Oklahoma father dies in police encounter after mother slaps daughter
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.
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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