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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.

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