Mario Gonzalez’s death on April 19, 2021, may have been declared a homicide by the Alameda County coroner’s office eight months after he took his last breath, but no one will be charged with his death.
Gonzalez, who was 26 years old, died after he was handcuffed face down by Alameda police and when at least one of those cops knelt on his back for nearly four minutes.
In a report sent to HuffPost Thursday (April 7), Alameda County District Attorney Nancy O’Malley said that “evidence does not justify criminal charges” and, therefore, decided that the three officers involved – James Fisher, Cameron Leahy, and Eric McKinley – would not be held accountable.
“These officers should be underneath the jail at this point,” Adante Pointer, the Gonzalez family’s attorney, told HuffPost last week.
Instead of being charged with a crime, the officers will remain suspended and on paid administrative leave until an independent investigation is completed. The family has filed two lawsuits against the officers, one on behalf of Gonzalez’s mother and the other for his 5-year-old son.
Bodycam footage released by the police department shows officers approaching Gonzalez in a park. Bottles of alcohol were in the vicinity. After talking to him for nine minutes, they pinned him face down on the ground and handcuffed him. He stopped breathing three minutes and 39 seconds after one of the officers knelt on his back.
The report from the District Attorney’s office describes the officers as “struggling” on top of Gonzalez and said that he “continued to physically resist.”
“Mario was a beautiful person, very respectful, full of love,” his mother said. “He didn’t deserve to die.”