On the night of December 28, 2011, Mario Marin was angry with Santa Ana churchgoers. Outside the City Lights Dream Center Church, he cursed out congregates and clocked a pastor in the face. Unable to be subdued by church members, the Santa Ana Police Department were called in.
Officers Brian Booker and Sergio Gutierrez arrived on scene. Booker tased Marin, but it eventually took five cops in total to cuff and tie-up his hands and legs, restraining him with their knees and body weight.
Did the fight cause Marin's death five days later? An investigation by the Orange County District Attorney's office (OCDA) finds no fault with officer actions, saying Marin "was the aggressor" in a number of fights in the days leading up to his death, and that any number of them may have caused it–but definitely not the cop one!
The report notes that after being arrested, paramedics transferred Marin to St. Joseph's in Orange. On January 2, 2012, he attempted to break out of UCI Medical Center before six members of the nursing and security staff strapped him back to his bed. Later that morning, he became unresponsive and died.
An autopsy performed two days later concluded the cause of death a result of "respiratory failure due to a sequence of traumatic injuries." The forensic pathologist noted among his injuries a number of bruises, abrasions, Taser shock marks, fractured ribs, a tear in his pancreas resulting from blunt force trauma and a hemorrhage on the side of his skull.
The OCDA took it from there. "It is impossible to know exactly which of the many reported fights caused Marin's injuries," the report's legal analysis states, noting only two fights. "It should be noted that in all the fights leading up to his death, Marin was the aggressor. There appears to be no evidence of malice, a failure to perform a legal duty, or criminal negligence by anyone. Marin's death was due to a combination of a schizophrenic break, assaultive behavior, and lack of cooperation with treating physicians."
On that note, the OCDA closed its inquiry, clearing all parties involved.
The investigation letter is here, for those of you who like to read that sort of spin.
Follow Gabriel San Román on Twitter @dpalabraz