Newly Released Police Bodycam Video Shows California Man Crying Out ‘I Can’t Breathe’ Before Dying During Arrest
Warning: the above video contains disturbing material.
Newly released police bodycam footage from 2017 shows the last moments of Joseph Perez, a 41-year-old California man, who died after police and paramedics used a plastic backboard to restrain him.
CNN Newsroom anchor Pamela Brown introduced the video clip, which she described as “very disturbing,” by noting its similarities with the shocking video that showed the death of George Floyd, who died after Minneapolis Police Department Officer Derek Chauvin knelt on his neck while arresting him. Jury selection in Chauvin’s trial is set to begin next week.
Fresno police officers saw Perez “acting erratically,” said Brown, and “handcuffed him for his own safety once he became uncooperative.” Perez was also reportedly grinding his forehead into the sidewalk.
“Paramedics arrived and that’s when a blue plastic back board is placed on Perez’s back while an officer is instructed to sit on it as they secure him,” said Brown. “You’ll hear him crying out ‘I can’t breathe,’ as authorities restrain him facedown on the ground.”
In the video, a police officer can be heard saying, “Stop, Joseph, knock it off,” as Perez cries, “Please help me.” The officer asks him if he can breathe, and he says “yes” at that point, but a little while later when the paramedics arrive and place the backboard on Perez, he can be heard saying “I can’t breathe.”
An officer sits down on the board at the paramedic’s instruction as the others work to restrain his arms and legs with straps. Perez cries out a few more times and then is silent.
“Joseph, just relax. Okay? Come on, buddy,” the officer says. “Joseph, you okay? Joseph, you all right? You all right, dude? Joseph?”
Perez did not answer.
“According to the Fresno police chief, Perez went into medical distress during the process and lifesaving efforts in the ambulance failed,” said Brown after the video clip. “The county coroner ruled his death a homicide, saying a high level of methamphetamine was also a contributing factor. Perez’s family filed a civil suit against the Fresno authorities who responded to the scene.”
Watch the video above, via CNN.
Have a tip we should know? [email protected]