Tuscon Mayor Regina Romero released a statement Thursday after the city’s police chief offered to resign, following the death of a man who died while in police custody.
Chief Chris Magnus offered to resign Wednesday after the death of Carlos Ingram-Lopez, 27, was made public, according to The Associated Press.
Romero, a Democrat, shared a letter on Twitter saying she would not accept Magnus’ resignation and that she should stay and remain the city’s chief of police.
“At this time, my attention is focused on the fact that the life of a fellow Tucson, Carlos Adrián Ingram-López, was unnecessarily lost,” he began. “The Chief’s abrupt announcement at yesterday’s press conference should not take that away from him. I continue to extend my sincere condolences to Carlos Adrián’s family during this incredibly difficult time for them. The best way we can honor the memory of Carlos Adrián it is uniting and taking immediate steps to build a better and fairer community. “
Romero continued: “According to city statutes, it is the responsibility of the city manager to accept resignations or fire department directors. After hearing comments from my colleagues on the Council, I don’t think the Chief should resign.”
THE TUSCON POLICE CHIEF OFFERS TO RESIGN AFTER THE DEATH OF THE HUSBAND MAN, LEFT ON THE GROUND
She championed Magnus’ mandate for “innovative” changes in the department and said that “she has built strong relationships with our community since she joined the Department in 2016.”
Romero concluded his message by calling the unit and hoped that Magnus would stay to continue leading the city’s police force.
“Now is the time to work together and rebuild public trust in our police department by increasing transparency, ensuring accountability, and reimagining how we provide security for our community,” he wrote. “I look forward to working with Chief Magnus to achieve these reforms.”
Ingram-Lopez died of a sudden cardiac arrest on April 21, while handcuffed and restrained after taking cocaine, the medical examiner’s office said.
Her grandmother had called the police after Ingram-Lopez began to behave erratically, the AP reported. She was lying face down on the floor with a blanket over her head when she stopped breathing.
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Magnus said the three officers who answered the call had “committed multiple policy violations and were unable to handle the incident according to their training.” All three officers have resigned, but they probably would have been fired anyway, he added.
The county attorney’s office is still conducting a criminal investigation and has not yet announced whether to press charges against any of the officers who were present.
Associated Press contributed to this report.