The police chief in Tucson, Arizona, offered to resign on Wednesday after the public release of a video showing the death of a 27-year-old man in police custody.
Chief Chris Magnus’ offer to resign came at a press conference two days after a video of the death in custody was shown to the Tucson City Council on Monday.
Magnus said at the press conference that police had not disclosed the death of Carlos Ingram-Lopez on April 21 in a timely manner, despite the fact that the department had been investigating the incident.
He said that Ingram-Lopez’s grandmother had called the police at approximately 1 am on April 21, “and told the police operator that her grandson was drunk, screaming and running naked through the house.”
“When the officers arrived at the house. Mr. Carlos Ingram-López ran from them to a dark and closed garage where the officers ordered him to the floor, handcuffed him behind his back and placed him in a face down position, which means that they placed him face down, “said the boss.
Magnus also told reporters that Ingram-Lopez “had committed domestic violence against another significant person and disorderly conduct involving his family two days before his grandmother called the police.”
The video released by police Wednesday shows Ingram-Lopez running frantically 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 lay 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.
Ingram-Lopez had been handcuffed, according to a police statement. “No hits, strikes, strangulations, knee to neck, chemical or electronic weapons were used. They were not fired,” the statement said.
Officers administered chest compressions before emergency medical personnel declared him dead at the scene.
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.
An autopsy report said Ingram-Lopez was restrained “after erratic behavior, including yelling, at a relative’s residence.”
“He was reportedly restrained in the prone position with a saliva and did not respond. He died despite the resuscitation efforts of emergency medical service providers,” the report said.
Magnus, who was named chief in 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.
A police spokesman said Thursday questions about what specific policies were violated and other questions were directed to the chief’s office, which did not immediately respond to a request for comment.
The officers, who have not been identified, resigned Friday, shortly before the department’s internal investigation was completed, according to TucsonSentinel.com.
City Council member Lane Santa Cruz said in a statement after watching the video: “I cannot see and be unaware that officers used their bodies, denial of water, denial of air, and plastic blankets as a weapon against a Disarmed and vulnerable young father in distress. “
The Tucson Association of Police Officers said in a statement that the video “shows absolutely no police use of force or violence, but the tragic death of a man due to cardiac arrest, caused by an extremely high level of cocaine in the individual system. “
Magnus said Wednesday: “I cannot 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.”
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.
The criminal investigation into Ingram-Lopez’s death was sent to the county attorney’s office, which has not yet determined whether to press charges against the officers. The FBI will also review the evidence surrounding Ingram-Lopez’s death to determine what federal response is warranted, an office spokeswoman said in a statement to NBC News.
Magnus was named chief in 2016. The city council and city manager must approve his resignation.
A visibly surprised mayor, Regina Romero, said during Wednesday’s press conference that she did not know that Magnus had planned to offer her resignation. She said that he has been an “honest and excellent” police chief.
Romero, a Democrat, said she was upset by the video showing Ingram-Lopez’s death and that police must be held to account.
“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 the mayor.
Ingram-Lopez, a Latino man by the name of Adrian, was the father of a young boy, reported KVOA, an NBC affiliate.
Councilwoman Santa Cruz, who has been asking for answers since learning of her death, said in her statement that the actions of police officers should not be minimized. “Shooting and strangling are not the only forms of violence,” he said.
“Adrian was a young Latino father who, in his last moments, begged for water and cried out for his babysitter,” said Santa Cruz.
A personal friend and lawyer for Ingram-López’s family, Eduardo Coronado, did not immediately respond to a phone call Thursday requesting comment.
“He always had a huge heart for me, “Coronado told KVOA.
“How has it been since the police are called when no crime is reported and then someone dies?” Coronado said. He said he had requested images of the incident in April, but did not receive it.