Bodycam video shows California police kneeling on a man's back for 4 minutes before he died

Bodycam video shows California police kneeling on a man's back for 4 minutes before he died
Alameda police officers seen pinning Mario Gonzalez during an arrest.Alameda Police Department via AP
  • Bodycam footage shows a California police officer kneeling on a man while he lay face down.
  • The man, Mario Gonzalez, becomes unresponsive. Authorities said he later died at a hospital.
  • Gonzalez's family compared his death to George Floyd's. Authorities haven't given a cause of death.

Police body-camera footage released Tuesday shows an officer in California pinning a man to the ground for five minutes before he became unresponsive and later died.

The April 19 footage shows officers confronting Mario Gonzalez, 26, in the Bay Area city of Alameda.

In an initial report on Gonzalez's death, the police said the officers were responding to reports of a man who "appeared to be under the influence and a suspect in a possible theft."

The hourlong footage shows officers initially talking to Gonzalez and instructing him to put his hands behind his back. Gonzalez is heard talking incoherently and does not comply with the order.

A scuffle ensues, and the footage shows officers pinning Gonzalez to the ground while applying pressure to his back.


One officer can be seen placing his knee on Gonzalez's back for four minutes, and Gonzalez is seen protesting and struggling and appears increasingly to be in distress.

"Think we can roll him on his side?" one officer is heard asking.

The officer who is restraining him is heard saying in response: "I don't want to lose what I got, man."

At this point, Gonzalez goes silent, apparently unconscious. The footage shows officers then attempting to resuscitate Gonzalez before emergency workers arrive.

In total, Gonzalez was restrained face down for about five minutes.


Authorities said Gonzalez later died at a hospital. The police have said the cause of death is still unknown pending an autopsy, NBC Bay Area reported.

Gonzalez's brother, Gerardo Gonzalez, has accused the police of killing him.

"The police killed my brother in the same manner they killed George Floyd," Gerardo Gonzalez told a Tuesday press conference.

Gonzalez's family said he had a 4-year-old son and was also the main carer for his 22-year-old brother, who has autism.

Authorities in Alameda said that an investigation into Gonzalez's death had been launched and that the officers involved in the incident were put on paid leave while it is being conducted.


According to the Associated Press, the city said in a statement that it was "committed to full transparency and accountability in the aftermath of Mr. Gonzalez's death."

Police forces across the US have come under renewed scrutiny over their use of force in the wake of the death of George Floyd in Minneapolis last year. Derek Chauvin, the officer who knelt on Floyd's neck for several minutes while performing an arrest, was convicted of murder last week.