A man in Arizona has died while in police custody after being held down on hot tarmac for six minutes.
Ramon Timothy Lopez, 28, was pronounced dead on 4 August in Phoenix following an altercation with police and his subsequent arrest.
Lopez was arrested after he ran from police and reportedly threw a stolen drink at an officer who was looking into a report of a “suspicious man making obscene gestures and looking into cars".
Following an evasion from officers, Lopez was eventually forced to the ground, where he was restrained and held for six minutes, Phoenix Police Department said in a release.
He was then reportedly put in a patrol vehicle to move him out of the roadway, where he was later found to be unresponsive.
Police released footage of the incident from body-worn cameras of all three of the officers involved.
“Nobody’s perfect but he did not deserve any of that,” Lopez’s brother David Gonzales told KNXV-TV.
“They were on top of him with all their weight on the hot asphalt,” he added. “Who wouldn’t be fighting? He was fighting for his life, and he lost.”
Officers said they used handcuffs and leg restraints to prevent Lopez from kicking and said that they believed he was under the influence of illegal drugs due to his erratic behaviour.
Police said that when they realised he was unresponsive they took him out of the police vehicle, trying to wake him and give him water.
Lopez had two children with his girlfriend Evangelina Rodriguez, including a two-month-old baby.
“I just feel like they could’ve done something, and I just feel like they cheated my kids of their dad,” Ms Rodriguez told the local broadcaster.
Lopez’s cause of death is yet to be determined by a medical examiner. Two separate investigations into the incident are under way, examining the actions of the police officers involved.
“Conclusions about whether the actions of the officers are consistent with department policy and the law will not be made until all facts are known and the investigation is complete,” the police department said.
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