AUSTIN (KXAN) — An Austin family is demanding to know exactly what happened to their loved one. Enrique Quiroz, 41, died after “suffering a medical emergency” in-custody of police on March 31st, according to Austin Police.
“We all loved him very much. That’s why we can’t understand how this happened you know what I’m saying. Why? Why? Why did it happen?” said Benny Ochoa, Quiroz’ cousin at a press conference Friday afternoon.
Ochoa said Quiroz’ mother, seven children, two grandchildren and other family members are still searching for answers. They told KXAN APD needs to be more transparent.
“We haven’t gotten the simple things like where’s the police report at? Where’s the body cam at? Where’s the autopsy report?” he said.
According to APD, officers were called to an apartment complex on W. Slaughter Lane in south Austin on March 31 for criminal trespass.
Police said the 911 caller said her children’s father was acting stragely.
According to an in-custody death report filed with the Attorney General’s Office, Quiroz didn’t comply with the responding officers’ commands, and there was a physical struggle in the apartment. APD said the officers deployed taser, and Quiroz was handcuffed.
The in-custody death report said Quiroz did not have a weapon.
According to APD, Quiroz experienced a medical emergency while in handcuffs and was pronounced dead at the hospital.
Ochoa said a video shot by a witness that day shows Quiroz being dragged down the stairs by the officers while Quiroz is groaning and crying out for help.
“[They] totally handled it wrong. If that’s their training, then whoever is training them needs to get a new job. They need a new trainer,” Ochoa said.
He added, the family was told by a mortician Quiroz had a lot of bruises. “They used their strength and power too much. Just too much excessive force, there’s no need for it.”
Both APD and the Travis County District Attorney told KXAN the investigation into this in-custody death is ongoing and declined to comment on it.
The two officers involved were placed on administrative leave immediately following the incident but have returned to full duty.
On June 1, APD implemented a new policy that requires the public release of body camera video of critical incidents, in which someone was killed or seriously injured by an officer within 60 days. This case has passed that window, but it’s not clear if it would be applied retroactively to cases that happened before June 1st. KXAN is asking APD for clarification.
Meanwhile, the medical examiner told us Quiroz’ report won’t be complete until they get toxicology results back and do any additional testing needed. They said the process takes 90 days or longer from the date of the autopsy, which was April 1st in this case.