A vigil was held in Long Beach, California, this week for Cesar Rodriguez, 23, who was killed by a train one year ago, KCAL-TV reported.
This week, Rodriguez's family released security footage of the tragedy. His mother says it shows an officer with Long Beach Police Department struggling with her son on a passenger rail platform as a train approaches.
On Tuesday, the family filed a federal wrongful death lawsuit against the police department, according to published reports.
During the struggle, Cesar Rodriguez, 23, became pinned between a Metro Blue Line train and the platform, the Daily Breeze newspaper reported. Rodriguez died at a hospital on Aug. 29, 2017, after firefighters used airbags to extract him from the platform at the Wardlow Station.
The Long Beach Police Department says Rodriguez was stopped on suspicion of not paying his fare and officers found drugs on him. Rodriguez reportedly tried to run and that’s when the scuffle ensued.
The police department maintains that Rodriguez accidentally fell during the struggle.
But in a 14-page complaint filed Tuesday in U.S. District Court, Rodriguez's family alleges the officer “intentionally threw or otherwise forcefully brought Cesar Rodriguez to the edge of the train platform, causing the lower half of Cesar Rodriguez’s body to extend into the path of the oncoming train,” the Daily Breeze reported.
Rodriguez was conscious for the 25 minutes he was pinned, the lawsuit claims, “and forced to suffer immeasurable pain as well as the psychological trauma of experiencing and contemplating his impending death.”
What happened to the officer?
The Long Beach Police Department told the TV station the officer is still employed. The department also indicated it cannot comment further because of the impending lawsuit.
Rodriguez’s sister said it took months for the family to get the video. The footage was captured by security cameras aboard a Blue Line train one year ago.
“When we seen that video it was like a lot of the questions that we had as a family we were able to get them answered,” Evelia Granados told KCAL.
Granados also told the TV station how she feels about the officer going on with his life while her brother cannot.
“He has family. He is able to go back to his family. My brother didn’t make it back home,” Granados said.