The family of Carlos Adrián Ingram-López filed a notice of claim with the City of Tucson today seeking $10 million for his death. Ingram-López died on April 21, 2020, after Tucson police detained him at his grandmother’s house. He was 27 years old.
That night, his grandmother called 911 at 1 a.m. asking for help because her grandson was “drunk, yelling and running naked.” Body camera footage shows three officers arrived at the home and screamed at Ingram-López to “get on the fucking ground.” Ingram-López ran to the garage, where officers handcuffed him behind his back and laid him face-down on the floor.
The audio captures Ingram-López screaming in distress, saying repeatedly “no,” “please” and “I’m sorry.” The officers repeatedly told Ingram-López to “relax” as they restrained him, while he was heard breathing heavily, moaning and calling out for his nana (grandmother) asking for water.
Ingram-López asked the officers repeatedly for water and they ignored his requests. At one point, he told the officers he couldn’t breathe.
The officers covered Ingram-López with a yellow emergency blanket and a spit hood while he was heard moaning and crying in the video. Shortly after, he began to make gagging sounds and became more distressed. The officer told him again to relax. He called out “Nana por favor” shortly before becoming silent.
After a few minutes of silence from Ingram-López, officers can be heard asking “Is he breathing?” They rolled his unconscious body over and distributed NARCAN, a drug that is used to reverse opioid overdoses.
When Ingram-López didn’t respond to that, the officers began administering CPR and continued to do so until Tucson Fire Department paramedics showed up. Ingram-López was pronounced dead at the scene by paramedics, in front of his grandmother’s garage.
Two months passed before Ingram-López’s death reached the public, and the revelation was met with outrage from the Tucson community. A medical examiner’s report determined Ingram-López suffered cardiac arrest from a combination of physical restraint by the officers involved and acute cocaine intoxication.
At a June 24 press conference, Tucson Police Chief Chris Magnus and Mayor Regina Romero called the event a “terrible tragedy” and said they each met with Ingram-López’s family to give their condolences. But the public officials maintained that the actions of the three officers are “not reflective of the department.”
Magnus offered his resignation to Mayor Regina Romero and called for “full accountability” within the department. Romero and other city council officials later rejected his offer.
Magnus said the officers involved in detaining Ingram-López violated department policies for interacting with people who are in mental distress or under the influence of drugs. All three officers have resigned; Magnus added that they would have been fired otherwise for “multiple policy violations.”
Now, the City of Tucson has 60 days to respond to a Notice of Claim filed jointly by two law firms on behalf of Ingram-López’s family. They are demanding $10 million from the City of Tucson and $3 million each from the three TPD officers involved: Jonathan Jackson, Samuel Routledge, and Ryan Starbuck.
If the city does not agree or respond to the claim, a formal lawsuit will follow.
Kuykendall & Associates, a top criminal defense firm, and Schmidt, Sethi & Akmajian, a firm specializing in personal injury and wrongful death litigation, wrote in the claim that the three officers who responded to the call that night “grossly violated the Department’s General Orders, procedures and policies and their extensive training—as well as fundamental tenets of human decency.”
The firms pointed out that instead of following department protocol when interacting with someone who is in “excited delirium” as TPD calls it, Officers Jackson, Routledge and Starbuck ordered Ingram-López to the ground, then turned his face down and handcuffed him behind his back.
The attorneys wrote that the officers cracked jokes with each other while Ingram-López was in distress and they failed to provide him with appropriate medical attention.
“Officers Jackson, Routledge and Starbuck intended to cause injury to a defenseless, naked man, in conscious disregard to Adrian’s rights and safety,” the claim states. “This exposes the officers to claims for punitive damages.”
The attorneys filed the claim on behalf of Sophie Ingram, Ingram-López’s 2-year-old daughter. They argue that “the daughter of a negligently killed dad is entitled to monetary loss (e.g. lost income the dad would have provided for her) and the ‘loss of affection, companionship, care protection, and guidance’ and ‘pain, grief, sorrow, anguish, stress, shock and mental suffering’ the daughter has experienced and will experience as a result of her dad’s death.”
The claim states that the officers will not overcome this potential lawsuit using qualified immunity, which is a legal doctrine that shields government officials from being sued for damages unless their actions violated “clearly established” laws.
The Notice of Claim provided new details about Ingram-López’s life that were not previously revealed to the public. He is described as a “hard worker and a passionate cook” who graduated from Le Cordon Blue College of Culinary Arts in Scottsdale. He cooked at Top Golf locations, Chelsea’s Kitchen and the Westin La Paloma.
Ingram-López was “ecstatic” to be a father, the claim states. He and his daughter were attached at the hip and had a special bond. Before he died, Ingram-López had plans to marry Sophie’s mother, Elizabeth Cocoba, but first wanted to recover from drug addiction.
The claim explains:
“In approximately 2018, Adrian struggled with the news that his dad had been kidnapped and went missing in Mexico. Like most who deal with demons when recovering from a trauma, Adrian’s demon in coping with the pain was occasional drug use. He had tried to get better and wanted to get better. Adrian and Elizabeth had gone to a rehabilitation center for a consultation, but their insurance would not cover the cost and they could not afford it on their own. Just before being killed, Adrian and Elizabeth were specifically looking for jobs Adrian was qualified for that would provide the kind of coverage he needed to get help.”
According to Cocoba, Sophie watches her daughter talk to Ingram-López while she is alone. She still says goodbye to him when she leaves the house with her mother.
“Sophie is not old enough to understand that her dad is never coming back,” the claim states.