Oklahoma father dies in police encounter after mother slaps daughter

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By Ben Brumfield and Melanie Whitley

(CNN) — It was supposed to be a fun family outing to the movies, but then Nair Rodriguez’ 19-year-old daughter got under her skin. They fought, she said, and she slapped her daughter.

Moments later, police arrived on a domestic dispute call at the Moore, Oklahoma, theater and confronted — not Nair Rodriguez — but her husband Luis. They took him down, and after the encounter on February 15, he was dead.

Cell phone video taken by his wife and released this week shows the final minutes of the takedown.

Nair Rodriguez accuses officers of brutality. Police say they were following protocol and used no undue force.

Argument, upset

The mother-daughter spat upset the mother so badly that she bolted for the family car. Her husband Luis followed her to calm her down, family attorney Michael Brooks-Jimenez told reporters.

That’s when a group of police and theater security officers turned up, he said.

What happened next is disputed.

His wife has said officers beat Luis Rodriguez, CNN affiliate KFOR reported. But Moore Police Chief Jerry Stillings calls the actions of his officers “reasonable.”

He would not go in to much detail and said an investigation is underway. But he mentioned that police used pepper spray, CNN affiliate KOCO reported.

Luis Rodriguez ended up on the ground with five men pinning him down, and wife Nair pulled out a cell phone.

Her fearful cries fill the recording.

“Luis! Luis!” she calls out frantically. Her husband does not respond, does not appear to move.

She calls to the officers to assure her that he is alright.

“Please somebody tell me that he is alive,” she implores. “He is not moving.”

The officers appear calm. One tells her that he will talk to her, once they are finished securing her husband.

Then one walks over to the camera. He tells her that police have called in a medical unit to check on her husband.

It wasn’t him

The officer says police received a call about domestic violence before confronting her husband.

It wasn’t him, Nair Rodriguez tells him. “I hit my daughter,” she says. She wants to know why they have pinned down her husband.

“He refused to give his ID,” the officer said. “He got combative.”

She notices blood on the officer. “Is he bleeding?” She demands to know.

“I’m bleeding; that’s me,” the officer says.

An ambulance can be seen in the background, and Luis Rodriguez is lifted onto a stretcher.

The video ends shortly afterward.

Cause of death

An autopsy may reveal more about why Luis Rodriguez died, and surveillance camera footage of the encounter in the movie theater parking lot may reveal what happened before his wife pulled out her cell phone camera.

What police describe as normal procedure, lawyer Brooks-Jimenez describes it as something brutal and possibly deadly.

Pepper spray to the face and the weight of five men on top of him.

CNN has reached out to Brooks-Jimenez for further comment and has placed calls to the Oklahoma Bureau of Investigation.

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  • Gary

    I fully understand police have a dangerous job but I also believe these Rambo cop tatics are causing way too many serious injuries and deaths. After pepper spraying his face it still takes 5 on top him to subdue. Perhaps it’s time for a lot of better and extensive training before being put in the field. Situation here definitely calls for complete in-depth investigation.

    • Debbie


  • Trish Ramirez

    Yet another in the long string of examples of the police state we’re living in. These cops will get off with no punishment. It happens all the time. But even associate with someone who kills a cop and you’re spending the rest of your life in prison. It’s America’s version of the Caste system – the politicians, law enforcement and rich people and then everyone else.

  • JR

    Some cops are a piece of shit power hungry. He didn’t need to show his ID to the cop, what law he he broke for him to show an ID. I would research 4th amendment search and seizure.

  • Andrew

    Tragic. I really want to see the surveillance footage and make sure the dad was not like throwing punches or something… I do have teenaged daughters. Mom needed to take the drama home prior to the slap.Of course some nosy bystander calls the cops. I don’t know why they would mace someone, unless he was throwing punches.

  • Samantha

    Only the mom the 5 cops an the video knows the truth.But sadly the one held responsible won’t be. But who is it?, the dad? the cops? the daughter or is it the mother? In the end it’s Gods judgement that counts.

  • Georgia Vallejos

    I know enough police officers to know that they don’t attack people without cause, like a pack of dogs. Are you trying to say that 5 cops were there, and every one of them were “Rambo” cops? Not one normal, level-headed cop in the bunch? This guy must have done something and until we find out what, we can’t really make a judgment.

  • Gary

    I know numerous officers myself and most all of them are great and the good ones will be the first to tell you about their Rambo counterparts, they don’t like them either. If there was one out of the 5 that wasn’t involved why didn’t he do something to stop it. Hopefully there’s a video that will show the truth.

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