A Man Died After Police Held Him on Hot Asphalt for 6 Minutes. He Was Reported for Loitering.
The Phoenix Police Department (PPD) is conducting an internal investigation after a man was killed when three officers pinned and arrested him on hot asphalt.
Ramon Lopez, who was 28 years old, died on August 4 after being subdued on a roadway for approximately six minutes. It was about 100 degrees that morning, and blacktop temperatures can climb 40 to 60 degrees above outside temperatures.
Current conversations around police reform in the U.S. primarily hinge on excessive and sometimes unconstitutional tactics used by law enforcement. But Lopez’s story shows that overpolicing and overcriminalization are also salient parts of the discussion, particularly when considering his arrest was inspired by a 911 call about Lopez wearing ripped pants and loitering in a parking lot.
“He’s kinda acting funny, he’s over there sticking his tongue out, I don’t know what’s wrong with him,” a woman told a Phoenix 911 dispatcher that day. “And then he got ripped pants on, and he jumping around…looking at people’s cars.”
“Alright, what is he doing exactly?” the dispatcher asks.
“He’s out there looking at people’s cars,” the woman repeats. “Sticking his tongue out. Holding his, you know, his private parts.”
“You say he’s exposing his private parts?” the dispatcher interjects.
“No, he’s holding it, like he’s scratching on it or something,” the woman replies. Video footage shows him briefly clutching the crotch area of his shorts.
A police vehicle arrived at the scene shortly thereafter. At the sight of the car, Lopez darted across the street and into a convenience store; an officer followed and met Lopez outside as he exited the
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