(New York Daily) – An Arizona father of two died after several cops held him on hot asphalt for nearly six minutes under scorching weather this month, new videos released by the city’s police department show.
Ramon Lopez, 28, was pronounced dead at a Phoenix hospital shortly after police chased and restrained him on the morning of Aug. 4, when the temperature was over 100 degrees, according to Weather Underground.
He was taken into custody after a 911 caller reported seeing a man acting suspiciously and “holding his private parts” while walking around the parking lot of a shopping center, the Phoenix Police Department said in a pre-recorded news briefing Tuesday.
Lopez, whose cause of death has yet to be determined, had been diagnosed with paranoid schizophrenia and lived just a mile from the scene, his girlfriend told a local news outlet.
The newly released footage, which includes videos from surveillance and body-worn cameras, show Lopez running from officers after they arrived at the scene. He also went into a convenience store, stole a drink, threw it at one of the cops and repeatedly struggled with them, the videos show.
None of the three officers who held the man on the searing blacktop have been identified or punished.
Sgt. Mercedez Fortune said the police department is conducting two separate investigations, including a criminal probe by the homicide unit. The findings will be turned over to the Maricopa County Attorney’s Office for review, she said.
The agency released the videos just days after a witness shared a 20-second video of the incident with ABC15. The woman, who asked not to be named, told the station that Lopez was struggling during the arrest because he didn’t want his face “smashed on the asphalt” on what was clearly a very hot day.
The 911 caller who reported the man to police described him as “kind of weird.”
“He’s kind of acting funny, he’s over there sticking his tongue out,” the woman told dispatchers, according to a 911 audio recording that was also released this week.
“I don’t know what’s wrong with him,” she said, adding that he was wearing ripped shorts and was “holding his private parts.”
After a short pursuit outside the store, one of the officers eventually grabbed Lopez and both fell in the middle of a busy road, the videos show. Two other cops arrived at the scene to assist in the arrest, but the man continued to struggle and could be heard moaning. They eventually managed to handcuff him and used a leg restraint to prevent him from kicking.
Police also suspected that he was under the influence of illegal drugs as they called for fire personnel.
After nearly six minutes on the road, Lopez was finally placed into a police SUV, where he became unresponsive. The officers parked in a nearby parking lot and took Lopez out of the car.
The videos show cops repeatedly trying to revive him, with one of them throwing water on his head. Fire personnel arrived at the scene and began treating him, but he did not survive.
The cause of death will be determined by the medical examiner’s office.
The three cops who were directly involved in restraining Lopez have been with the Phoenix Police Department for three, 10 and 14 years, respectively.