SANTA ANA (CBSLA) — Chris Eisinger was taken off of life support over the weekend after spending more than a week in a coma following his arrest by Anaheim police.
As CBSLA’s Michele Gile reports, his family held a press conference Monday to question the use of force by officers.
The 35-year-old transient was critically injured, according to his family, as Anaheim police struggled to take him into custody. Officers say they were called by a woman reporting an attempted break-in at her home.
“When I walked into that hospital room my stomach just sank,” said Eisinger’s mom Katrina.
“When I first went in Chris’s room it looked like he’d been beaten beyond recognition,” said Eisinger’s dad Jay. “If I had been told it was another person I would have believed it because it didn’t look like Chris to me.”
Last week, acting Anaheim Police Chief Julian Harvey told reporters that his officers used great restraint as they detained Eisinger and did not use weapons, a taser, a chokehold or strike him. The suspect, who has a criminal history of drug charges, assault on a peace officer and resisting arrest, kicked and reached for an officer’s holster during the incident, according to authorities. It was recorded on several body cameras but the police video has not been released.
“At the end of the day we may not have a smoking gun video,” said family lawyer Eric Dubin. “What we have is upwards of four to five minutes of extreme force that his eye socket popped out.”
Lawyers for the family say Eisinger had stopped breathing.
Family attorney Anne Della Donna asked why the officers didn’t give CPR after holding Eisinger’s head on the cement for four to five minutes..
“In that position, head turned, face down, severe force applied against the side of his face,” said Donna. “Chris’s airway was compromised and blocked.”
Police say that they suspected Eisinger was under the influence.
The county will do an autopsy on him Tuesday. The family says that once the county examination is done it will conduct its own independent autopsy.