TUCSON, Ariz. (KOLD News 13) - On Wednesday, July 9, the Tucson Police Department released body camera video of five in-custody deaths that happened over the past decade.
As Tucson Police Chief Magnus mentioned in a news conference on June 24, there have been five in-custody deaths over the past decade in which some type of restraint was used by police officers.
Two of those deaths happened in the last five months.
In April 2020, Carlos Adrian Ingram-Lopez died while in custody. You can read more about the case HERE, but the Pima County Office of the Medical Examiner said the cause of death was “sudden cardiac arrest in the setting of acute cocaine intoxication and physical restraint with cardiac left ventricular hypertrophy as a significant contributing condition.”
The toxicology report showed positive tests for stimulants, both benzoylecgonine and cocaine.
Damien Alvarado died while in custody in March 2020.
Not much about the case was know until the videos were released Wednesday.
The Pima County Office of the Medical Examiner said Alvarado’s cause of death was “sudden cardiac arrest in the setting of acute methamphetamine intoxication and restraint.” You can read the autopsy report below.
Alvarado’s toxicology report showed positive tests for amphetamine, methamphetamine and THC.
Alvarado’s case started off as a routine crash that quickly escalated to a struggle between Alvarado, a witness who followed him and a TPD officer.
As the Good Samaritan and officer tried to subdue Alvarado, more officers rushed to the scene. Police said Alvarado pulled a magazine from one of the officer’s belts but that wasn’t caught on camera because investigators say one of the body cams malfunctioned.
Another officer’s camera showed them using their tasers while trying to cuff Alvarado as the fight continued. After several minutes, Alvarado was finally cuffed.
Lying on his stomach, with his hands secured behind his back, Alvarado yelled out and said he couldn’t breathe.
Officers quickly went from arrest mode to rescue mode and put Alvarado on his side.
While waiting for medical help, Alvarado again said he couldn’t breath as officers put on another restraint to keep medics safe.
You can hear at least one officer tell Alvarado to stop complaining and that if he can talk, he can breathe.
After a few minutes paramedics arrived to check on Alvarado. EMS checked Alvarado’s vital signs and cleared him to be taken to jail, but as they were leaving, Alvarado became unresponsive.
Despite attempts to revive him, Alvarado was pronounced dead a short while later at a local hospital.
WARNING GRAPHIC CONTENT: The following videos may be offensive to some viewers.
No video provided by Tucson Police Department.