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N4T Investigators: Former FBI assistant director analyzes in-custody death video

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TUCSON (KVOA) - Carlos Adrian Lopez died in police custody over two months ago.

Tucson Police Department recently released the video from the body-worn camera carried on one of their officers at the scene on April 21.

The footage is incredibly hard to watch and has left many of our viewers asking what went wrong.

RELATED: Family of man who died while custody of TPD speaks out

The News 4 Tucson Investigators took the video to former assistant director of the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) Frank Figliuzzi for his analysis.

"Ok, please, please,” Adrian Lopez told Tucson Police officers.  "Get your stomach down,” replied the officer.

"Okay, okay, please," replied Lopez.

Frank Figliuzzi observed: “I see absolutely no signs of willful or vicious intent by these officers."

What the retired FBI assistant director did see and hear as Carlos Adrian Lopez laid naked on the floor of his grandmother's garage, " We can detect there's a struggle, there's certainly a defensiveness or combativeness from this subject toward the officers."

"No, oh...” yelled Lopez. The officer replied: "I will tase you."

The Tucson Police officers responding, Jonathan Jackson, Ryan Starbuck, and Samuel Routledge resigned two weeks ago.

RELATED:  Family attorney, friend of man who died in TPD’s custody speak out

“You can hear the officers say in police code that they've run his name that he is wanted, that there is what they call a stop and arrest on him,” said Figliiuzzi.

 "No," cried Lopez.  The handcuffs then go on and Lopez asks officers, “Oh please, can you give me some water, please man?”  The officer tells other officers: “We just need a blanket. He's on something.”

 “Oh I can't breathe,” Lopez told the officers. “Please let me have some water.”

He cried out to his grandmother in Spanish: “Nana, traeme agua, please.”

About nine minutes later, Officer Jackson tells another officer to go to the car and get some water. 

Lopez continues to ask for water.  We counted at least 20 times within an eight-minute period.

Nowhere in the police report does it say Lopez ever got his drink of water.

Then Lopez goes quiet.

"I can tell you that what I see is what appears to be an unresponsive person face down handcuffed, ultimately with no pulse for at least two minutes or more,” said Figliuzzi.

At that point, the officer says to Lopez, “Are you relaxed, tranquillo?”

Lopez was covered in blankets.

 "There's a duty of care for officers to monitor the welfare of the person they have in their custody,” said Figliuzzi. “It's very hard to monitor a medical condition, even to determine if you have an unresponsive person when his head is covered."

It wasn't until Sergeant Robert Mitchell arrived and ordered officers to turn Lopez over.

"That's when you see the sternum rub being administered to see if he's responsive to stimulus in the chest area, of which he is not,” Figliuzzi said.

An officer called for paramedics 14 minutes later from when the three officers first arrived.

He can be heard on the video saying: "Start TFD for one adult male, he's not very conscious right now."

The sergeant asks if Lopez is on drugs and has officers administer two doses of Narcan.

The handcuffs are removed and Lopez is moved from the garage to the driveway.

An officer says he's agonal.

"It's the last step before death,” said Figluizzi.

Chest compressions start and continue until paramedics arrive four minutes later.

By then it's too late.  Carlos Adrian Lopez is dead.

Figliuzzi says we should never second guess the officers on the street.  They are there we are not.  However, we do have the right to ask questions and should. 

“Whether training was complied with, and whether ultimately there could have been a much better outcome to this tragedy,” said Figliuzzi.

Carlos Adrian Lopez isn't the only one who recently died in police custody, there was another individual just weeks before him.

Tucson Police Department will have information on that and other in-custody deaths at a news conference later this week.

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Lupita Murillo

Lupita Murillo is an investigative reporter. She is part of the Digging Deeper team that uncovers important issues focusing on crime that affects the community.

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