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“He Couldn’t Breathe”: Graphic Video From April Police Killing of Carlos Ingram Lopez in Tucson Draws Outrage

Protestors confront the Secret Service in front of the Old Executive Office Building on Pennsylvania Avenue. Lafayette Park and access to the White House had been barricaded. Protestors were there in a second day of DC protests against the police brutality in the death of George Floyd. However, after days of taunts from the President, the protest had featured strong anti-Trump chants.
Protestors confront the Secret Service in front of the Old Executive Office Building on Pennsylvania Avenue. Lafayette Park and access to the White House had been barricaded. Protestors were there in a second day of DC protests against the police brutality in the death of George Floyd. However, after days of taunts from the President, the protest had featured strong anti-Trump chants. (Photo: Geoff Livimgston)

“Carlos Ingram Lopez should still be alive today.”

(By: Eoin Higgins, Common Dreams) Video of the police killing of Tucson, Arizona resident Carlos Ingram Lopez in April was released to the public on Wednesday, prompting outcry over systemic racism and police brutality from critics and the city’s police chief offering his resignation.

“Carlos Ingram Lopez should still be alive today,” the ACLU tweeted in response to the release of the footage.

Police were called to Lopez’s grandmother’s residence on April 21 because Lopez was intoxicated and behaving erratically. Officers pinned Lopez to the ground, cuffing him, and left him lying on his face for 12 minutes as he repeatedly said he could not breathe and called for his grandmother.

“We’ve said this before—police should not be first responders to calls involving behavioral health and drug use,” Drug Policy Alliance (DPA) incoming executive director Kassandra Frederique said in a statement. “When Carlos’ grandmother called the police because of his irregular behavior, she did not expect that they would kill her grandson.”

Tucson chief of police Chris Magnus offered his resignation Wednesday at a press conference releasing the video. The officers involved in the killing have all resigned and are the subject of a criminal investigation.

City council member Lane Santa Cruz, who drew attention to the killing Tuesday before the release of the video, urged the public to concentrate on the behavior of police rather than on the chief’s resignation.

Pssst, while you're here...

“Now everybody’s talking about the resignation and not about what unfolded when the family called 911 for help,” Santa Cruz told the Arizona Republic. “He gets to leave and for those of us where Tucson is home, we don’t get to go anywhere and we have to now deal with this head-on.”

The ongoing protest movement for Black lives and against police brutality is making headway into Latin communities as well, as the New York Times reported:

The disclosure of Mr. Lopez’s death comes at a time when many Latinos around the United States are calling for changes in how police treat their communities, echoing similar calls by African-Americans. Last week in California, outrage emerged over the killing of Andres Guardado, an 18-year-old Latino student and security guard, by a Los Angeles County sheriff’s deputy. The episode in Tucson occurred about a month before George Floyd, a black man, was killed by police officers in Minneapolis, igniting protests throughout the country.

DPA’s Frederique also connected Lopez’s killing to the broader movement and called for a re-evaluation of U.S. policing.

“The Wendy’s employee that called the police on Rayshard Brooks also did not expect they would take his life, neither did the store owner that called the police on George Floyd,” said Frederique. “These incidents clearly could have been handled better by an unarmed, non-police responder trained in mental health and harm reduction.”

“It is time to reevaluate what has fallen under the incredibly bloated scope of the police,” Frederique added, “and begin redirecting resources towards appropriate community resources better suited for these kinds of situations.”

Protesters filled Tucson streets Wednesday after the release of the video. A vigil for Lopez is scheduled for Thursday night.

Watch the footage—viewers are warned it is disturbing:

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