Humberto Martinez, 32, was choked to death by police in Pittsburg, California on July 26, 2016
Shocking bodycam footage has been released showing cops force a
Humberto Martinez, 32, was killed by police in Pittsburg, California, during the summer 2016.
His family filed a wrongful death suit in July 2017 after the local district attorney’s office declined to prosecute any of the officers involved in Martinez’s homicide.
A federal judge has now ruled that Pittsburg officers may have violated the Fourth Amendment and the case will go to trial.
U.S. District Judge Richard Seeborg was to determine whether legal claims should be allowed to proceed by interpreting the facts in a way that’s most favorable to the plaintiff, or the person suing.
Seeborg determined last month that a jury should review the merits of the case.
‘A reasonable jury could conclude that, although he resisted arrest, Martinez did not deliberately strike the arresting officers, yet the officers delivered strikes that broke 16 ribs and deployed a prohibited choke hold that crushed the cartilage in his neck resulting in his death,’ Judge Seeborg wrote in his March 8 ruling.
‘Accepting these facts as true, and taking into account the relatively minor underlying offense, no reasonable officer would believe this use of force complied with the Fourth Amendment.’
Lawyers for the police department requested a summary judgment on the suit in response.
Officer Ernesto Mejia wrapped his arm around Martinez’s neck, performing what’s referred to as a ‘carotid chokehold’
The officers performed CPR on Martinez until an emergency medical crew arrived
Martinez’s family contends Pittsburg Officer Ernesto Mejia (pictured left)used the chokehold and Officer Gabriel Palma (pictured right) was among the officers restraining Martinez
Police had pulled Martinez over for expired license plate tags and suspected drug trafficking in the 4000 block of Hillview Drive around 2pm on July 26, 2016.
Martinez fled on foot and crawled under the partially-open garage door of someone’s home. Multiple officers chased after Martinez before trying to arrest him. One officer said Martinez tried to bite him during the arrest.
The footage shows officers wrestling Martinez to the ground before punching and kicking him, breaking 16 of his ribs in the process.
Officer Willie Glasper (pictured left) and Officer Jonathan Elmore (pictured right) are among the officers named in the federal lawsuit
Officer Patrick Berhan (left) and officer Jason Waite (right) are named in the federal lawsuit
An officer tried and failed to taser Martinez, who had methamphetamine in his blood stream
Officers had pulled Martinez over for expired license plate tags and suspected drug trafficking in the 4000 block of Hillview Drive around 2pm on July 26, 2016
Martinez fled on foot and crawled under the partially-open garage door of someone’s home
The officers also tried and failed to taser Martinez, who had methamphetamine in his blood stream, according to the county medical examiner.
Officer Ernesto Mejia later wrapped his arm around Martinez’s neck, performing what’s referred to as a ‘carotid chokehold,’ the same banned maneuver that killed Eric Garner in New York City in July 2014.
Martinez cried out as he struggled to breathe. Another officer was simultaneously seen sitting on Martinez’s torso before Martinez lost consciousness.
‘Get off! Get off!’ an officer is heard shouting after Martinez passed out.
The federal lawsuit names officers Mejia, Jason Waite, Willie Glasper, Gabriel Palma, Jonathan Elmore and Patrick Berhan as defendants, according to
The emergency responders revived Martinez momentarily after his heart reportedly stopped, but he was pronounced dead at a local hospital later the same day
The officers performed CPR on Martinez until an emergency medical crew arrived.
They tried reviving him momentarily after his heart reportedly stopped, but he was pronounced dead at a local hospital later the same day.
The local medical examiner later determined Martinez died as a result of the officer’s chokehold, but Contra Costa County Deputy District Attorney Barry Grove declined to prosecute any of the officers involved in the case, determining that their use of force was ‘lawful’ and ‘non-deadly’.
‘Even lawful uses of non-deadly force can result in unintended consequences,’ Grove wrote in a report obtained by the East Bay Media Group.
‘Although the result was tragic and unfortunate, it is our opinion, like that of the Inquest Jury, that Mr. Martinez died accidentally from the lawful use of non-deadly force.’
Judge Seeborg determined in his ruling that the facts of the case merit a jury review.
‘The officers are not entitled to qualified immunity at the summary judgement stage,’ he said.
On Thursday, Judge Seeborg ruled that attorneys working for Pittsburg Police may appeal his ruling. A trial date for the lawsuit has not been set.