Disturbing video of a police incident in an Oklahoma parking lot shows a man who had committed no crime dying after being roughed up and violently restrained by four cops–all while his grief-stricken wife watched in horror.
The man, 44-year-old Luis Rodriguez, died in a Moore, Oklahoma movie theater parking lot. Police were responding to a reported domestic disturbance. Rodriguez’s wife admitted to slapping the couple’s 19-year-old daughter in the face over a disagreement about the girl’s behavior. Rodriguez, however, was not involved and had not done anything wrong, according to local news reports.
But when police arrived, they wanted to question Rodriguez. According to the Moore police department, Rodriguez was not cooperative, and cops were forced to handcuff and restrain him.
Cell phone video shows the immediate aftermath of the restraining process. Several cops can be seen pinning Rodriguez face-down on the ground. One officer kneels on his back while others hold his arms. He does not move or speak at this point, and it’s unclear whether he is still alive. The officers seem unaware that anything is wrong, however, and continue to keep him pinned.
The footage was shot by Mrs. Rodriguez. Another officer kept her several feet away from her prone husband. Both this officer and Mrs. Rodriguez remain civil toward each other–at least until the ambulance arrives. At that point, Mrs. Rodriguez realizes that her husband is completely limp, and panics that he is dead.
“You killed my husband!” she shouts, and then begins to cry.
Rodriguez’s death is being investigated. The results of the autopsy have not yet been disclosed. Security camera footage has yet to be released as well, and could shed more light on how Rodriguez died, according to News 9.
But Michael Brooks-Jimenez, an attorney for the family, said the available footage left little doubt that police were responsible.
“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,” he recounted in a statement.
Police Chief Jerry Stillings said that he has not yet seen any footage demonstrating that the cops misbehaved.
Three of the officers involved have been placed on administrative leave.