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MOORE, Okla. (AP) — The family of a man who died in February after a struggle with police outside a Moore movie theater has filed a claim against the Oklahoma city.
Luis Rodriguez's family filed a tort claim against the city and is requesting compensation of $10 million or the maximum allowed by law, The Oklahoman reported (http://bit.ly/1vtPEZi ). A tort claim is a legal complaint against a governmental body, giving that organization a chance to settle without going to court.
The city attorney's office said Lee Law Center is representing Moore. A message left Tuesday seeking comment with the law firm was not immediately returned.
The state medical examiner ruled Rodriguez's death a homicide and said it was the result of cardiac arrhythmia due to physical restraint and an underlying heart condition.
Cleveland County District Attorney Greg Mashburn declined to file charges against the officers and off-duty game wardens involved in the incident, saying that Rodriguez's physical health caused his death, not the actions of the police. All have returned to duty.
On Feb. 15, Rodriguez, his wife and daughter were approached by three Moore police officers and two off-duty game wardens after a theatregoer reported a domestic assault. Rodriguez refused to show his ID when asked by police, and the officers attempted to detain him, using pepper spray and handcuffs. He died later at a hospital.
The attorney for the Rodriguez family, Kenyatta Bethea, said a private autopsy found the 44-year-old's death was caused by asphyxia.
Bethea also claimed the Moore Police Department attempted to influence the state medical examiner's investigation by calling and visiting the office at least five times. But a spokeswoman for the state medical examiner said the agency met with Moore police once on Feb. 18 to discuss the case, which is standard practice in almost all homicide investigations.
Information from: The Oklahoman, http://www.newsok.com