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Family Holds Vigil, Seeks Accountability From Alameda Police Following In-Custody Death Of Mario Gonzalez

ALAMEDA (KPIX 5) – Family members of Mario Gonzalez are demanding answers and transparency from the Alameda Police Department after the Oakland man died while in custody on Monday.

According to police, Gonzalez suffered a medical emergency while in custody. His family said the explanation from Alameda PD just doesn't add up and that he was a healthy 26-year-old man.

A crowd of more than a hundred people gathered for a vigil Wednesday night, including Mario Gonzalez's mother, 4 year old son and younger brother.

Mario Gonzalez Vigil
Vigil held in Alameda on April 21, 201 for Mario Gonzalez of Oakland, who died in police custody on April 19, 2021. (CBS)

Jerry Gonzalez, his brother says, "No medical problems, 26 year old man, healthy man. How the hell do you die?"

A small park on Oak Street where candles and flowers have been placed as a memorial for Mario Gonzalez is where officers from the Alameda Police Department tried to detain him late Monday morning.

The family told KPIX 5 that officers were called to the area to investigate a possible theft.

According to Alameda Police, as they tried to handcuff Gonzalez, a scuffle ensued and Gonzalez died while in police custody.

Mario Gonzalez
Mario Gonzalez of Oakland, who died in custody of Alameda Police on April 19, 2021. (CBS)

"We know there was no scuffle because Mario was not a violent person," Jerry Gonzalez told those gathered at the vigil

The Gonzalez family is demanding transparency in the investigation, beginning with the release of body cam footage. People at the vigil said they just can't trust the police's version of story.

George Galvis, a community organizer says, "If you take a look at the police report, it looks almost identical to the same police report, in the case of George Floyd."

Alameda Mayor Marilyn Ezzy Ashcraft was also at the vigil. She expects police to release the bodycam footage sometime next week and admits, Alameda needs to do better.

"I'm calling for an independent investigation in addition to the Sheriff's Office. I'm just heartsick to see this young man die. It should've never happened," Ashcraft said.

The three officers involved in this incident have been placed on paid administrative leave.

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