Last year, in a Wal-Mart parking lot, Ben Anthony C de Baca drew his last breath. A few minutes later, while EMS and officers were trying to revive C de Baca, a body cam caught an image of two police fist-bumping over his lifeless body. Unsurprisingly, the video, surrounding circumstances and aftermath have given rise to controversy, and Anthony’s family is planning to file a wrongful death suit. The coroner ruled the death as homicide but noted that cocaine was found in his system.
KOB reported that C de Baca had a long history of mental illness. In September of 2015 at a fast food restaurant, he got into an argument with a family member. According to The Daily Beast, this argument was more of a schizophrenic episode — C de Baca’s wife said that he began yelling that there were “people in the trunk.” He then drove to the Bernalillo Wal-Mart, and, as one police officer so eloquently described, started “acting a fool.” Employees and shoppers subdued him until police arrived.
Once police were on the scene, C de Baca still did not calm down and even bit one of the officers. In a video of the incident, one officer asks about the teeth marks, and the other officer responds, “A f****g bite mark, dude. This c**t f**k bit the f**k out of me, dude. I had to punch his ass off of me.” After he chomped down on the constable, the police placed a spit sock (a thick mesh bag) over C de Baca’s head and dragged him outside. Police, with a knee in his back, shook his arm, but it was too late.
A lawyer representing C de Baca’s family told The Daily Beast, “I’m really more concerned about why they hogtied him, dragged him out, placed him face down with three guys kneeing him in the back.” The fist bump that can be seen at the end of the video is probably a simple greeting. The spit sock appears to be improperly used and may have contributed to C de Baca’s death, which was officially ruled a homicide.