In a case that seems hauntingly similar to the incident in Minneapolis that took the life of an African-American suspect named George Floyd and sparked weeks of racial unrest, a wrongful death lawsuit has been filed in the case of a Sacramento man, according to Insurance Journal.
The incident occurred a year before the George Floyd incident when a man named Mario Matthews was allegedly caught trespassing in the Golden 1 Center basketball arena. A security guard has been accused of restraining the 125-pound man with a knee to the back of Matthews’ neck while police officers tied his wrists and feet while he was face down on the floor. He was restrained face down for a total of 20 minutes with as many as four men on top of him. After displaying labored breathing, Matthews soon became unresponsive. He never regained consciousness and died two days later, having been removed from life support.
The security firm that has been retained by the arena claimed that Matthews entered the facility by a propped-open door at 3:30 in the morning. He was found running around the court pretending to dribble a basketball. Two of the security guards chased Matthews down a hallway and, taking hold of him, slammed him against a wall. A third security guard and three police officers were eventually involved in restraining Matthews and, according to the lawsuit, contributing to his death. The suit has been filed by Matthews’ parents.
Just as with the more famous George Floyd incident, the Mario Matthews story has raised the issue of what law enforcement officers are allowed to do to restrain suspects. Clearly, suspects such as Floyd and Matthews are not supposed to die as the result of officers’ efforts to restrain them. The lawsuit claims that the Sacramento country coroner has concluded that Matthews died as a result of the restraints. The city of Sacramento, the police officers, the security guards, and the firm that employed the guards, Universal Protection Service, are named as defendants in the lawsuit.
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