Family blames police brutality for man’s death; Dashcam video released

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CHICAGO -- City Hall has released police dashcam video of a man being arrested last July on the southwest side, who died while in custody.

Police were called to the 300 block of West 39th Street after reports of disturbances around a garage where they found 24-year-old Heriberto Godinez.

Police placed him in restraints.

He is seen on the video resisting and  kicking his legs and struggling with officers.  As the video continues more officers arrive. They hold him down, and one of them steps on Godinez's neck and appears to stand on him.  Godinez died at the scene.

The Cook County medical examiner's office determined that Godinez had cocaine and alcohol in his system, but ruled the manner of death undetermined.

Godinez’s sisters sued to have the dashcam video released.

However, their attorney says the family is upset the video was released to the media before they could see it first.

Godinez sister Janet says after seeing it, she's angry and frustrated with the city and it's police department.

“The police should be ashamed of themselves,” she said. “They treated my brother worse than animal. My brother was hiding, my brother was scared.”

New Chicago Police Superintendent Eddie Johnson has been promising more accountability and today, he placed the two officers involved on administrative duty pending the outcome of an investigation by the Independent Police Review Authority.

In a statement he said: "The actions by two officers in the video are concerning, and as a result, I have removed them from operational duties pending the outcome of IPRA's thorough investigation."

The city`s Dept of Law said in a statement, “Now that IPRA has advanced its investigation to the point it no longer objects to the release of these records, the city is producing them as part of its new policy that increases transparency while also protecting the integrity of ongoing investigations.”

The Godinez family attorney Jeff Granich says the family is outraged by the city's handling of the video.

“Today`s decision to release the video to the media before the family gets to look at this video and deal with it and process it is despicable,” he said.

Granich says it plans to file a federal civil rights/wrongful death lawsuit in court next week.

The IPRA is still investigating this case and does not comment on on-going investigations.