More details emerge in 'Warren Theatre death'

Details of the events leading to Luis Rodriguez’s death early Feb. 15 were revealed in a police report obtained by The Oklahoman.
by Jennifer Palmer Published: February 27, 2014

“I can’t breathe!”

Those anguished words from Luis Rodriguez can be heard near the start of cellphone video his wife made as his cheek was mashed to the pavement of the Warren Theatre parking lot.

Rodriguez had been pepper-sprayed and was being handcuffed, an effort that included five law enforcement officer, two sets of handcuffs and several minutes.

Once cuffed, the 6-foot, 225-pound man was propped up into a seated position. He was unconscious. Paramedics noticed he had stopped breathing and took him to Moore Medical Center.

He began breathing only to stop again after undergoing an X-ray at the hospital. He died a short time later.

Details of the events leading to Rodriguez’s death early Feb. 15 were revealed in a police report obtained by The Oklahoman.

The names of the officers involved also were made public. They are Sgt. Brian Clarkston, officer Ryan Minard and officer Joseph Bradley, who are employed by the Moore Police Department, and game wardens Tyler Howser and Chad Strang. The game wardens and Clarkston were working security for the theater at the time of the incident.

An Oklahoma State Bureau of Investigation inquiry into Rodriguez’s death is underway. It will rely on results of an autopsy, which is pending toxicology tests and could take several months.

The six-minute cellphone video recorded by Rodriguez’s wife, Nair, was made public Tuesday through the family’s attorney, Michael Brooks-Jimenez. The video starts with Luis Rodriguez already face-down in the parking lot. In it, viewers hear the panic in his wife’s voice because her husband isn’t moving.

Brooks-Jimenez said he was surprised by the lack of urgency shown by the officers and paramedics in giving medical attention to Rodriguez, 44. Rodriguez, an electrician and church volunteer, doesn’t appear to struggle throughout the video.

Brooks-Jimenez said he intends to file a lawsuit against the Moore Police Department and the Warren Theatre once he is able to see the autopsy results and medical records.

He also is trying to get a copy of the theater’s surveillance video, but so far, neither the theater nor police have made it available.

Continue reading this story on the...

by Jennifer Palmer
Investigative Reporter
Jennifer Palmer joined The Oklahoman staff in 2008 and, after five years on the business desk, is now digging deeper through investigative work. She's been recognized with awards in public service reporting and personal column writing. Prior to...
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Moore policy

Moore Police Department’s policy is that police can work for another employer while they are off-duty for a maximum four-hour shift on the days they work their regular assigned police duties. The secondary employment, wearing of uniforms and use of department equipment has to be approved by the police chief.

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