Before his death, inmate shouted ‘I can’t breathe’ as guards piled on top of him

Officer pile on top of inmate before he dies

ALBUQUERQUE, NM (KOAT/CNN) - The family of an inmate in New Mexico who died in custody back in February is demanding answers about what happened.

The surveillance video shows several officers piling on top of the man as he repeatedly yelled, "I can't breathe."

We must warn you the video is disturbing.

Five officers escorted Vicente Villela down the halls at the Metropolitan Detention Center in February. When they turned a corner, Villela got apprehensive about someone he saw.

The guards forced him on a mattress in the cell so they can take off his shackles. Villela got spooked and starts flailing.

Officers could be heard trying to calm him down.

He didn’t, and that’s when things escalated. Villela said they were suffocating him.

“I can’t breathe,” he cried out.

One of the officers thrusted his knee him in Villela’s the side.

Matthew Vance, the family's attorney, will be filing a wrongful death lawsuit.

"The officers just continued to pile on top of him, knee him in the back, and compress his chest,” Vance explained. “This is a wrongful death."

He said Villela has a criminal past with several drug-related charges. Even so, the family is still demanding justice.

"They also want to know what happened. We're still just getting pieces of information and don't have everything yet," Vance concluded.

Bernalillo County said in a statement: “A comprehensive evaluation of how correctional and medical staff performed their jobs is in progress.”

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