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TPD releases in-custody death cases

Effort at transparency
Posted at 7:01 PM, Jul 09, 2020
and last updated 2020-07-21 15:01:35-04

TUCSON, Ariz. — Tucson Police took a lot of heat for waiting about two months to disclose that Carlos Adrian Ingram-Lopez died in police custody---and died after questionable treatment by police. Now TPD says its’ had four other in-custody deaths in the last ten years and its’ releasing reports and video about them.

In March, tips from civilians helped police chase down Damien Alvarado. He was a suspect in a hit and run. TPD reports say officers used Tasers on him twice but still struggled to restrain him.

At one point video shows an officer holding Alvarado with his knee on Alvarado’s back.

Tucson Firefighters arrived and said he was well enough to be taken to jail. Then someone noticed he did not seem to be breathing.

Police and then firefighters gave CPR but Alvarado was pronounced dead at the hospital. Later, an autopsy ruled his death an accident caused by a combination of methamphetamines and a heart condition.

TPD ruled the officers' actions were in line with department policy but their harsh language is under review.

With in-custody deaths under more scrutiny, Tucson Police are releasing other cases dating back ten years.

In September 2012, police answered a disturbance call involving Delbert Germany. They described him as in convulsions. He went into cardiac arrest. Police restrained him but put him in a position to avoid more injuries and he was taken to the hospital, but died there a week later.

Investigators concluded drug abuse contributed to his death. They found police blameless.

ALL RELATED COVERAGE ON CARLOS ADRIAN INGRAM-LOPEZ

Police say in March 2012 Michael Carbone ran to a Circle K after arguing with his wife. Officers say he fought back when they tried to detain him. Officers say they used a Taser three times.

When firefighters found Carbone’s heart had stopped. A doctor at UMC pronounced the man dead. We did not see in the reports whether officers were cleared or disciplined in the case.

In August 2010 Police responded to a call of a man with a gun. They say they found Benjamin Sotelo acting hysterical, and claiming he’d been shot - when he hadn’t. Officers say he fought with them as they tried to keep him from hurting himself but never used any sort of dangerous neck holds. Paramedics took him to a hospital, where he died. A doctor blamed the death on cocaine and alcohol, and the effect of being restrained.