TUCSON, Ariz. (KOLD News 13) - According to a spokesman for the Tucson Police Department, they will release all of its information, including videos and reports, of all of its in-custody deaths in the past ten years next week.
The move is intended to introduce transparency after the death of 27 year old Adrian Ingram-Lopez who died while in police custody in April.
The death and video of the incident did not become public until June 16, 2020.
In-custody deaths are rare according to Tucson Police Chief Chris Magnus who said there have been 12 deaths in 10 years.
Many, he said, have been suicides. Five, including the Ingram-Lopez death, involved restraints.
He says the other four have been investigated by the County Attorney’s office which found the officers were not responsible for the death.
The Chief did not say why he was releasing the records, however, he has promised more transparency within the department.
“I feel it is an expression of good intent, positive intent,” said Ward 6 City Council member Steve Kozachik. “I don’t think it’s going to change a lot of minds.”
The city of Tucson also unanimously approved a new policy where the Mayor, city council and public will be notified within 24 hours of an in-custody death.
Kozachik is concerned because the public will be informed of the death, but not the facts behind it.
“It’s going to be a notification this incident occurred,” he said. “People have to understand it’s not the be all end all.”
Frequently, on social media especially, people might jump to conclusions and begin posting opinions which can be inflammatory.
“Still, an investigation needs to take place,” Kozachik said. “Notification leaves the city and the police department open to criticism before all the facts are out.”