In the early hours of April 13, 2015, in a residential neighborhood in south Los Angeles, police arrived outside the home of Alex Jimenez, a 35-year-old man who was experiencing severe “emotional issues,” according to Luis Carillo, an attorney now representing Jimenez’s family. By the end of the night, he was dead.
What happened that evening is still shrouded in mystery, but according to a lawsuit filed against the Los Angeles Police Department in late April, one of the responding officers placed Jimenez in handcuffs, pushed him to the ground, Tasered him and held him down with a knee to the neck. Witnesses said Jimenez was screaming in Spanish, begging officers not to take him away. Then, according to the lawsuit, he began “to vomit, turn blue, and ultimately die.”
The coroner concluded the ultimate cause of death was drugs in Jimenez’s system, not the restraint or the Taser shock. But what happened next is casting the official narrative in doubt: A witness recorded the incident on a cell phone. But the LAPD took him down to a police station, where officers took his phone and deleted the video permanently.
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