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What Happened To Earl McNeil?

Photo caption: Dark screen, no image.

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There are large holes in the timeline of what happened to Earl McNeil, a man who was hospitalized after being arrested by National City police on May 26. He died a few weeks later. Despite demands from McNeil's family, protesters and the media for police body camera footage and 911 tapes, law enforcement has released very little information.

Here is what we do know about the events that unfolded the morning of May 26 and in the weeks following McNeil's arrest.

UPDATE Sept. 26, 2018: Four months later, the San Diego District Attorney's office released surveillance footage, policy body camera video and 911 calls, as well as McNeil's autopsy. This timeline has been updated to include the new information.

WARNING: Some of the videos in this timeline contain profanities and may be disturbing.

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Photo caption: The National City Police Department on National City Boulevard, August 7, 2018.

Photo by Claire Trageser

The National City Police Department on National City Boulevard, August 7, 2018.

Saturday, May 26, 2018, 5:27 a.m.

Earl McNeil used the telephone in front of the National City Police Department to contact dispatchers.

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Photo caption: The telephone outside the National City Police Department, August 7, 2018.

Photo by Claire Trageser

The telephone outside the National City Police Department, August 7, 2018.

"McNeil told the dispatcher that he had a warrant, was high and wanted to kill Jesus," according to a police statement.

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Photo caption: The telephone outside the National City Police Department, August 7, 2018.

Photo by Claire Trageser

The telephone outside the National City Police Department, August 7, 2018.

McNeil then hung up the phone.

KPBS has requested the recording of that call and any surveillance footage from in front of the police station, but has not yet been provided the information.

UPDATE: On Sept. 21, the San Diego District Attorney's office released the 911 call and surveillance footage.

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5:32 a.m.

Officers met with McNeil in front of the station.

UPDATE: In a press conference on Sept. 21, the DA said officers first met with McNeil at 5:32 a.m.

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Photo caption: Press release on Mr. McNeil update (June 13,2018).

Photo by KPBS Staff

Press release on Mr. McNeil update (June 13,2018).

According to a police statement: "McNeil was agitated, made irrational statements, and acted paranoid."

KPBS has requested the body camera footage of police officers' interactions with McNeil, but has not yet been provided the information.

UPDATE: Four months later, the DA released the body camera footage.

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5:47 a.m.

McNeil was arrested "for suspicion of being under the influence of a controlled substance," according to a police statement.

UPDATE: On Sept. 21, the DA said officers arrested McNeil at 5:47 a.m. and placed him in a police SUV.

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Photo caption: Press release on Mr. McNeil update (June 13,2018).

Photo by KPBS Staff

Press release on Mr. McNeil update (June 13,2018).

While arresting him, police officers put McNeil in a WRAP device that kept his arms and legs from moving.

McNeil had drugs on him, according to a police statement, so he was arrested for possession of a controlled substance, as well as resisting officers and violating parole.

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Photo caption: Dark screen, no image.

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KPBS has requested the body camera footage of police officers' interactions with McNeil, but has not yet been provided the information.

UPDATE: On Sept. 21, the DA released the body camera footage.

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Photo caption: Map of travel from National City Police Department to San Diego County jail.

Photo by KPBS Staff

Map of travel from National City Police Department to San Diego County jail.

7:04 a.m.

McNeil was transported to the San Diego Central Jail for processing. During the transport, McNeil was intentionally hurting himself, according to a police statement.

UPDATE: On Sept. 21, the DA said McNeil was transported at 7:04 a.m.

KPBS has requested the footage of McNeil when he arrived for booking, but has not yet been provided the information.

UPDATE: On Sept. 21, the DA released the surveillance footage from the jail.

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Photo caption: Email from Sheriffs spokeswoman, Karen Stubkjaer, regarding Earl McNeil booki...

Photo by KPBS Staff

Email from Sheriffs spokeswoman, Karen Stubkjaer, regarding Earl McNeil booking. Dated Tuesday, July 31, 2018.

7:13 a.m.

McNeil's paperwork was presented and his computer work was started to begin the booking process, according to a Sheriff's spokeswoman. He was rejected from booking "for a variety of reasons" and "remained in the custody of the National City Police Department," she said. She would not provide further details on why he was rejected.

