The chilling video that had been confiscated by police showing five Oklahoma cops piling on top of a man in a movie theater parking lot earlier this month, leading to his death, was released today, showing the cops were struggling with what appeared to have been a dead man for five minutes.
After all, Luis Rodriguez, 44, was not only not resisting, he was not even moving during the duration of the video.
But still, you can hear one of the cops say, “calm down, sir,” as he pushes his face into the pavement.
Rodriguez’s wife, who was video recording, kept pleading for her husband to respond, but he said nothing. It wasn’t until several minutes into the video that she realizes he is dead.
One of the cops walks up to her to try and reassure her everything is under control as she is panicking. He ends up grabbing her phone, not in a coercion manner, but she is under no condition to even question this move, having just seen her husband killed.
The incident began when Rodriguez’s wife slapped their 19-year-old daughter over an argument, then stormed off, which prompted her husband to run after her.
But the cops intervened, demanded his identification. Family members say he tried to step around them to get to his wife. Police say he became combative.
A surveillance video from the movie theater might have captured the entire incident, but that has not been released.
Police say the 44-year-old Rodriguez became uncooperative when officers questioned him about a possible domestic disturbance. Police handcuffed the man.
Rodriguez’s wife and daughter say police then started beating him. Autopsy results are pending.
The Rodriguez family’s lawyer released a cellphone video of the incident and a statement at a Tuesday news conference in Oklahoma City.
The video shows 44-year-old Luis Rodriguez on his stomach on the ground outside the theater with five police officers restraining him. One officer holds Rodriguez’s head down and the others are on top of him as they handcuff his hands behind his back.
Rodriguez’s wife, who shot the video, is later heard screaming and asking if Rodriguez is dead as he is placed on a stretcher.
“He was not involved in the disturbance. However, when police came, they focused their attention on Luis. Taking him face down onto the pavement, pepper-spraying his mouth, nose and eyes and putting the weight of five grown men on top of him, and then handcuffing him as he was unconscious or already dead,” said Michael Brooks-Jimenez, attorney for the Rodriguez family.
UPDATE: (February 25, 2016) Two months after the incident, the Oklahoma State Medical Examiner’s Officer released the results of an autopsy, stating that Luis Rodriguez died from “cardiac arrhythmia due to physical restraint.” Cardiac arrhythmia is described as an irregular heartbeat.
However, seven months after the incident, Rodriguez’s family had a private autopsy done, which determined he died of “asphyxia caused by restricted breathing movement.” Asphyxia is described as a loss of oxygen to the body.
Essentially, the cops suffocated him to death rather than him dying from an irregular heartbeat stemming from the physical struggle with the cops.
Nevertheless, the cops were cleared of any wrongdoing by the Cleveland County District Attorney’s Office.