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Tucson pastors: 'We condemn officers' callous disregard' for life of Carlos Ingram-Lopez

'Deeply disturbed this incident was kept from elected officials & public for two months'

An open letter from nine pastors of Tucson congregations about the April 21 death of Carlos Adrian Ingram-Lopez while being restrained by Tucson police:

On April 21, 2020 the Tucson Police Department received a call for help from a grandmother concerned that her grandson was behaving erratically. Officers arrived at the home and after a struggle were able to restrain Carlos Ingram-Lopez.

For 12 minutes after securing Mr. Ingram-Lopez the officers ignored his repeated pleas for water and his statement that he could not breathe, instead threatening to shock Mr. Ingram-Lopez with a Taser.

We condemn the callous disregard for human life displayed by the officers involved. While the officers have resigned we demand a complete, thorough and independent investigation of the circumstances surrounding the death of Mr. Ingram-Lopez and a rigorous prosecution if criminal charges are filed.

Related: Details revealed about Ingram-Lopez death in police custody; TPD chief offers to resign

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We are also deeply disturbed that this incident was kept from elected officials and the public for two months while an internal investigation took place.

This demonstrates a clear lack of accountability to the governing body by the Police Department. We call for the adoption of administrative procedures mandating the immediate notification of elected officials in the event of a police-involved death.

First responders should not cause the deaths of people suffering from addiction and/or mental illness.

In addition to a complete, thorough and independent investigation, we call for the reallocation of budget resources to provide the community with trained mental health and addiction specialists available to respond around-the-clock to calls for help like the one placed by Mr. Lopez's family.

Related: Tucson must release all info about man's death in police custody... 2 months ago

We demand that government officials provide a 911 system that results in an appropriate response rather than a 911 system that defaults to a police response.

Only then can we feel a reasonable degree of confidence that someone else's life will not be lost unnecessarily.

The Rev. Dr. William M. Lyons
Conference Minister, Southwest Conference, United Church of Christ

The Rev. Michael Lonergan
Pastor, Church of the Painted Hills, UCC

The Rev. Seth Wispelwey
Interim Pastor, Rincon Congregational UCC

The Rev. Tracy Howe Wispelwey
Justice and Local Church Ministries
National Setting for the United Church of Christ

The Reverend Alison Harrington
Pastor, Southside Presbyterian Church

The Rev. Ailsa Guardiola González
Pastor, First Christian Church (Disciples of Christ)

The Rev. Bart Smith
Lead Pastor, St. Mark's Presbyterian Church

The Rev. Steve Keplinger
Rector, Grace St. Paul's Episcopal Church

Tina Schlabach
Co-Pastor, Shalom Mennonite Fellowship, Tucson

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Carlos Adrian Ingram-Lopez and his daughter.