In an introduction to the edited video launched Friday, former Fresno Police Chief Andrew Corridor mentioned 41-year-old Joseph Perez was contacted by officers from the Fresno Police Division in Could 2017 after they noticed him appearing erratically and believed he wanted assist. Perez was not cooperative, prompting officers to restrain him face down on the pavement for his personal security as they waited for paramedics to reach, Corridor mentioned.
Paramedics finally arrived on scene and determined to restrain Perez, who was mendacity face down, to a backboard. A Fresno officer was requested to take a seat on the backboard for a few minute whereas paramedics strapped Perez to the backboard.
Perez misplaced consciousness, Corridor mentioned. Paramedics tried to avoid wasting his life within the ambulance, however they had been unsuccessful. He was pronounced useless on the hospital.
Perez’s household has filed a lawsuit in opposition to regulation enforcement officers, paramedics and others. The defendants have denied the allegations in court docket paperwork. The dying was dominated a murder by the county coroner, an legal professional for the household advised CNN.
“Regardless of the Defendants’ efforts to maintain this footage confidential, fact and transparency have prevailed,” Neil Gehlawat, an legal professional for Perez’s household, mentioned in an announcement. “The Perez household is deeply troubled by the circumstances resulting in Joseph’s dying, particularly in mild of the police violence epidemic plaguing the nation.”
“No matter who the affected person could also be, our purpose is all the time to manage wonderful care and to deal with everybody with the identical degree of dignity and respect,” the assertion mentioned. “Our job is solely to assist individuals and save lives. This was as true for Joseph Perez as it’s for anybody else.”
‘I can not breathe’
On Could 10, 2017, the Fresno County Sheriff’s Workplace acquired a 911 name from a resident who mentioned a person was erratically working right into a busy avenue. In audio of the decision, included in Friday’s video, a person is heard describing Perez as “working sideways” and “simply appearing actual, actual unusual.”
Three Fresno cops who had been unaware of the 911 name came across Perez by likelihood and stopped, seeing that he wanted assist. In accordance with Corridor, the officers thought the person “was presumably on medication, alcohol or affected by some form of psychological misery.”
Perez had a historical past of contact with regulation enforcement, Corridor mentioned. The day prior to this, he’d been discharged from a hospital after a psychological well being analysis by different Fresno cops, although this was unknown to the officers on the time of the deadly incident, Corridor mentioned.
Perez grew to become uncooperative after officers approached him and he was handcuffed for his personal security, Corridor mentioned. Deputies from the Fresno County Sheriff’s Division quickly arrived, and officers from each businesses requested an ambulance, in response to Corridor.
Sheriff’s deputies and cops tried to calm Perez, however he “continued to be uncooperative and bodily combative,” Corridor mentioned. Authorities laid him face down on the sidewalk whereas ready for emergency medical personnel, however Perez began “grinding his brow into the sidewalk,” he mentioned.
Within the physique cam footage launched Friday, authorities are heard repeatedly asking Perez to settle down. Perez is heard screaming and cursing.
“Please assist me,” Perez is heard saying.
Paramedics from American Ambulance arrive on scene, and a blue plastic backboard is seen being positioned on Perez’s again. An officer is instructed by a paramedic to take a seat on it whereas emergency personnel end securing him.
As officers battle to restrain him, Perez is heard crying out, “oh god” and “I can not breathe.”
“Sit on that board,” a paramedic tells an officer.
In accordance with Corridor, the officer sat on the backboard on Perez’s buttocks for one minute and 15 seconds earlier than the paramedic advised the officer to rise up. Paramedics then took Perez away within the ambulance, however he was pronounced useless at Group Regional Medical Middle.
four businesses investigated incident
The Fresno County Coroner’s Workplace dominated Perez’s dying a murder attributable to “compression asphyxia,” Gehlawat mentioned. In his assertion, he mentioned “compression asphyxia throughout restraint is all too widespread and we hope to show this pervasive tactic utilized by regulation enforcement officers throughout the nation.”
The household is “disturbed that the concerned officers, deputies, and paramedics are nonetheless employed by their respective businesses and haven’t been prosecuted,” the legal professional mentioned.
In Friday’s video, Corridor mentioned “Perez was discovered to have a degree of methamphetamine in his system that was 24 instances the poisonous degree on the time of his dying,” and that it was a contributing issue.
Corridor mentioned the incident was “totally investigated” by 4 completely different businesses, together with the police division, the sheriff’s workplace, the Fresno County District Legal professional’s Workplace and the Metropolis of Fresno’s Workplace of Unbiased Assessment.
“All 4 businesses concluded that the officers and deputies didn’t use extreme power and their actions had been inside coverage, and that each the sheriff’s division and the police division had been following instructions from emergency medical workers on scene,” Corridor mentioned.
“On behalf of myself and all the Fresno Police Division, I wish to categorical my deepest condolences to the household of Joseph Perez for his or her loss,” he mentioned.
The Perez household’s case is about to go to trial in Could 2022.
CNN’s Chris Boyette contributed to this report.