Oklahoma detectives are investigating the death of Norman resident Luis Rodriguez, who died after being handcuffed by police officers responding to a domestic disturbance at a movie theater Friday.
Before cops arrived on the scene at the Warren Theater in Moore, Okla., a fight broke out between Rodriguez’s wife, Nair Rodriguez, and his daughter, Lunahi Rodriguez, NewsOK reported. Luis intervened and tried to break up the dispute. His wife fled and Luis allegedly then fought with officers, who put him in handcuffs.
Lunahi Rodriguez claimed her father didn’t resist but was nevertheless repeatedly hit by the officers. She told News9 that the cops beat her father to death in the parking lot of the theater.
"When they flipped him over, you could see all the blood on his face. It was, he was disfigured; you couldn't recognize him,” she told the Oklahoma television station. She added to NewsOK, “They jumped on him like he was some kind of killer or drug dealer and beat him up. He never fought the officers. They beat him on the head and that's how he lost his breath.”
Nair Rodriguez said her husband was only trying to break up the fight between her and her daughter. She said she slapped her daughter in the face when her husband intervened. She said she knew her husband was dead when she saw his body.
"I saw him. His [motionless] body when people carry it to the stretcher," she said. "I knew that he was dead."
Three police officers were placed on administrative leave while detectives investigate Rodriguez’s death. Moore Police Department spokesman Jeremy Lewis told NewsOK that Rodriguez stopped breathing as the officers were restraining him. An ambulance was at the movie theater, but paramedics weren’t able to revive Rodriguez.
Lunahi Rodriguez said her mother videotaped the incident on her cell phone, but police confiscated the device. News9 was able to obtain an audio recording of the confrontation.
"My mom was taking a video and asking, ‘What are they doing this for? Why?' And they didn't give really an explanation,” she said.
Mother and daughter were taken to the hospital and were told they could see him, indicating that he was alive. But Lunahi Rodriguez said that turned out not to be the case.
"Two hours passed. They finally called [Nair Rodriguez] up to say, 'Oh you could see him,' but it turned out it was a lie. They moved his body elsewhere," Lunahi Rodriguez said.