BERNALILLO, NEW MEXICO — Police bodycam footage of a coked-up man’s arrest is causing outrage, especially after it was revealed that the man in question died after he was cuffed, hogtied and covered in a spit sock.
It all went down on Sept. 6, 2015 at a Wal-Mart in Bernalillo, New Mexico. The Daily Beast posted the body camera footage on their website.
Before the incident, Ben Anthony C de Baca, who has a history of mental illness, was behaving erratically, reported local news station KOB4 in November.
He crashed into a parked car, went inside a Wal-Mart store and began wrecking merchandise while yelling “You are all murderers, you killed my kid!” reported the Daily Beast. Customers subdued him until the cops arrived.
Due to the store’s location, cops from three police agencies in Rio Rancho, Santa Ana and Bernalillo showed up.
Footage from an officer’s body cam shows them cuffing C de Baca in the store. He allegedly bit one of the officers in the leg during a struggle. Then they put a black spit sock over his head.
In the video, C de Baca began screaming that he couldn’t breathe and that he was dying as the officers appeared to ignore his pleas. Minutes later, the 45-year-old was dead. The cops tried their best to revive him, but to no avail.
Around 12 minutes after he died, two officers appeared to greet each other with a fist bump while standing over C de Baca dead body.
Later, the New Mexico medical examiner declared C de Baca’s death was a homicide, with the cause being, “excited delirium (cocaine intoxication) complicated by means of physical restraint,” reported KOB4.
However, Rio Rancho Police investigated the death and cleared the cops of any criminal intent.
The family is now suing the police for wrongful death. Their lawyer says the spit sock wasn’t used correctly. He told local news station KOB4 that positional asphyxia may have also contributed to his death.
This occurs when someone’s body position prevents them from breathing properly and has been known to occur during police restraint.