Los Angeles: In response to several media requests for information, the Department is issuing the following:
On January 17, 2004 at approximately 4:50 p.m., Northeast Area patrol officers responded to a radio call at 21 00 North Vermont Avenue. Upon arrival the officers could hear numerous car horns honking and noticed residents yelling and pointing to the northwest comer of Riverside Drive and Fletcher Drive. A person came up to the officers and told them there was a male Hispanic, later identified as Jose Rodriguez, thirty-five years of age, taking off his clothes and jumping on vehicles. He was trying to get into people’s cars as he was walking in and out of moving traffic.
The officer’s saw Rodriguez trying to enter a moving vehicle, and in an attempt to protect the public and Rodriguez, they ordered him to put his hands behind his head, to which he complied. As the officers tried to handcuff him he began to struggle violently.. Using their body weight, the officers forced him to the ground, and were able to handcuff him.
As the officers were attempting to put Rodriguez in the vehicle, he resisted, and began spitting at and trying to kick one of the officers. The officers used the Department approved Hobble restraint tool and were able to get him in the vehicle. Inside the vehicle Rodriguez began to bang his head on the windows and plexi-glass partition that separates the front and back seats of the police vehicle. Rodriguez did not respond to numerous requests by the officers to calm down and by the time they and arrived at Northeast Police Station, he had sustained a cut to his head.
Los Angeles Fire Department Paramedics responded to the station to treat him but he resisted and refused treatment. Once out of the police car he continued to struggle and was able to free one foot from the Hobble restraint. As he kicked and tried to get up, the officers again had to use bodily force to restrain him. Rodriguez suddenly stopped fighting and fell into unconsciousness. He was then rushed to a local hospital for treatment. Doctors treated and then admitted him, after tests revealed he had ingested marijuana and cocaine, and Rodriguez died the following day.
The Department immediately began a Categorical Use of Force investigation. This news release was prepared by Media Relations Section, 213-485-3586.