Family of man who died in Anaheim police custody files 2nd lawsuit

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Newly released bodycam footage shown at a news conference in Anaheim shed light on the death of a man who was tased by police last year. (KABC)

Newly released bodycam footage shown at a news conference in Anaheim shed light on the death of a man who was tased by police last year.

The video shows Anaheim police struggling with 32-year-old Vincent Valenzuela Jr. in July 2016. Attorneys for his family, who filed a second lawsuit against the department, said the officers clearly show excessive force.

"What's obvious is that these officers were using excessive force on a young man who was doing nothing other than trying to stay alive," Garo Mardirossian said.

Police responded to a laundromat after getting a call of a suspicious man. A few minutes later, the video shows one officer putting Valenzuela into a choke hold.

Mardirossian said the "carotid artery hold" is a "lethal hold" and that is deadly force. Valenzuela died a short time later.

At a news conference Thursday, his former wife said it has traumatized their two children.

"It's very hard for them. They don't understand why. There's no reason why dad is not here. They have their episodes every now and then, and it's very hard because as a mother there's nothing I can do," Patricia Gonzalez said.

On Wednesday, the Orange County District Attorney's Office showed some of the video and explained why prosecutors declined to press charges against the officers.

The city of Anaheim issued a statement Thursday.

"This was a complex situation in response to a 911 call for help from a mother and daughter concerned for their safety. Our officers had a duty to respond, and, in a drawn-out interaction, used considerable restraint and proportionate force at each stage."

The family said they've come forward so the public can see what they're going through and they want the officers to be held accountable.

Related Topics:
lawsuitanaheim police departmentdeath in custodyarrestbody camerasAnaheimOrange County
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