What happened to Omar Lopez?
Months after his death, a family desperately seeks answers to what happened to their son/father/and boyfriend.
After an early morning scuffle with police, Lopez was tasered and sent to the hospital where he later died. Security cameras tell a blurry story that seems to match police’s recollection of events but is missing key details.
According to Philly.com, SEPTA (Philadelphia’s Mass Transit System) police found Lopez inside of a station close to his apartment on the morning of October 26th, right before the station closed.
The officer escorted Lopez out calmly, as captured on surveillance.
Once outside, police claim Lopez got into an altercation with another man who came from the street. When authorities stepped in to intervene, they ended up fighting with Lopez. Police claim Lopez bit the officer, who used his taser to stop him.
Following procedure, the police loaded a conscious Lopez into the squad car to take him to the hospital. He died an hour later.
Lopez leaves behind a family—3 children and a girlfriend, Jessica Cruz.
“He was escorted out peacefully,” Cruz told Philly.com. “What happened between him going down the steps to fighting outside?” she said.
Unfortunately, security camera footage that could answer that question has not been released.Officers claim Lopez passed out in the 2 minutes it took to take him to the hospital.
Inconsistencies with the police’s story became blazingly clear right after he died.
How did officers travel 3.5 miles in that final 2 minute ride to the hospital? Is it possible to consistently travel 100mph in Downtown Philly? What caused his death? What happened to the man who they got into an altercation with? Why hasn’t the additional security footage been released?
A medical examiner told The Daily Beast:
The case is still pending but [we can’t] elaborate on the state of [our] investigation. SEPTA said they won’t release any more information about the case, and the results of their internal investigation, until the medical examiner’s report is complete.
Cruz told Philly.com the family was hoping Lopez’s autopsy results would bring some clarity to his death. She did not know of any medical conditions that could have caused his death.
“Everyone’s having a hard time understanding what happened,” she said.
Unfortunately, hazy details surrounding the deaths of people of color in police custody is becoming more and more commonplace, and it’s totally unacceptable.
While everyone is caught up in hashtags, families are spending their Christmases and the rest of their lives without the ones they love.
Omar Lopez is not another hashtag, and his family deserves answers. We pray they come sooner than later, and those who need to be brought to justice are apprehended.