Eduardo Coronado, the lawyer representing Mr. Lopez’s family, requested video of the episode on April 22, the day after Mr. Lopez died. Mr. Coronado said he had not received an explanation of why the video was released more than two months later.
Mayor Romero said that although the police’s internal affairs office started an investigation after Mr. Lopez’s death, the lieutenant in charge of that office had not immediately alerted Chief Magnus or his deputy to the video and what it showed.
The mayor and Chief Magnus have both said they will make sure that the police review video of all in-custody deaths and quickly inform the public, something Ms. Romero said they already do for police shootings. Ms. Romero said that in many cases, however, the videos themselves should not be released until an internal review is completed.
“There needs to be police accountability and transparency as much as we possibly can,” she said. “And there needs to be a fair internal investigation as well. It’s a balanced approach that we need to take.”
Mr. Coronado is hoping to receive information from the internal investigation of the death to decide the next legal steps forward on behalf of the family. One of the options, he said, could be filing a civil suit against the police force. In the meantime, Chief Magnus said he had asked the F.B.I. to examine the circumstances surrounding Mr. Lopez’s death.
Mr. Coronado had been a friend of Mr. Lopez’s family since Mr. Lopez was about 2 years old. When he watched the video, Mr. Coronado said, he was overcome with “heartbreak, horror, anguish, pain and bewilderment.”
Mr. Coronado said the family was questioning the necessity of the spit hood, the mesh covering that the police placed over Mr. Lopez’s head. The family is worried that the spit hood was impeding Mr. Lopez’s breathing, and they said that Mr. Lopez was gasping for air while he was being restrained face down on the concrete floor, according to Mr. Coronado.