Heartbreaking enough, this is not some historic footage of a Nazi death camp. This is modern day America.
"We see Mr. Lopez struggling to breath for hours, and then, finally, we have an unobstructed view as Mr. Lopez takes his last breath, dying, half-naked on the cold concrete floor of a prison cell – isolated and alone with no Defendant caring whether he lived or died"
A lawsuit has been filed in the March 17, 2013 death of Christopher Lopez at the San Carlos Correctional Facility.
Along with this lawsuit, attorney David Lane has released a horrific and heartbreaking compilation of footage from the hours leading to Lopez' death.
The lawsuit begins-
On March 17, 2013, in full view of most of the Defendants, a shackled and stripped Christopher Lopez died alone and ignored, on the cold concrete floor of a cell at the San Carlos Correctional Facility. His death could have been easily prevented by most of the defendants had any one of them simply picked up a phone and called for medical help. Instead, the Defendants, all employees of the Colorado Department of Corrections, ultimately made what could pass as a documentary film on how to ignore the obvious and serious medical needs of a dying prisoner for hours until the very last breath of life leaves his body.
In the 47 minute long video, the prison guards laugh, joke, and mock this helpless and shackled schizophrenic man as he dies alone on the floor in front of them.
The incident was triggered by a sodium deficiency, which may have been a reaction to the psychotropic medication he was taking.
"The first video shows Christopher Lopez lying face down on the floor of his cell, naked from the waist up, and the staff is yelling in the cuff slot.
They're saying, 'Come to the slot and cuff up or we're not going to help you with your medical issue.' But you can see Lopez is virtually unconscious. He's trying to lift his head but he's not strong enough to do it. Then they gear up the force team and go in. But first, they talk about pepper-spraying him because he's not complying with their demands, even though some low-level guard says he has a medical issue. The only reason they don't pepper-spray him is because they're short-staffed." Lane explained.
The guards entered the cell dressed in full riot gear and dragged him out. They told him to stop resisting, even though his dying body was entirely limp.
"Their reports about this are all part of the cover up," Lane continued. "They say, 'He disobeyed our order' to make it seem like he was obstreperous when he was actually almost unconscious."
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They move him to a restraint chair with a spit hood while Lopez has a grand mal seizure. During this time the guards talk about Walmart and their plans for the weekend.
Eventually he is removed from the chair and left chained on the floor. A nurse finally enters, but not to provide any kind of emergency treatment. She tells Lopez, "It's time for your psych meds" to which she receives no response from the dying man, even as she kicks him, and then injects the very drugs that may have caused this medical emergency directly into his anus.
Twenty minutes into the video we see Lopez struggling to breathe, shackled, on the floor of his cell and the officers begin to chat.
"Is it lunch already?" the guard asks, followed by inaudible conversation.
"He could swallow his teeth, I don't care..."
At 21:30 the guard coldly proclaims, "he didn't even piss on himself, so he's not seizing."
Around the 40:00 mark another disgusting conversation takes place, showing how truly sadistic these monsters in charge of people's lives really are.
"What's he doing now?" a female supervisor asks.
"Smells like he peed all over the place," a man replies.
"Is he still on the floor?"
"He likes it on the floor."
"I like him on the floor."
"Yeah, he likes it alright when he's on the floor."
"Isn't that terrible?"
Warning- Graphic and Heartbreaking
This awful ordeal began at 3:30 in the morning, and at 9:10 a.m., Mr. Lopez took his last breath and died, shackled and face down in the intake cell with no help from the people watching him struggle.
Three employees have been fired, and five others disciplined. No criminal charges were filed.
If Fyodor Dostoyevsky was correct in stating that you can judge a society by how well it treats its prisoners, this video is a very horrific display of what our society has become. We can do better.
Read the full lawsuit here.