UPDATE: New Evidence from Private Autopsy Claims Luis Rodriguez Died of Asphyxia while in the Custody of Moore PoliceSep 16, 2014
OKLAHOMA CITY- The family of Luis Rodriguez held a press conference Tuesday revealing new evidence from a private autopsy.
Seven months after the death of Rodriguez in the Warren Movie Theatre parking lot, his family continues its ongoing search for justice with the release of a new piece of evidence, a private autopsy outlining a new cause of death.
“The findings were specifically that there was gross and microscopic examination indicating that this individual (Rodriguez) died of Asphyxia caused by restricted respiration caused by external forces,” said the Rodriguez family attorney Kenyatta Bethea.
A sharp contrast to the findings outlined in the State Medical Examiner’s report, which concluded that Rodriguez died from “cardiac arrhythmia due to physical restraint.” The family’s attorney attributes the contradiction to the Medical Examiner’s Office being influenced by Moore Police.
“A review of the file states that there were multiple calls, multiple attempts to persuade the findings,” said Bethea. “We feel like this is indicative of what exactly happened in the situation.”
The death of Rodriguez happened during an altercation captured from many angles. Cell phone video and surveillance footage gave insight to what happened that night in parking lot of the Warren Theater. While many opinions exist regarding the use of force by officers that night, the Rodriguez family believes this new piece of evidence is key to finding justice.
“He (Dr. Kyung-Whan Min, M.D.) found that upon review of the video recording of his arrest, the subject was lying face down on the ground,” said Bethea. “Several police officers were on the top of his back causing a condition known as positional Asphyxia. In such position, the subject is bound to be restricted the movement of his diaphragm for breathing.”
In June, Cleveland County District Attorney Greg Mashburn said he would not file charges on the officers calling their actions “justified and appropriate under law.” However, the family does not agree. Their attorney Kenyatta Bethea said Tuesday that the family took the new evidence to Mashburn, but he refused to act on it. So now they plan to ask for U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder to investigate the case.
“Individuals within Oklahoma have been given the opportunity,” said Bethea. “I mean we are seven months out. It’s time to get someone outside of Oklahoma involved.”
The family also plans to file civil lawsuits against the officers involved, the Moore Police Department and the Warren Movie Theater next week. And while they have not seen the private autopsy reports firsthand, Moore Police did release this statement today in regards to the new evidence.
“The Moore Police Department has just learned that the Rodriguez family claims to have new information regarding this incident. The incident was thoroughly investigated by the O.S.B.I. and the Medical Examiner. The case was then reviewed by the Cleveland County District Attorney. Any additional information should be shared with the O.S.B.I., who is the lead investigating agency.”
The Rodriguez family also announced that they would be starting the "Luis Rodriguz:Not In Vain Foundation" to honor the legacy of the 41-year-old husband, father, and grandpa.
Here is a look back at the Warren Theater Death from the start:
02-17-14: Mother and daughter talk about Warren Theater Death
02-18-14: Moore Police Chief Discusses Deadly Incident
02-20-14: Moore PD Asks OSBI to Take Over Investigation
02-25-14: Lawyer Releases Video of Rodriguez Arrest
06-20-14: Cleveland County D.A. calls use of force justified and appropriate
Stay with TheMooreDaily.com for in-depth coverage moving forward.