On April 19th, the day before the cop who murdered George Floyd was convicted, police officers in Alameda murdered Mario Gonzalez – pinning him facedown with their knee on his back even as he cried out for them to stop. Immediately after he died, the Alameda Police Department issued a statement lying about what happened, claiming that there had been a “scuffle” between Mario Gonzalez and the police officers and that he had died from a medical emergency. But body camera footage released this past Tuesday showed what really happened. There was no “scuffle” – the police pinned Gonzalez to the ground even though he wasn’t being violent or harassing anyone and the “medical emergency” narrative conveniently left out the fact that the police had their knees on his back, preventing him from breathing.
And why were the police even called in the first place? Gonzalez was in a public space with alcohol. That was it. Someone reported a man in a public space drinking alcohol and the police handcuffed him and pinned him to the ground.
Mario Gonzalez’s family and people in Alameda have been fighting and protesting for the truth. They managed to force the APD to release the body camera footage from the murder to the public – even as the APD tried to cover it up – and they’re demanding charges be filed against the officers who stopped Gonzalez. But just like in the case of George Floyd, Breonna Taylor, Ma’Khia Bryant, Adam Toledo, and the countless others who have lost their lives to racism and police violence, we can’t stop with prosecuting or punishing individual police officers. Policing is built to maintain this racist, exploitative, and violent status quo with brutal force – is it any wonder then, why we have seen so many police murders?