Blogging Bayport Alameda

April 22, 2021

Puts on the film of him

Filed under: Alameda — Lauren Do @ 6:02 am

Tuesday evening the Police Department released a more detailed summary of the incident which led to the death of a human being in Alameda. You can read it at the link above but I’ll note that some Alamedans took great issue with the term “scuffle” being used in the press release. While better than the first press release that went out, the press release still leaves a lot of unanswered questions which, given recent events, feels untenable to a large swath of Alameda and rightly so.

Here’s the important bit for transparency hawks though:

The Alameda County Sheriff’s Office is conducting the primary criminal investigation into this incident. The Alameda County Chief of Police and Sheriffs Association has a policy that persons who die while in custody or under an officer’s control constitute a critical incident. In response to this policy, the Alameda County District Attorney’s Office was notified and sent personnel to conduct a separate, parallel investigation. 

The City will also contract with an outside investigator to conduct an administrative investigation into this incident. Three officers involved in the incident with Mr. Gonzalez have been placed on paid administrative leave, per the Department’s standard procedure in these types of cases. 

Video from the officers’ Body Worn Cameras (BWC) have been turned over to investigators from the Sheriff’s Office and District Attorney. The Alameda Police Department will coordinate releasing BWC video to the public with the investigating agencies, which must interview all involved parties prior to release. We anticipate releasing the video after interviews are completed which is anticipated to be by the end of next week. 

There was a great question on Alameda Peeps about whether police officers can review the body cam footage before being interviewed for the record. From my understanding they’re not allowed to review body camera footage and I went to search in the APD policy for more clarity around what happens with body camera footage.

All BWC files shall be securely downloaded no later than the end of each shift.Members shall place the BWC into any open slot on the Evidence Transfer Manager (ETM) docking station. This will allow the data to be transferred from the BWC through the ETM to (a highly secured web-based digital media storage facility).The data is considered impounded at this point and the BWC is cleared of existing data. The BWC should not be removed from the ETM until the data has been uploaded and the battery has been fully recharged.

Each member shall be responsible for maintaining his/her own audio recordings until the media is either full or placed into evidence/safekeeping. Audio recordings should be downloaded no later than the end of each shift, prior to the member’s departure. Should the member be unable to download the contents of his/her audio recorder prior to his/her departure, then the audio recorder should be downloaded no later than the beginning of the member’s next duty day. Nothing in this policy prevents a supervisor from ordering an employee back to work to download the contents of his/her audio recorder, should the recordings be needed for an investigation. [emphasis added]

This part is relevant to the Mario Gonzalez incident:

Supervisors should take custody of a portable audio/video recording device as soon as practicable when the device may have captured an incident involving the use of force, an officer-involved shooting or death or other serious incident, and ensure the data is downloaded (Penal Code § 832.18).

So there shouldn’t have been a lag time to collect these videos and preserve it based on the seriousness of the encounter.

I know a lot of people want to body camera footage to be released immediately, as they did in Columbus, OH but the release of the footage will need to be balanced between the public’s right to know about how its police department operates but also making sure that the investigation is airtight and that the reports taken from the officers are not influenced by what they would be able to see if the video is made public before their statements are taken by, it looks like, three separate investigation bodies.


  1. Thanks for this research and update, Lauren. There are many, many questions left unanswered and it will take a while to find out what happened to Mario Gonzalez. May he rest in peace.

    Comment by Jon Spangler — April 22, 2021 @ 8:08 am

  2. They have held the video back for long enough. This is as serious of an incident as there can possibly be and if they have not interviewed and taken statements from everyone involved by now then I don’t know what they are waiting for to release the video. At this point it just makes people start suspecting the worst of the APD and Alameda Sheriff and DA. Someone tell me why I should not think they are sharing the video with the officers, editing and redacting parts of it and using it to build a story and a defense already? How could we ever know?

    Comment by bjsvec — April 22, 2021 @ 10:30 am

    • Reading Lauren’s explanation, something clicked for me. If you release the video immediately before the officers’ statements were taken, then they could still change their narrative to fit what the video shows. By taking their official statements first, and then seeing whether it jibes with the video, makes for a more thorough investigation. I agree with the balanced approach.

      Comment by JRB — April 22, 2021 @ 10:50 am

      • Right. The video from the girl killed in Columbus was released the next day and then more of it was released later. Waiting so long tells sends all the wrong messages and where there is smoke there is fire. No one is watching the cops. We have no idea what they are doing and we are left assuming they are all coordinating to protect themselves and their interests. I just heard second hand that cops were knocking on doors yesterday in apparent attempt to “counter protest” the vigil for Mario Gonzalez last night. Despicable. If they are so professional and infallible then get in front of this, explain what happened and accept responsibility. Why are we accepting anything less?

        Comment by bjsvec — April 22, 2021 @ 11:02 am

        • “I just heard second hand”, if you just heard second hand then why not just wait to hear the “facts”, that always works for me.

          Comment by John P. — April 22, 2021 @ 12:22 pm

        • Fuck you. No one asked or cares what works for you. When your close family member is killed I’ll be sure to remember to tell you to just wait for facts. I am not on Next-door, but if you care to check for yourself-

          Comment by bjsvec — April 22, 2021 @ 12:51 pm

  3. Think about Mario’s family, too.

    Comment by Sleepy Moe — April 22, 2021 @ 1:54 pm

    • …hit Enter too soon. If the video shows something that they would prefer not be released, do you take that into consideration?

      Comment by Sleepy Moe — April 22, 2021 @ 1:56 pm

      • Great question for someone who should know about things like this. Like the police or the DA’s office, etc. Nothing but silence and I’ll bet you dollars to donuts the family has seen nothing.

        Comment by bjsvec — April 22, 2021 @ 3:04 pm

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