San Diego

Protest Group Vows to Keep Fighting for Answers in Earl McNeil's Death

A protest group demanding transparency in the in-custody death investigation of Earl McNeil presented itself at a National City Council meeting once again Tuesday, vowing to continue its appeal for the release of details surrounding McNeil’s death.

The group, Justice for Earl McNeil, has been showing up to city council meetings since McNeil died in May, and has interrupted and forced recess at several.

The group wants the Medical Examiner’s office to release McNeil’s autopsy report, and wants the National City Police Department to identify the officers involved and release body camera footage from the incident.

"If we had not spoken up, if we had not continued for the hundred days like we had, you all would not be here,” family spokesperson Tasha Williamson said during the public comment portion of the meeting. “Earl McNeil would not be anything to anybody. And we are outraged."

Close to 40 others also spoke on the topic.

McNeil, 40, went to the NCPD building looking for help on May 26, according to his family. He ended up in police custody with bruises, comatose and severe brain damage. McNeil's family said he was a San Diego resident who suffered from mental illness. He died in the hospital after being in a vegetative state for days with brain damage.

Police said they found a controlled substance on McNeil and attempted to arrest him, and added they restrained him using a wrap.

In August, National City police turned over the investigation to the San Diego County District Attorney's office.

The family asked the DA’s office to recuse itself from the case because court documents revealed they had used McNeil as a confidential informant in a murder trial. The DA's office has reached out to the state's attorney general to see if it should recuse itself.

Justice for Earl McNeil also held a news conference outside City Council chambers before Tuesday's meeting and rehashed the demands they say they've been fighting for months.

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