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Tucson police must now immediately notify public of in-custody deaths
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Tucson police must now immediately notify public of in-custody deaths

After the details of the death of Carlos Ingram-Lopez while in Tucson police custody were withheld from the public for more than two months, the Tucson City Council has approved a policy that requires at least some details regarding such deaths to be released immediately.

The policy requires the “immediate notification” of in-custody deaths to both the community and mayor and council even if the information may be preliminary. The move is similar to notifications provided for shootings involving police officers.

The move came just one week after city and police first publicly revealed the details of the April 21 death of 27-year-old Ingram-Lopez, who died after going into cardiac arrest while handcuffed.

Police Chief Chris Magnus has called the lack of notification a “serious misstep” and has created a new policy that requires at least two assistant police chiefs view any footage involving an in-custody death within 48 hours.

Magnus and council members last week vowed to institute sweeping policy changes in the wake of Ingram-Lopez’s death. Council members also approved initial framework set forth by Mayor Regina Romero for a number of policy recommendations, including seeking community input for a community safety pilot program.

“This particular framework is a small slice of what needs to happen in our community,” Romero said during Tuesday’s meeting.

Council member Lane Santa Cruz, who has been vocal in sharing concerns regarding the police officers’ role in Ingram-Lopez’s death, said during the meeting that she wants “to make clear that this is a starting point” and that she doesn’t want any policy to be “band-aid measures.”

City manager Micahel Ortega said he has already planned to review internal policies with Magnus and will inform the council of those discussions during a future meeting.

Contact reporter Justin Sayers at jsayers1@tucson.com or 573-4192.

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