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Three Alameda Officers Who Pinned Unarmed Father To The Ground Cleared In His Death

James Fisher, Cameron Leahy and Eric McKinley, the three Alameda, California officers who pinned Mario Gonzalez to the ground after a confrontation in a park in 2021, have been cleared in his death by the district attorney’s office.

By Gina Tron
Mario Gonzalez Ap

Three officers who pinned an unarmed man to the ground in California last year will not be charged in connection with his death.

The Alameda County District Attorney’s Office will not press charges against officers James Fisher, Cameron Leahy and Eric McKinley after concluding that the manner in which they arrested Mario Gonzalez, 26, in April 2021 was “objectively reasonable,” it said in a statement obtained by NBC News.

Gonzalez died in police custody after he was confronted in a park by city officers, an incident captured with body camera footage.

The statement from the district attorney cites a recent 40-page report by the office, and claims that the officers’ use of force was reasonable “considering the agency policies, the totality of the circumstances and the officers’ stated rationale.” They added that “Mr. Gonzalez did not die due to asphyxiation, nor did he complain to the officers that he could not breathe.”

It further claims that "stress of the altercation and restraint" contributed to his death, along with obesity, alcoholism and methamphetamine intoxication, KTVU reports.

The officers' body camera recordings showed them questioning Gonzalez in a park in Alameda, during which time the unarmed father appeared confused and disoriented. The encounter escalated after police requested Gonzalez’s identification and name.

After the officers searched Gonzalez and physically escorted him out of the park, Gonzalez appeared to resist. However, he was never physically aggressive. Still, the officers then took and pinned him to the ground, at which point he could be heard screaming. 

The incident, which drew comparisons to the 2020 murder of George Floyd, prompted some critics to ask why Gonzalez was arrested at all.

An independent investigation being completed for the city — which has promised to release relevant video and documents next week — continues. In their statement, the district attorney's office noted that the three officers would remain on paid administrative leave until that is finished.

A statement from the lawyers representing Gonzalez’s family calls the report “shameful,” according to NBC News.

It states that “the only people who hold officers who commit these crimes accountable are typically the victims’ families, in federal civil rights cases.”

Gonzalez had a 4-year-old son at the time of his death.

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