UPDATE: Four months later, the DA said during this evaluation, McNeil had a body temperature of 100 degrees and a elevated pulse of 120 beats per minute. A normal resting heart rate for adults ranges from 60 to 100 beats per minute.

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Photo caption: Press release on Mr. McNeil update (June 13,2018).

Photo by KPBS Staff

Press release on Mr. McNeil update (June 13,2018).

7:26 a.m.

During the booking process, McNeil began to display signs of medical distress, according to a police statement.

UPDATE: On Sept. 21, the DA said after the jail nurse evaluated McNeil, paramedics were called.

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Photo caption: Dark screen, no image.

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7:28 a.m.

National City Police officers called for paramedics.

UPDATE: On Sept. 21, the DA said paramedics were called at 7:28 a.m.

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Photo caption: Press release for Earl McNeil update. Dated June 13, 2018.

Press release for Earl McNeil update. Dated June 13, 2018.

"McNeil was conscious and continued to interact with staff when paramedics arrived," according to a police statement.

UPDATE: On Sept. 21, the DA said McNeil was spitting and thrashing while waiting for the ambulance. District Attorney Summer Stephan said before the ambulance arrived, McNeil stopped struggling.

KPBS has requested the footage of McNeil during the booking process, but has not yet been provided the information.

UPDATE: On Sept. 21, the DA released the surveillance footage.

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7:42 a.m.

"A short time later, while paramedics were attending to McNeil he stopped breathing," according to a police statement.

UPDATE: On Sept. 21, the DA said McNeil was loaded into the ambulance, but then moved out of it when he stopped breathing at 7:42 a.m.

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Photo caption: Map of travel from San Diego County Jail to UCSD Medical Center.

Photo by KPBS Staff

Map of travel from San Diego County Jail to UCSD Medical Center.

Paramedics resuscitated McNeil and brought him to the UCSD Medical Center in Hillcrest.

UPDATE: On Sept. 21, the DA said the ambulance left for the hospital at 7:53 a.m.

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Photo caption: Earl McNeil Facebook press release by Tasha Williamson.

Photo by KPBS Staff

Earl McNeil Facebook press release by Tasha Williamson.

Thursday, June 7, 2018

At the request of UCSD doctors, McNeil was taken off life support, according to the family's spokeswoman Tasha Williamson.

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Photo caption: Earl McNeil Facebook media press release.

Photo credit: McNeil Family via Tasha Williamson / Facebook

Earl McNeil Facebook media press release.

Photos the family took of McNeil in the hospital show bruises on his face and head.

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Monday, June 11, 2018

McNeil died.

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Photo caption: A man shouts "Who killed Earl McNeil?" at the National City Police Chief duri...

Photo by Kris Arciaga

A man shouts "Who killed Earl McNeil?" at the National City Police Chief during a City Council meeting, July 17, 2018.

Tuesday, July 17, 2018

Protesters disrupted a City Council meeting in National City, demanding the resignation of National City Police Chief Manuel Rodriguez, the release of police body camera footage, McNeil's autopsy and a federal investigation into his death.

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Earl McNeil Protest

Tuesday, July 24, 2018

Protesters again disrupted a City Council meeting, this time with a "die-in" protest. Six people were arrested for disrupting a public assembly.

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Photo caption: Outside National City council meeting, law enforcement in riot gear met prote...

Photo by Matthew Bowler

Outside National City council meeting, law enforcement in riot gear met protesters. July 24, 2018.

The City Council chambers were cleared. Outside City Hall, law enforcement gathered wearing riot gear.

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September 21, 2018

UPDATE: Four months after McNeil's arrest, the San Diego County Medical Examiner's office released his autopsy. It ruled his death as a homicide.

The same day, District Attorney Summer Stephan said she would not hold National City police officers or San Diego County Sheriff's deputies liable for McNeil's death.

Listen to or watch reporter Claire Trageser explain the Earl McNeil investigtion.

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Reporter: Claire Trageser
Video & Photography: Claire Trageser, Matt Bowler, Kris Arciaga
Editor: Sarah Moriarty
Web Producer: Chris Underwood
UX Designer: Susana Tsutsumi
Additional reporting contributed by Jade Hindmon

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