Skip to main content

LATEST UPDATES: Tracking COVID-19 | Vaccines | Racial Justice

Protesters Call For Resignation Of National City Police Chief In Connection To Death Of Earl McNeil

Man shouts

Photo by Kris Arciaga

Above: Man shouts "Who killed Earl McNeil?!" at National City Police Chief during city council meeting on July 17, 2018.

Protestors Call For Resignation Of National City Police Chief In Connection To Death Of Earl McNeil

GUEST:

Jade Hindmon, reporter, KPBS News

Transcript

Police ordered protesters to leave a National City council meeting Tuesday night after the group continued to disrupt the meeting.

The protesters are demanding the resignation of National City Police Chief Manuel Rodriguez, the release of police body-cam footage of the encounter between police officers and Earl McNeil, the release of the medical examiner's report and a federal investigation into McNeil's death.

McNeil, who was African-American, died after he stopped breathing while in the custody of National City Police Department on May 26. Police said he was resuscitated.

Tasha Williamson, the spokeswoman for the McNeil family, said they met with Rodriguez on June 18.

"They were crying, they were upset visibly, he smirked and he smiled the entire time, just like he was here. He told them his officers did nothing wrong. We said 'if that's the case release the tapes,'" Williamson said.

Rodriguez said the department doesn't release body-cam footage in ongoing investigations.

"This is not an officer-involved shooting. There isn’t a particular moment in this incident that is going to show anything. Earl McNeil died as a result of a medical issue, I don’t know what that is, that’s why we are waiting on the medical examiner," he said during a break in the meeting.

RELATED: Federal Investigators Looking Into Death Of South Bay Man

Three protesters were arrested during a sit-in following the council meeting, according to reporting from The San Diego Union-Tribune.

This is the third time protesters have disrupted a council meeting since McNeil’s death on June 11.

A statement from the National City Police Department said they arrested McNeil May 26 on suspicion of being under the influence of a controlled substance and that during the arrest "McNeil became combative" and officers restrained him.

While in custody McNeil stopped breathing. Paramedics were able to resuscitate him and he was taken to the hospital. He remained in a coma at the hospital until he was taken off life support.

The protesters are demanding the resignation of National City Police Chief Manuel Rodriguez, the release of police body-cam footage of the encounter between police officers and Earl McNeil, the release of the medical examiner's report and a federal investigation into McNeil's death.

UPDATE: This story was changed on July 19 to clarify details of Earl McNeil's death.

FEATURED PODCAST

San Diego News Now podcast branding

San Diego news; when you want it, where you want it. Get local stories on politics, education, health, environment, the border and more. New episodes are ready weekday mornings. Hosted by Anica Colbert and produced by KPBS, San Diego and the Imperial County's NPR and PBS station.

  • Need help keeping up with the news that matters most? Get the day's top news — ranging from local to international — straight to your inbox each weekday morning.

This site is protected by reCAPTCHA and the Google Privacy Policy and Terms of Service apply.

Midday Edition banner

KPBS Midday Edition is a daily radio news magazine keeping San Diego in the know on everything from politics to the arts.

Want more KPBS news?
Find us on Twitter and Facebook, or sign up for our newsletters.

To view PDF documents, Download Acrobat Reader.