SACRAMENTO (CBS13) — A new lawsuit claims that the man who died last year after having a medical emergency while allegedly trespassing inside the Golden 1 Center had a security guard kneel on his neck for several minutes.

The incident happened back in the early morning hours of July 2, 2019. Sacramento police say a man had gotten into the building and started acting erratically.

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Security footage from inside the Golden 1 Center showed Matthews running around the building before he was taken into custody.

Security guards had already detained and handcuffed the suspect – now identified as Mario Matthews – by the time officers arrived, police say.

Stewart Katz, who is representing Matthews family claims a security guard knelled on Matthews neck for more than four minutes. He also claims Matthews was restrained face-down a total of twenty minutes by both guards and Sacramento police officers.

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At some point, Matthews became unresponsive. He was taken to a nearby hospital but was pronounced dead two days later.

“I see a totally disproportionate reaction. I see no-one thinking and I see a tragic outcome that could have been avoided,” said Katz.

The lawsuit, filed by Katz on Tuesday, alleges that Matthews “needlessly died because he was unreasonably restrained by the combined efforts of three private security guards and three Sacramento Police Department officers.”

 “It’s utter senselessness, in any normal sense of the word. There is no underlying crime,” Katz explained. “From what I’ve seen based on the video and statements, there is not one word in any of the statements from any of the security people that they ever asked him to leave.”
In a statement the parent company of Universal Protection Services names in the lawsuit, claims Matthews did not comply with orders.
“Allied Universal Security Professionals responded to a trespasser acting erratically, explained Vanessa Showalter from Allied Universal. “The individual refused to comply with instructions to leave the facility and appeared to threaten the Security Professionals.  They attempted to detain him pending the arrival of the police.  He continued to actively resist efforts to restrain him until he was taken into custody by Sacramento Police,” she said.

In a statement, the City of Sacramento said they were looking into the lawsuit.

“The City has received the lawsuit and is in the process of evaluating it as well as the appropriate next steps,” the city’s attorney’s office wrote.

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