San Diego

National City Protesters Demand Answers From Police

Earl McNeil passed away this week, now his family is left with questions

Dozens gathered outside National City police headquarters Wednesday, demanding answers about a man who died this week after being in police custody. 

Earl McNeil, 40, went to National City police looking for help on May 26, according to his family and supporters. He ended up in police custody with bruises, comatose and severe brain damage, his family added. 

"You never know something like this is going to happen to a member in your family," cried Makisha McNeil, cousin of Earl McNeil. "We're really taking it hard." 

McNeil's family said he was a San Diego resident who suffered from mental illness. He died in the hospital Monday after being in a vegetative state for days with brain damage, the family said. 

"He had bruising and scrape marks on his face and hands," said Tasha Willamson, a protester representing the group, Building Justice, in San Diego. "He had cuts on his arm like he was restrained with something that was too tight." 

The National City Police Department released a statement saying McNeil called them from outside the police station on May 26. When they came out, he was paranoid and combative.

Police said they found a controlled substance on McNeil and attempted to arrest him. 

Police added they restrained McNeil using a wrap, as they were driving him to the county jail, he stopped breathing. Officers said they called paramedics. 

McNeil was taken to the hospital, then taken off life support days later. 

McNeil's family is calling for video of the incident to be released. 

"I know the officers that detained him had body cameras," said Makisha McNeil. "We want police reports. we want to know what happened to him from the time he entered this police station." 

The National City Police Chief says he has offered to meet with the family. 

Contact Us