The video, uploaded to the City of Alameda’s YouTube page this week, shows what transpired on April 19 when patrol officers for the Alameda Police approached 26-year-old Mario Arenales Gonzalez. An officer questioned Gonzalez, who had trouble responding. He told Gonzalez he was checking on him after 911 calls came in that the man was “not feeling so great.”
After questioning him for a few minutes, officers then pinned Gonzalez to the ground and told him to stop resisting arrest, adding “It’s okay, Mario. We’re gonna take care of you.” According to APD, he appeared to be “under the influence and a suspect in a possible theft.” Gonzalez then died after being pinned, despite the Alameda Fire Department’s attempted life-saving measures.
While he was pinned with what appears to be the officers’ arms, elbows and at least one knee, according to CBS, Gonzalez could be heard saying “Please, don’t do it” while gasping and crying. The officers told him to stop “kicking,” with one officer suggesting to roll him on his side and another responding with “I don’t want to lose what I got.”
In the 911 calls leading up to Gonzalez’ death, callers complain about the man “not doing anything wrong” but “just scaring my wife,” as well as allegedly loitering and breaking security tags off bottles.
According to a GoFundMe for Gonzalez, the Oakland man was the father of a 4-year-old boy and took care of his 22-year-old brother, who has autism. His family called the footage “re-traumatizing and heartbreaking.”
“We need justice because we lost someone who was indispensable to our family,” his mother told KPIX-TV last week. “Mario was a noble and decent man who didn’t deserve to have his life ended in this way.”
The three officers involved have been placed on administrative leave, as the city conducts an independent investigation. The Alameda County Sheriff’s Department and Alameda County District Attorney’s Office are working on criminal investigations into the officers.
“The City of Alameda is committed to full transparency and accountability in the aftermath of Mr. Gonzalez’s death,” the city said in a statement Tuesday.
In a press conference Tuesday, Gonzalez’s brother Jerry said that there was “no reason to detain” Mario, adding that the APD “took a calm situation and made it fatal.”
“The police killed my brother in the same manner that they killed George Floyd,” he said.