Louisiana police officers will not be indicted after holding a man down and refusing to release him even after being told, “I can’t breathe.” A grand jury in Louisiana declared that no charges will be imposed.
Thirty-year-old Robert Minjarez Jr succumbed to death five days after being arrested by Carencro and Scott police as well as Lafayette Parish sheriff’s deputies in March last year.
The coroner’s report says the main cause of Robert’s death was “compressional asphyxia due to face-down physical restraint by law enforcement officers.”
The report also says several police officials were on top of Robert with his hands and legs tied down, resulting into breathlessness.
Dashcam audio report claimed that Robert was heard shouting for five minutes, before he died.
“Help! Help! Help me! Get off! You’re going to kill me!”
The report quoted him saying, “You’re going to suffocate…” and “I can’t breathe.” His voice also became “increasingly muffled, hoarse and strained,” but he still shouted “I can’t breathe.”
Officers were overheard saying, “You got 265 pounds on your back, you’re not going anywhere.”
The grand jury met for the decision on Wednesday. The officers involved in Robert’s death were not named.
The death of an unarmed black man in custody of police in New York City on July 17, 2014 gave rise to nationwide protest.
“I can’t breathe” became a slogan for protestors who stormed the streets in wake of the death of accused Eric Garner. A videotape was released showing Garner suffering from asthma and crying “I can’t breathe,” while Officer Daniel Pantaleo, who wore plain clothes, pinned him to the ground, strangling him.
Soon after Garner’s death, a grand jury decided not to charge Pantaleo.