Alameda Police Officers Charged with Involuntary Manslaughter in Mario Gonzalez Case

Alameda, California – Three Alameda police officers are facing involuntary manslaughter charges nearly three years after the death of 26-year-old Mario Gonzalez while in custody. The Alameda County District Attorney’s Office made the announcement on Thursday, revealing that officers Eric McKinley, James Fisher, and Cameron Leahy are the subjects of the charges.

The decision to file charges comes after the District Attorney Pamela Price reopened Gonzalez’s case earlier this year. Price reversed the previous decision made by Nancy O’Malley, who had cleared the officers of any criminal wrongdoing. Price mentioned that the officers’ actions were deemed reasonable based on department policies and circumstances.

In response to the new developments, the family of Mario Gonzalez has demanded that the officers involved in his death face more severe charges. The incident in question occurred in a public park on April 19, 2021, when police responded to a call regarding a disorderly person. Body camera footage showed officers pinning Gonzalez to the ground for over six minutes.

Initial reports from the Alameda County Coroner attributed Gonzalez’s death to the effects of methamphetamine, among other factors. However, a second autopsy later concluded that Gonzalez died from asphyxiation. The tragic incident has prompted calls for police reform in Alameda, with the city agreeing to pay Gonzalez’s son $11 million to settle a wrongful death lawsuit.

As the case progresses, one of the involved officers is no longer employed by the city, while the other two are on administrative leave. If convicted, the officers face up to four years in state prison and are expected to appear in court in May. Cat Brooks, the executive director of the Anti Police-Terror Project, expressed doubts about the possibility of justice being served, noting the challenges of convicting law enforcement officers in such cases.

Overall, the involuntary manslaughter charges against the Alameda police officers have reignited discussions about police accountability and the need for reforms in how law enforcement interacts with the community. The outcome of the case remains uncertain, with many closely watching to see how the justice system will handle this tragic incident.