On April 21, 27-year-old Carlos Adrián Ingram-López was killed by police in Tucson, Arizona. This week, his family and friends gathered for a vigil to honor his life.
The solemn event came as the Tucson Police Department released a video and a new report detailing his death, following an investigation. In it, they found several examples of police misconduct: Ingram-Lopez died after being cuffed on the ground for 12 minutes, his mouth covered with a spit guard—all while he pleaded for his grandmother and told officers repeatedly that he couldn’t breathe.
Police were called to Ingram-Lopez’s grandmother’s house because he was behaving “erratically” and shown later to be intoxicated. However, according to parts of the report cited by KGUN9 News, the officers should have been prepared to deal with “excited delirium,” which can cause “overheating and rapid heartbeat.” Ingram-Lopez showed clear signs of excited delirium and they should have been aware of his physical distress when he called out for water, had trouble breathing and said, plainly, that he couldn’t breathe.
The report also found that officers should have put Ingram-Lopez in “recovery position” to reduce his physical stress (one police officer who arrived later even asked, “Shouldn’t he be in the recovery position?”). Additionally, while they didn’t put him in a neck hold, one officer kneeled on his back for a period of time. Officers also put a spit sock over his face because “his choking and clearing his throat made them fear he would spit and spread COVID-19.”
The report noted a senior officer on the scene didn’t adequately command and organize the response and concluded that “the officers ignored their training and were unaware or indifferent to Ingram-Lopez’s situation and physical distress.” The case has roiled the police department, with Police Chief Chris Magnus offering to resign on Wednesday after full details emerged. However, Mayor Regina Romero expressed her support of him the next day and said he would stay on the job.
Meanwhile, the report recommends that the officers—Samuel Routledge, Ryan Starbuck and Jonathan Jackson—be terminated. All three have resigned.
The attention around Ingram-Lopez’s death follows the death of George Floyd and lands amid the global movement for Black lives and against police brutality. Despite calls for police defunding and reform, cases of excessive force have continued. Just last week, police in Los Angeles shot and killed Andres Guardado, an 18-year-old who worked as a security officer.