Private Autopsy Claims Asphyxia Killed Man In Moore In-Custody Death Case

Tuesday, September 16th 2014, 4:32 pm
By: News 9

New evidence in the case of Luis Rodriguez, the man who died after an altercation with Moore Police in the parking lot of the Warren Theatre, suggests that Rodriguez died from asphyxia.

The findings come as a result of a private autopsy paid for by the family and are contradictory of what the state medical examiner ruled as a cause of death back in April.

4/2/2014 Related Story: ME Rules Moore In-Custody Death As Homicide

The private autopsy was reportedly completed by Dr. Kyung-Whan Min in Oklahoma City. Dr. Min's findings said Rodriguez died by positional asphyxia. 

During a press conference Tuesday, the family's attorney said he obtained copies of the state medical examiner's file. Kenyatta Bethea said those files revealed Moore Police officers called and visited the medical examiner's office multiple times before the state medical examiner's findings were released. 

Gary James is the attorney for Warren Theatres and for the three off-duty officers working at the facility the evening of the events.

He released a statement Tuesday:

“I've been informed that the family of Luis Rodriguez announced they are filing a federal lawsuit surrounding his death. Until the lawsuit is presented, it would be difficult to speculate on their allegations. We stand by those officers and believe their actions were appropriate and lawful in the response to the actions of Mr. Rodriguez.” 

Scott Adams, the attorney for a Moore Police officer who was on duty that day also released a statement:

“This has been investigated for many months and all officers cooperated fully. It was looked at with an independent eye by the OSBI, Medical Examiner's Office, and the Cleveland County District Attorney's Office..

All came to same conclusion that the officers were not criminally responsible.

Unfortunately, they are in dangerous jobs and have to make split second decisions and, unfortunately, in this instance, someone passed away.

These officers used the appropriate amount of forced given the circumstances. I can assure you no one was criminally responsible and to think there was a conspiracy is ludicrous.

In this country, it seems we are becoming anti-police and that the tide has turned in respecting law enforcement. They are involved in a dangerous jobs and they have to make decisions in an intense environment and I think sometimes they don't get the credit they deserve.”

A spokesman at Tuesday's press conference, Marcus Bivens said the family of Rodriguez is starting a foundation in his honor. 

The 'Luis Rodriguez Not in Vain Foundation' will reportedly act as an advocacy organization designed to work with and help community members get past racial and cultural barriers. Bivens also repeatedly stated the family wanted everyone to understand that they do not think all law enforcement is brutal or oppressive. However, they are searching for answers during this time of loss.

The family is asking for US Attorney General Eric Holder to initiate a federal investigation into the case.

Keep checking with News 9 and for more information.

2/27/2014 Related Story: Moore Police Report: Luis Rodriguez Died At Hospital

2/26/2014 Related Story: Attorney Wants Warren Surveillance Footage Of In-Custody Death

2/25/2014 Related Story: Cell Phone Video Released In Moore In-Custody Death Case