Two Imperial police officers were on duty in Imperial, CA, July 5, 2010. One of them had his girlfriend in his patrol car at 4am, against department policy, in a quiet residential neighborhood with his lights off. They were unsupervised.
Edmund "Bubba" Gutierrez, 22 years old, was on his way home from a 4th of July party when he was pulled over, handcuffed and arrested for suspicion of DUI. Edmund, who had never been in a fight in his life, would then be Tasered 15 times in a 9 minute period, pepper sprayed in his face and punched so hard in the face that the second officer broke his hand. These police then cancelled their request for assistance. They struck Bubba over and over with their steel batons as he called out for somebody to help him. According to the only independent witness, Bubba was on his back barely moving.
The medical examiner wrote in his report that there were eleven baton marks to his thighs knees and legs. He noted, however, he could not rule out more strikes to more sensitive parts of his body due to the number of abrasions and contusions covering his torso.
When paramedics arrived Bubba complained, "I can't breathe." Shortly thereafter, he went into respiratory and cardiac arrest and could not be resuscitated. His death was ruled a homicide. Our DA did not charge police. One of his reasons? 20 minutes elapsed from the end of the beating to Bubba's heart stopping. 20 minutes!
The investigation contains factual errors. Key witnesses, including the hospital emergency room staff, security guards and other medical professionals, that would have refuted the police officers' statements, were not interviewed.
The deputy supervising coroner failed to disclose to the public he was, currently, an appointed planning commissioner for the City of Imperial. Prior to the autopsy, this same deputy supervising coroner gave the medical examiner false information concerning the decedent's medical history and, more importantly, failed to disclose the victim's last words, "I can't breathe" to the medical examiner. We believe this hindered, influenced and prejudiced the medical examiner's ability to determine the cause of death.
Edmund Michael Gutierrez was the nicest guy you'd ever meet. He was polite, respectful and peaceful. He had a good job, an apartment, a roomate and a girlfriend. He had a close, loving family, a church family and many friends who love and miss him. These men will not get away with this vicious murder just because they are police. We pray for justice. We will fight for the truth.
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