The Pima County Attorney’s Office in Arizona has declined to file charges against four Tucson police officers who were involved in an April incident that left a man dead, according to a report released by the office Monday.
The incident came to light in late June with the release of body camera video.
The Pima County Attorney’s Office found that “there is reasonable doubt as to whether the conduct of the officers here caused the death” of 27-year-old Carlos Ingram-Lopez, according to a report issued by County Attorney Barbara LaWall.
Ted Schmidt, a lawyer for Ingram-Lopez’s family said he was not surprised the city is not charging the officers.
“My research shows that the last time the county attorney was willing to bring charges against the police officer was 1988,” he told CNN. “It’s typical, that their response is to something like this…is to say they’re not going to bring charges.”
In the early morning of April 21, Tucson police officers were called to a home where Ingram-Lopez was found “drunk, yelling and running around the house naked,” Police Chief Chris Magnus said at a press conference on June 26.
The body camera video showed officers wrestling with Ingram-Lopez in a dark garage of his grandmother’s house. Ingram-Lopez, who was naked and screaming loudly, was eventually handcuffed face-down, “in a prone position for about 12 minutes,” Magnus said in June.
“Mr. Ingram-Lopez went into cardiac arrest and, despite the officer’s attempt to revive him, was declared deceased at the scene,” Magnus said.
“Without credible and relatively certain medical testimony tying the cause of death of Mr. Ingram-Lopez to the conduct of the officers, there is insufficient evidence to prove a crime of negligent or reckless homicide,” the county attorney’s report says.
The report notes that Ingram-Lopez’s death was from cardiac arrest “and that his enlarged heart coupled with the large amount of cocaine in his body and the stress of his interaction with police may have contributed to his death.”
Additionally, none of the medical experts the office consulted “could say that the officers’ detention of Mr. Ingram-Lopez in a continuously prone position, their failure to contact paramedics or their failure to put Mr. Ingram-Lopez in a recovery position contributed to his death.”
Three officers in the case submitted their resignations to the department shortly after the videos became public.
“The files for these officers reflect that the department would have terminated them had they not resigned,” Magnus said in June.
Release of the body camera video prompted the police chief to offer to resign, but his offer was not accepted.
Ingram-Lopez’s family has filed notice that it plans to file a lawsuit against the City of Tucson and the police officers. Myriam Cruz, city communications director, said the city does not comment on pending litigation.
Tucson Mayor Regina Romero said Ingram-Lopez’s death led the city to examine city policies and look for ways “to help prevent similar incidents from occurring in the future. As a result, we developed a Community Safety Pilot Program focused heavily on reimagining how we provide public safety and how we invest in support services for community wellness.
“I understand that many in our community might be upset or angry about the ruling; a life was lost. We must do better so this does not happen again and we need our community to be part of the solution if we are to move forward and affect systemic change.”