Video released of man outside Okla. movie theater

Feb 26, 2014, 5:42 PM

OKLAHOMA CITY (AP) – The family of a man who died after an altercation with police outside of an Oklahoma movie theater has released a cellphone video of the incident.

The video shows 44-year-old Luis Rodriguez face down on the ground outside a Moore theater with five police officers restraining him. One officer is seen holding Rodriguez’s head down.

Police say Rodriguez became uncooperative when officers questioned him about a possible domestic disturbance.

Autopsy results are pending.

Moore police spokesman Jeremy Lewis said Tuesday afternoon that Rodriguez died at the hospital.

Rodriguez’s wife, Nair Rodriguez, has told local media that police beat her husband and that he died outside the theater.

Police say three officers involved in the incident are on administrative leave. The Oklahoma State Bureau of Investigation is investigating.

THIS IS A BREAKING NEWS UPDATE. Check back soon for further information. AP’s earlier story is below.

The family of a man who died after a struggle with police outside an Oklahoma movie theater released a cellphone video Tuesday, which shows five officers restraining the man face down on the ground, with one officer holding his head down.

Minutes later, Nair Rodriguez, who shot the nearly 6-minute video of her husband, Luis Rodriguez, outside a Moore theater earlier this month, starts to scream as he’s placed on a stretcher.

“Papa! Is he OK? He doesn’t move. He doesn’t move! You kill him! You kill him! You killed my husband! Please somebody tell me that he’s alive!” she screams. A police officer assures Nair Rodriguez that her husband is alive and that medical personnel will take care of him.

Early on Feb. 15, police responded to a report of a domestic disturbance and tried to question Luis Rodriguez, Moore Police Chief Jerry Stillings said at a news conference last week. Rodriguez was pepper-sprayed before officers used two pairs of handcuffs to restrain him as he was face down on the ground, Stillings said.

Nair Rodriguez has told media outlets that police beat her husband, but there are no signs of punching or kicking in the video, and Stillings has said there are no indications that batons or other weapons were used.

The Rodriguez family held a news conference Tuesday to release the video. Nair Rodriguez thanked the media for covering the case, but did not take questions.

The video starts with five officers _ two on-duty and three off-duty who were moonlighting as security at the movie theater_ trying to restrain Rodriguez. Once they have him in handcuffs, a police officer comes over and starts talking to Nair Rodriguez about the incident. She acknowledges she hit her 19-year-old daughter, and the officer explains that Luis Rodriguez became uncooperative and refused to give his ID.

“Is he bleeding?” Nair Rodriguez asks the officer.

“I’m bleeding. That’s me,” the officer says.

The video then shows Luis Rodriguez propped up in a seated position against the legs of an officer before he is placed on a stretcher.

It’s unclear when Luis Rodriguez died. Stillings refused to answer a question last week that asked if Rodriguez was breathing when he was handcuffed. But Rodriguez’s back appears to be moving up and down in the cellphone video as he lies on his stomach.

A spokeswoman for the Oklahoma State Medical Examiner’s Office said autopsy reports are pending a toxicology report, which could take up to two months.

Police said three officers involved in the incident are on administrative leave. Their names have not been released. Two of the off-duty officers work at the Oklahoma Department of Wildlife Conservation, and they have not been placed on leave, according to agency spokesman Micah Holmes.

Before the Oklahoma State Bureau of Investigation took over the investigation on Thursday, Stillings said police had viewed the cellphone video and made a copy. He said last week that he didn’t see anything inappropriate in it. OSBI spokeswoman Jessica Brown said she could not comment on the investigation.

Rodriguez family attorney Michael Brooks-Jimenez said Tuesday that Luis Rodriguez was known in his family and his church as a peacemaker.

“Luis committed no crime. He wasn’t armed. No gun. No knife. No weapon of any kind. But Luis was the one who lost his life that night,” Brooks-Jimenez said as he stood next to Nair Rodriguez and other family members.

___

Follow Kristi Eaton on Twitter at
http://twitter.com/kristieaton.

(Copyright 2014 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.)

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Video released of man outside Okla. movie theater