In a surprising display of accountability today, Chris Magnus the Chief of Police for Tucson, Arizona publicly offered to resign over the death of a man in his department’s custody. Fox 10 reports that Magnus’s proposed resignation can only take effect if local city officials accept it. Tucson’s Regina Romero appeared reluctant to immediately accept the resignation and said that Magnus is an “honest and great” chief of police.
The deceased, 27-year-old Carlos Ingram-Lopez, passed away in April after law enforcement officers handcuffed him facedown on the ground as he was suffering apparent cardiac arrest induced by cocaine abuse. Officers placed a blanket over him and administered Narcan but it failed to save Ingram-Lopez’s life. He can be heard repeatedly begging for water in footage of the incident.
It is alleged that prior to his passing Ingram-Lopez committed domestic abuse and disorderly contact. His grandmother was the one who called the police on him. It should go without saying, but regardless of the veracity of the allegations no on deserves to die in police custody. This could and should have been avoided.
Three offers involved in the tragic incident have already resigned from the force and Magnus says they would have been terminated if they hadn’t done so for their “multiple policy violations.” While this degree of accountability cannot bring Ingram-Lopez back and presumably offers little solace to his bereaved family, it is good to see a police department owning up to its actions for once instead of closing ranks around irresponsible cops.
During the press conference, Magnus played the bodycam footage of the in-custody death and described it as “very difficult to watch.” His description is accurate, so viewers should be forewarned that the clip is disturbing.
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