and failed to handle the incident according to their training.” All three officers resigned but would have been fired anyway, Magnus said.

“I can’t say enough, this is a terrible tragedy and today I had the opportunity to meet with the family to express my condolences and let them know how much I sympathize with the loss of Carlos,” said Magnus.

The criminal investigation into Ingram-López’s death was sent to the county attorney’s office, which has not yet determined whether to file criminal charges against the officers.

A video shown to the press on Wednesday shows Ingram-Lopez running hysterically through a dark garage before officers handcuffed him. The video quality is low due to poor lighting, but Ingram-Lopez can be heard beating, begging for water numerous times, and moaning as he lies face down on the ground.

Finally, an officer places what appears to be a yellow plastic blanket over his entire body, and adds another blanket soon after.

Ingram-Lopez is heard crying over and over and saying “no” repeatedly while on the ground and covered. After a few minutes, stop making noise or moving.

Officers administered chest compressions before emergency medical personnel declared him dead at the scene.

Magnus said he has asked the FBI to investigate. He said that although he was informed the day after Ingram-Lopez’s death, no one in his administration saw the video at the time. He called the failure to make the death public a misstep, but said it was not done with malicious intent.

Bay Area News Group staff writer David DeBolt contributed to this report.