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Medical examiner rules death of OK man in police custody a homicide

Medical examiner deems death of Luis Rodriguez a homicide, but says wrongdoing not implied.
By Danielle Haynes   |   April 2, 2014 at 9:44 PM   |   Comments

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April 2 (UPI) -- The Oklahoma State Medical Examiner's Office ruled the death of a man who died after a brief struggle with police was a homicide.

Luis Rodriguez, 44, died Feb. 15 after he was pinned to the ground by police outside the Warren Theatre in Moore, Okla.

His wife, Nair Rodriguez, had gotten into a fight with their daughter, 19-year-old Luinahi, and slapped the girl. Police approached the family and a scuffle between Luis Rodriguez and police ensued.

Police pinned the man to the ground before he went still and was then transported to the hospital. He was declared dead at the facility.

The medical examiner ruled Wednesday Luis Rodriguez died of "cardiac arrhythmia due to physical restraint in the setting of cardiomegaly with left ventricular hypertrophy."

The report said the death was "violent, unusual or unnatural," noting scalp contusions and abrasions on the right forearm, hands, abdomen an knees.

"Postmortem examination revealed evidence of a physical struggle; however, the noted injuries and associated hemorrhages are not sufficient by themselves to cause the decedent's death," the report said.

"In accordance with the National Association of Medical Examiners' guidelines, the manner of death is best certified as homicide due to the death occurring in association with a physical struggle and during attempted restraint by law enforcement," the report concludes. "The certifying of the death as a homicide does not imply wrongdoing or criminal intent."

[KFOR-TV, Moore, Okla.]

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