Alameda officers cleared in death of Mario Gonzalez, independent probe finds

The officers involved in the death of Mario Gonzalez last year in Alameda were cleared of any wrongdoing, according to a report released Wednesday.

The independent administrative investigation into the death of the 26-year-old found the officers acted "consistent with department policies."

The investigation was conducted by the Renne Public Law Group at the request of the city of Alameda. It's the final probe into the controversial use-of-force death.

Gonzalez died after three officers struggled to restrain him in a prone position in April 2021.

Police were called that day after neighbors dialed a non-emergency line about an intoxicated man walking around a small parklet in front of their homes.

Body-camera footage showed one of the officers speaking to Gonzalez for nine minutes before he, and two others restrained Gonzalez face-down on the ground for five minutes.

Gonzalez stopped breathing while being handcuffed and was later pronounced dead.

The body-worn camera video of the death sparked outrage and came amid national upheaval one year after the death of George Floyd. 

Wednesday's report found evidence that officers Eric McKinley, James Fisher, and Cameron Leahy "acted in conformity with Department policy." The report, however, did not make a definitive conclusion, citing the limits of the body-camera footage.

There were no sustained violations against the officers. 

A fourth person, parking technician Charles Clemmons, held Gonzalez's legs at the request of the officers. He was exonerated of any wrongdoing, the report found.

The officers were on paid administrative leave while the investigation played out. 

The investigation report comes after the district attorney declined to charge the officers.

The Alameda County coroner’s office ruled the death a homicide, but said Gonzalez died from methamphetamine along with stress from being restrained.

Attorneys for Gonzalez’s family commissioned their own autopsy, which found he died from restrained asphyxia. They’re suing the city and the officers in federal court.

Lisa Fernandez and Evan Sernoffsky are reporters for KTVU. Email Lisa at or call her at 510-874-0139. Or follow her on Twitter @ljfernandez. Email Evan at and follow him on Twitter @EvanSernoffsky