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Police action led to man's heart arrhythmia in theater scuffle, Oklahoma medical examiner says

Luis Rodriguez, of Norman, died from a cardiac arrhythmia brought on by physical restraint after he was handcuffed and detained by Moore police outside the Warren Theatre in February.
by Jennifer Palmer Modified: April 2, 2014 at 9:49 pm •  Published: April 2, 2014

“From our understanding, prior health conditions coupled with the struggle with officers led to the death of Mr. Rodriguez,” the statement reads. “The medical examiner’s report indicates minimal physical trauma to Mr. Rodriguez, which commonly occurs when an individual physically resists.”

An attorney representing the Rodriguez family championed the medical examiner’s ruling.

“We were confident all along that this was a homicide. Today, the Oklahoma medical examiner’s office has confirmed this. We are in the process of reviewing the report. We ask that you please respect the family and allow them the opportunity to accept this news in peace,” Michael Brooks-Jimenez said in a written statement.

Police approached Rodriguez and his family outside the theater after a patron reported a domestic assault. Nair Rodriguez, his wife, said she slapped her 19-year-old daughter during an argument.

When officers asked Luis Rodriguez for identification, he refused and took “an aggressive stance,” police said. That’s when the officers attempted to handcuff and detain him.

Luis Rodriguez, of Norman, was 6 feet tall and nearly 300 pounds, according to the autopsy report.

He was taken by ambulance to Moore Medical Center, where he died. Medical records show he suffered a heart attack and evidence of medical treatment, such as needle punctures and catheters, were detailed in the medical examiner’s report.

An inquiry by the Oklahoma State Bureau of Investigation is continuing.

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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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