Pittsburg Police Release Body Camera Video Showing Officer Applying Fatal Neck Hold

PITTSBURG — A Bay Point man who died in police custody was put in a neck hold for at least 50 seconds after he ran from officers, according to body camera videos released last week.

The footage, released to this newspaper in response to a records request, shows officers chasing Humberto Martinez, 32, into a Pittsburg home, struggling to handcuff him, employing a neck hold as Martinez screams, then administering CPR and other medical assistance after they realize he’d stopped breathing.

Martinez’s July 2016 death has become the subject of a federal civil lawsuit, filed by his family, against the city of Pittsburg and several officers. The Martinez family’s attorney called the footage “sickening” and likened it to the high-profile death of Eric Garner, who died after NYPD employed a controversial chokehold on him.

By contrast, Pittsburg police released a two-page statement saying the footage corroborated officers’ accounts that Martinez violently resisted arrest and that his death was a tragic accident. They also released a report from Contra Costa deputy district attorney Barry Groves — who investigates matters involving police — that says officers used “lawful, non-deadly” force in attempting to detain Martinez.

Martinez died on July 26, 2016, after officers attempted to pull him over for an expired tag, following him in a circle until he stopped and ran into a garage on the 4200 block of Hillview Drive. Police say they were in the area to investigate “suspicious narcotics activity.”

The footage shows multiple angles of officers chasing Martinez into the home, and attempting to handcuff him in the kitchen while he is on the floor. They’re heard yelling commands to stop resisting, and at one point an officer yells, “He’s still trying to (expletive) bite me.”

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Filming Cops
Filming Cops 3206 posts

Filming Cops was started in 2010 as a conglomerative blogging service documenting police abuse. The aim isn’t to demonize the natural concept of security provision as such, but to highlight specific cases of State-monopolized police brutality that are otherwise ignored by traditional media outlets.

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  • Where did they get those Thug sunglasses? And, if they didn’t want him to die, why did they apply an illegal choke-hold.

    • purple_persuader

      Why did they kill him for an expired tag? Seriuously, it;s an expired tag and somehow it escalates to this level of violence?

    • Bohemian Kyle

      stop applying civilian logic to law enforcement. it’s only illegal (prosecuted) when non-cops do it!

  • Reuben James Hunt

    What part of a hold designed to choke and apply pressure to the artery and trachea is non lethal????