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Tucson police chief offers resignation after in-custody death comes to light

(City of Tucson Photo)

PHOENIX — Tucson’s police chief offered his resignation Wednesday after an in-custody death from April came to light and three officers resigned as a result.

Chief Chris Magnus said his department didn’t properly handle the April 21 death of 27-year-old Carlos Ingram-Lopez. Details of the incident weren’t known until body cam video was released earlier this week.

The investigation comes amid ongoing protests over police brutality.

“To demonstrate my willingness to take accountability for these mistakes, I am offering my resignation to the mayor, City Council and city manager,” Magnus said during a press conference.

The medical examiner’s office didn’t determine a manner of death but said Ingram-Lopez had died of sudden cardiac arrest in the setting of acute cocaine intoxication and physical restraint.

Ingram-Lopez was face down on the ground with a blanket over his head and in handcuffs when he stopped breathing. Police were at his home after his grandmother called them because he was acting erratically.

“I realize that given the times that we are in, any mistakes are viewed with great suspicion and contribute to the lack of trust in police,” Magnus said.

Mayor Regina Romero said she was surprised by Magnus’ resignation offer and needed to think about it.

Romero abruptly canceled a City Council meeting that was set for Tuesday afternoon, saying she didn’t feel it was appropriate “to carry on with business as usual in light of this event.”

Romero said she had seen the video of the death and was “anguished and deeply troubled” by it.

Magnus said the department has adopted new policies to ensure in-custody deaths are brought to the public’s attention immediately.

The chief said three police officers involved in the arrest resigned rather than be fired.

“As chief, I take responsibility for both of these serious missteps although I believe neither was any sort of malevolence or deliberate attempt to hide anything,” Magnus said.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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