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Alameda Reaches Two Settlements with Mario Gonzalez’s Family

Late Thursday afternoon, the City of Alameda released a statement asserting two settlements have been reached with the family of Oakland resident Mario Gonzalez, following Mr. Gonzalez’s death in police custody. The first would pay $11 million to the estate/son of Mario Gonzalez, and the second would pay $350,000 to Mario Gonzalez’s mother.

Alameda Post - Mario Gonzalez
In this still frame from an APD officer’s body camera footage, Mario Gonzalez Arenas is physically restrained by two officers.

Gonzalez died on April 19, 2021 after being detained by Alameda Police officers. The officers first restrained his arms. Then, one of them restrained him further by kneeling on his back until he became unresponsive. After officers attempted to revive him with CPR and Narcan, the 26-year-old was pronounced dead at a hospital. Gonzalez left behind his mother, brother, and son, for whom he was the primary caregiver.

His death drew parallels to the death of George Floyd, who died in custody after Derek Chauvin, a Minneapolis police officer, notoriously knelt on his neck for ten minutes. Chauvin was convicted the day after Gonzalez’s death, which intensified public backlash.



In December of 2021, in a report released by Alameda County Chief Forensic Pathologist Dr. Vivian Snyder, Gonzalez’s death was ruled a homicide. Subsequently on April 8, 2022, the Alameda County District Attorney’s office declared the officers were not criminally liable in his death. The incident was recorded by the officers’ body cameras.

The City implemented the CARE team to better respond to non-criminal calls involving people in distress or having a mental crisis as a result of the incident.

Alameda Post - a memorial for Mario Gonzalez set up with flowers and mementos in a park
The memorial for Mario Gonzalez, located in the park at the corner of Park Street and Otis Drive. Photo Adam Gillitt.

The separate settlements are expected to discharge and release all claims and causes of action fully and forever. The parties further agreed that the settlements shall not be construed as an admission by any party of liability or of any fact that might give rise to liability for any purpose.

Consistent with the City of Alameda’s California Joint Powers Risk Management Authority (CJPRMA) membership, the settlement, once finalized, will be funded by CJPRMA, which worked with the City to manage the litigation and controls the settlement funds. CJPRMA is a public entity, made up exclusively of public entities and is dedicated to the protection of its member entities, and their respective taxpayers, from catastrophic liability and other financial liabilities.

The City concluded its statement by saying it remains committed to full transparency and accountability in the tragic death of Mario Gonzalez and extends heartfelt condolences to his family and loved ones.

Adam Gillitt is the Publisher of the Alameda Post. Reach him at [email protected]. His writing is collected at AlamedaPost.com/Adam-Gillitt.

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